A New Beginning Made Possible By a Sacrifice
" This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year." – Exodus 12:2
The beginning of the 12th chapter of Exodus gives instructions to the Israelites on how to prepare for the Passover while they were enslaved in Egypt. Also, it instructs them that they were to observe this as the beginning of their Jewish calendar. Prior to this, the calendar was marked as starting along with the harvest (September in the Gregorian calendar). This is significant because it gave root to the Eccle-siastical calendar that we use today.
Instructions to the Israelites included when to select the lamb to be sacrificed. It also instructed them to have one lamb per household. Also if there were too few people in a single household, they were to share a lamb with their neighbor. When Jesus died on the cross for the salvation of all mankind, He was one "Lamb" for the entire human race. Here we see each household having one lamb unless they were few in number, then only were they expected to share. Why did God order Moses and Aaron to instruct the Israelites to have one sacrificial lamb per household? Why didn’t He just have Moses sacri-fice one lamb for the entire nation of Israel? If you continue to read on, you will see that the head of the household would have to select a particular lamb, a year old male without defect and take care of it for 4 days. Then it was to be slaughtered according to instructions. This gave a very intimate and per-sonal meaning to the sacrifice that was made. Each household was able to empathize with the pain of the sacrificial lamb. The lamb was only one year old, symbolizing the innocence of youth. It was with-out blemish, symbolizing purity. The families spent four days with the lamb making them able to really see how innocent and pure the animal really was. Then they had to sacrifice it, prepare it and eat it. This gives every household the ability to identify themselves with the lamb.
God gives us the ability every year during The Great Lent Season to identify ourselves with His sacri-fice. That great sacrifice gave us salvation from our sins, and a new beginning. This Lent season, as we approach Passion Week; let us try really hard to spend time with God as individuals and families. Let us connect with God through prayer and devotion and understand his love for us. Let us realize that the salvation that we experience today is only a result of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Dr. Joe M. George, Chicago Mar Thoma Church
Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins and giving us a new beginning. Help us to identify ourselves with Your sacrifice so that we may turn away from the sin that You gave us salvation from. Amen