Part 3: Watch Night

Watch Night - Easter Series Part 3 On Ex 12:42
“God kept watch all night, watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt. Because God kept watch, all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night—a watchnight.”Exodus 12:32

Passover held many messianic expectations. For centuries, people had observed and participated in this feast, remembering what had happened in days of old and the promise that was to come in days not yet known.

The Exodus is considered one of the most important stories of Jewish history and is referenced in most books of the Old Testament. It’s the birthplace of Passover. As the spirit of God hovered over Egypt, every family that did not have the blood of a sacrificial lamb on their door-posts lost their first born son. Those whose doors and mantles were covered in this blood, were passed over. It was the final straw in Pharaohs resolve to maintain the Israelites as slaves. And consequently, after the death of his own son, He told Moses to leave Egypt with of all Israel with him. And thus begun the exodus from slavery, from the old ways to a new land and home.

Redemption, by blood.

There was a saying throughout the generations when speaking of the Passover,

“In that night they were redeemed, and in that night they will be redeemed.”

For the ancient Jews, the Passover feast was not just a way of remembering what God had done for their ancestors back in Egypt. In a mysterious and beautiful way, it was a time for them to participate in the Exodus, sharing in the original act of redemption. In each home, the father presiding over the Passover feast would not just speak of it in past-tense, but as if they were participating in the Exodus themselves. Not just a memory, but rather a living story that involved them and the future generations. The salvation experienced in Egypt by the Israelites was not just for back then but was for ‘now’ too. The Passover feast was a living legacy and hope.

The night of Passover was often referred to as the ‘Night of Watching’. Just as they ‘kept watch’ in Egypt knowing that the spirit of God was passing over and through them, there was an expectancy that God would do something on this night throughout each generation. But rather than visiting with death, the expectation was that he would bring redemption.

Just days after he had entered Jerusalem with the crowds declaring his Kingship, ridding the Temple of the money lenders, and delivering his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gathered with his disciples to share in this night loaded with possibility. The night of watching, the night of expected redemption. Once again, Israel (and all the world) needed rescuing. They were enslaved by sin and unbelief, they were disconnected from the divine.

Jesus intended on leading them to a new kind of Exodus.

And as the disciples were watching, holding vigil, Jesus broke the unleavened bread declaring it was his body, and drank of the wine saying it was his blood poured out. Eucharist, the ‘Good Gift.

I wonder what they saw.

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