November 28, 2022
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, This is the statute of the Passover: No foreigner may eat it. But any slave a man has purchased may eat it, after you have circumcised him.”
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“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, This is the statute of the Passover: No foreigner may eat it. But any slave a man has purchased may eat it, after you have circumcised him. A temporary resident or hired hand may not eat the Passover. It is to be eaten in one house. You may not take any of the meat outside the house, and you may not break any of its bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it. If a foreigner resides with you and wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover, every male in his household must be circumcised, and then he may participate; he will become like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person must eat it. The same law will apply to both the native and the foreigner who resides among you.” Exodus 12:43-49
A few years ago, I was invited to lead music at a church. Maybe it was vacation time for that church because they also hired a guest preacher! Before the service, I asked the preacher what his topic/text was (perhaps, I had a special song to set up his message). The preacher was going to cover the Passover. That was good news to me because I have led many believers through the Passover Seder meal and taught how what most Christians call the “Last Supper” was actually the “Last Seder.”
So, you can imagine my shock when the preacher began his message with the statement: “Gentiles are forbidden to celebrate the Passover.” What was this? Where did he get his opinion? He had taken today’s passage out of context. And sadly, he overlooked most of the Messianic imagery in the Passover!
True, today’s passage does begin with the statement: No foreigner may eat it. But then it defines what a “foreigner” is: One who has not been circumcised. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that God commanded the men of Israel to undergo. Literally meaning “cutting around” or “cutting away,” circumcision is a physical testimony that one has cut himself away from the fleshly “World” and distinguished himself as a follower of God. Meant to be an outward expression of an inner condition, it is possible to be outwardly circumcised yet inwardly wicked. Consider these verses:
“Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it because of the evil of your deeds.” Jeremiah 4:4 (emphasis mine)
“No, a person is a Jew inwardly; and circumcision is a matter of the heart, brought about by the Spirit, not by a written law. That person’s praise will come from God, not from people.” Romans 2:29 (emphasis mine)
Ruth, the Gentile Moabitess, professed, “Your people are my people; your God is my God” (Ruth 1:16b) and was included among God’s people. So we also (Jew & Gentile) become the Community of Messiah whenever we profess Jesus as Savior and Lord. Our hearts become “circumcised,” for we are cut away from the World, set apart for God by the “blood of the Lamb.” Messiah Jesus is OUR Passover sacrifice. (1 Corinthians 5:7b) So, if we (Jew & Gentile believers) can’t truly celebrate the Passover, then who can?