The Meal of Faith

Study #9 “The Meal of Faith” Hebrews 11:28
by Bob Burridge ©2021

Hebrews 11:23-29 centers on the life of Moses as an example of sincere faith and what flows from it.

23. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
25. choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.
26. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
27. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
28. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
29. By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned.

This 9th study through Hebrews 11 looks at how Moses was used in preparing to free Israel from Egyptian captivity. Now we take a closer look at verse 28.

Though Moses was raised in the luxuries of the royal palace of Egypt, he turned down all the temporary outward pleasures of this world. He knew that in the long run they weren’t worth it. He chose instead to stand with the people of God and to enjoy the deeper pleasures that satisfy the heart.

He knew that by living by God’s standards for God’s glory he might have fewer of earth’s treasures, but he would find greater satisfaction in whatever God would provide for him. Moses knew, trusted, loved, and obeyed God’s promises.

Here are the relevant verses, Hebrews 11:27-28

27. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.
28. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

The events of the original Passover are among the better known of the Old Testament adventures. God’s people had been held in slavery in Egypt for over 400 years. They suffered beyond what most of us can imagine:
– Cruel taskmasters made their daily work discouraging and painful.
– Their male babies were being taken and killed at birth to control the Jewish population.

How would a nation of slaves, with no army, no weapons, no diplomatic standing, no allies; end their oppression? They knew, trusted, and hoped in the promise of God.

There was that ancient promise revealed right after the fall of Adam in Eden. Satan may have thought he’d won a victory by that first sin that cursed the whole human race. But, though the battle will be long, through out many eras of history, the evil tempter would ultimately be defeated. A child would be born, a Messiah, who would deliver God’s people from sin’s curse. God said these words to Satan in the body of the serpent: Genesis 3:15, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The ancient promise was clarified even more to Abraham as recorded in Genesis 12:2-3, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

These promises were passed on and gave hope to those who sincerely trusted these words of God. Not only would God one day deliver them from Egypt, and restore them as a nation, but he would eventually send a Messiah to ultimately defeat Satan and bring spiritual victory to his people.

Moses followed his Creator’s instructions, and told Pharaoh to set God’s people free. When he refused, God sent great plagues on Egypt. But still Pharaoh refused to let them go.

So God sent his angel of death. He took the life of the first born son of every home not marked with the blood of a sacrificed lamb.

The people of Israel followed God’s detailed instructions. As a result, the angel passed over the homes marked out by that lamb’s blood. Their sons didn’t die. But the first born of both men and cattle in unmarked Egyptian homes died. Then — God changed the heart of Pharaoh, and Israel was set free!

The Passover was carefully designed to depict the coming of God’s Messiah to die in place of his people. He would deliver them from their bondage to sin and from the eternal death their sins deserved.

Just as God put faith in Moses’ heart to keep the Passover, God calls us to come to his table with a humble trust, love, and hope, remembering his promises.

The Passover was the covenant meal
of God’s people of Israel.

The details of the event are recorded in Exodus 12. It wasn’t just a ritual or celebration made up by religious leaders. It was instituted by God himself and made known by divine revelation.

The original Hebrew word for “Passover” is “pe-SAKH” (פֶסַח). It means, “to make an exception” – “to pass over something”. It was a meal that marked out God’s people to be passed over when death came for the first born. It was to remind them that their only hope of deliverance was that God would provide a substitute. The substitute lamb would die in their place. This meal sealed them with God’s promised blessings, if they obeyed in sincere faith.

Today, the Lord’s Supper replaces Passover. It represents Messiah’s completed work. It’s our covenant meal. It sets us apart as members of Christ’s church as the Bible defines it. It symbolizes the broken body and shed blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, who died in our place. It seals God’s promises to all who partake of it in a true sincere faith.

The elements of Passover
clearly show us the work of Christ.

Originally, Passover required the death of a lamb as a sacrifice for sin. It was chosen from their flock and had to be without blemish. It represented the promised Messiah who would be morally perfect.

Israel knew that God’s promises and covenant weren’t based on her own goodness. They were based on God’s mercy and grace alone. Fallen people can only become God’s people if their guilt could be paid for by a sinless representative. All the sacrifices showed that one day their guilt would finally be satisfied in the coming of a Messiah.

The Bible says Jesus was that Lamb of God. John 1:29 tells us that when John the baptist saw Jesus he said
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” 1 Corinthians 5:7 refers to Jesus saying, “… Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” In the Book of the Revelation Jesus is several times called “The Lamb who was slain.” (5:6, 5:12, 13:8). Hebrews 2:17 says that Jesus came, “… to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”

As the Passover lamb was taken from the flock, Jesus was taken from among the flock of God. To represent us he took on human flesh, was born and lived among us.

Of course there was a major difference between him and any other human. Jesus was without sin. He was an unblemished lamb. 1 Peter 1:19 tells us we are ransomed “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” As the only one without sin, he alone could become a holy sacrifice for others.

Exodus 12:46 warned that not a bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken. “It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.”

The breaking of bones is an expression that appears often in the Bible. It signified ultimate defeat at the hands of the enemy. Numbers 24:8 says that God “… shall eat up the nations, his adversaries, and shall break their bones in pieces …” Micah 3:3 warned of God’s justice. It says, they “… break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot …”

When bones are not broken, it represents God’s care and blessing. Psalm 34:20, “He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.”

The Passover Lamb was a symbol of victory over the ultimate defeat of God’s enemies. Therefore, though it was to be slain, its blood drawn out, its body roasted and flesh eaten, its bones were not to be broken!

As the ultimate Passover Lamb, the same is true of Jesus the Messiah. John 19:36, “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.’ ”

When Jesus broke the matzoh at the last supper, he identified himself as the Passover lamb. Just as the lamb’s body was broken in death, its blood spilled, and the flesh consumed, so also Jesus’ body would be broken, and his blood spilled, but he wouldn’t be defeated. Therefore, like the lamb that represented him, his bones were not broken. (see John 19:31-37)

When God sent death to Egypt, God’s people applied the blood of the sacrificed lamb to their door posts. Exodus 12:7, “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.” The homes where the blood was not applied were subjected to God’s judgment, the death of their firstborn.

In the same way the blood of Christ is applied by God’s grace to his people. His blood causes the wrath of God’s judgment to pass by them. Those who sincerely receive Christ are declared innocent because as the Messiah he died in their place.

Those who dare face God without trusting in Christ’s shed blood, will discover for themselves the awful reality of God’s wrath and justice.

In the Old Testament Passover the lamb’s flesh was to be consumed. Exodus 12:8-9, “They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.” By eating the lamb the obedient Israelites identified themselves with its death.

The death of Jesus also must be taken on by his people. We show we are his by identifying with his death in the Lord’s Supper. In John 6:53-54 where Jesus showed himself to be the Bread of Life he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

Certainly this doesn’t mean physically eating his body and drinking his blood. When he instituted this Holy Supper Jesus made it clear that in eating the broken bread in faith we partake of his body, in drinking the wine we partake of his blood.

The church of the middle ages erred. They imagined that this meant the elements were magically transformed into Jesus’ actual flesh and blood.

When we partake of the physical bread and juice in sincere faith, we are partaking spiritually of the body and blood of Jesus.

Moses’ sincere faith was shown
in his keeping the Passover.

When God gave instructions, Moses paid attention! He trusted God’s word, loved what God said, and acted obediently.
That’s the essence of what faith is.

When we approach the Lord’s Table, we must do so sincerely trusting God’s word. If we come to the table in that true faith we see in it the work of Christ’s salvation. By it we’re strengthened spiritually, and are sealed as God’s covenant people.

The Passover was to teach the children,
and remind the adults about God’s deliverance.

Exodus 12:14, “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” Exodus 12:26-27, “And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.”

This is why we explain the Lord’s Supper every time we celebrate it. We’re warned to give the elements only to those who rightly understand the sacrament (1 Corinthians 11:29). This is why the Elders of the church determine who should be admitted to partake of the bread and wine.

Parents should explain the true meaning and serious nature of this supper to their children every time they see it celebrated in the church.

Many serious heresies have distorted this important celebration. We all need to understand what spiritual realities the Bible says these elements signify. There’s only one deliverance from the guilt and bondage of our sin: the now-completed work of God’s Messiah, Jesus, the Lamb sacrificed for his people.

As we come to the Lord’s Table, and as we see it served to the church, it should bring to our minds the promises of God to his covenant people: God provided the sacrifice of Christ to deliver his people and to render them whole before him.

When the elements are taken as God’s provision, and trusted in as emblems and seals of God’s promise, there’s undoubtable hope that we are restored to fellowship with God, and that we should be certain of his blessing in this life and the next.

If we come not confidently celebrating his promised deliverance, not sincerely repentant of our sins, our trust in God’s provision isn’t complete.

We need to put away all doubt and come to Christ believing that what he promised is certain and reliable! The Lord’s Supper should remind us of God’s promises, and it should be a testimony to our children. When we do, just like Moses, God will provide us with assurance and blessing beyond measure!

Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

Hebrews 11 index: “Faith and What Flows From It

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