“Therefore, let no one judge you because of what you eat or drink or about the observance of annual holy days, New Moon Festivals, or weekly worship days. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the body that casts the shadow belongs to Christ.” – Colossians 2:16-17
Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be one of those two disciples who met the risen Lord on the way to Emmaus? (Luke 24:13-35) To have everything they had learned growing up in the Jewish tradition finally made remarkably clear. To suddenly understand that all those traditions and festivals and holy observances – all the sacrifices and offerings – were simply guide points marking the way to Christ. Imagine how much more poignant their memories of those events throughout their lives must have become.
And if they were paying attention (of course they were paying attention), I would venture to guess that the one “holiday” for which all of that would not have been more true was Passover. Immediately they would have realized that all those perfect lambs and goats they had roasted with their families over the years were merely stand-ins for the final Passover lamb whose sacrifice they had just witnessed. And I’m sure I cannot do justice to how profound that must have been.
I wonder if they thought back to the sprinkling of the blood on their families’ doorposts. And they recalled learning how that marked them to be passed over for destruction. Then they may have asked, “Now how do I mark myself with the blood of this perfect Savior?” And eventually, after rejoining the twelve, they would have come to understand that Jesus gave us the Lord’s Supper to do just that very thing. When we are marked with the blood of Christ through our participation at His table, we are passed over by death just as the Israelites on the night of their deliverance from Egypt.
I’m guessing this is nothing new to anybody who may be reading this (Is anybody reading this?). But I have to admit, until recently I had one important detail a little sideways. You see for some reason I had it in my head that the blood on the doorposts was a sign to God, so He could pass along to “the destroyer” (Exodus 12:23) which houses to skip. As if our omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator needed some kind of celestial spreadsheet to keep track of who was His. I suppose I had a mental image of him with his heavenly headset, radioing down to the Angel of Death something to the effect of: “I’m not 100% sure which of those folks down there are the Israelites, but just look for the blood on the doorposts”. I know, a little ridiculous when you think of it that way.
Because this is what I missed: the blood on the doorposts was not for God, but for them. They were marking themselves as one of His, in need of deliverance. And God says it directly to Moses, right there in Exodus 12:13: “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you” (NKJV, emphasis added) Yes, God needed to see it, but not so He would know for sure, but so they would know for sure. It was their public declaration that they were His.
And that’s what we do when drink his blood at communions. We mark ourselves as belonging to Christ, in need of his deliverance and forgiveness – certain we will be passed over for death and have life eternal with Him.
And I’m glad I’m not sideways on that anymore.