Preface to the readings from Exodus:

Remembering the Passover and Exodus

by Steve Clark

The Exodus was the greatest of God's acts of deliverance in the Old Testament. It was the series of events in which God freed his people from bondage, established a relationship with them, and gave them a land and a life as a people. The Exodus was the great example of God's salvation, God's victory, God's redemption. The Exodus, therefore, was a type of God's work of redemption and a type of Jesus' death and resurection. By understanding the Exodus, we can understand better what God did in Christ's death and resurrection, and so understand better the celebration of the Christian passover (Easter).

The Exodus as a type

From the earliest times, Christians have understood the different elements of the Exodus as types of Christian realities. Most of these interpretations can be found in the New Testament. Others can be found in the earliest Christian writings after the New Testament.

The word exodus is a form of the Greek word for going out, or departure. Strictly, it refers to the actual departure from Egypt, the leaving of the land and the crossing of the Red Sea, but more broadly it is used to refer to the whole process of God delivering his people from Egypt and bringing them to the promised land.

The word Easter is the English word for the celebration that in Greek is called The Passover. In Greek and in many other languages, the word for Easter is the same as the word for passover (in Greek: pascha, the word we get paschal from). There is a Jewish passover celebration and a Christian passover celebration. In the early church they were probably one celebration. The Jewish Christians celebrated Easter by celebrating the Jewish passover, but they celebrated it in a different way. The celebrated the Exodus from Egypt, just like the other Jews, but they celebrated it as fulfilled by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus' death and resurrection was the true passover, the true deliverance from bondage. The Exodus was a type that was fulfilled in Christ.

When we remember or commemorate Jesus' death and resurrection, we do more than just let a recollection pass through our minds. We first of all hold a celebration in honor of what God did in Jesus; we proclaim what he did in Jesus and praise him for it. Finally during that time we make the events a subject of our meditation, not just to fix it in our minds but increasingly to live our lives in the light of it.

Excerpted from: The Psalms: The Christian Prayer Book, A Course Workbook by Stephen B. Clark, © 1989, published by Servant Publications, Ann Arbor, MI. U.S.A.
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