Here we are, at the middle of our salvation history screenplay. At this, the Mid-Point, something big has to happen, something that doesn’t change the path of the protagonist (like Plot Points 1 and 2), but something the re-energizes the story and is a catalyst that propels the protagonist into the second half of Act Two.
The Mid-Point in our salvation history is the first Passover.
But, before we examine that, let’s get a quick review…
God has created man and, by refusing to be obedient and sacrifice, man separated himself from God through sin. God’s salvation story must now unfold. He starts planting the seeds, layering themes and symbols, so that we will understand his salvation when it is fulfilled in time.
He uses Noah to save the righteous as he cleanses the world of sin through water, prefiguring the sacrament of baptism.
With Noah the covenant with man grows from between God and a couple (Adam and Eve) to between God and a family (Noah’s).
God gives Abraham and Sarah a miraculous birth and their son Isaac, which prefigures John the Baptist and Jesus’ incarnation.
Abraham’s offer to sacrifice his only son prefigures God’s sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The lamb required for the sacrifice by Abraham is fulfilled by the Lamb of God in Jesus.
God’s covenant now grows from between God and a family (Noah’s) to between God and a clan of families (Abraham’s).
Now, let’s continue as God further prepares us to understand his salvation story.
The First Passover
We find Moses trying to convince the Pharoah to free God’s people, but he continues to refuse. And it is here we reach the middle of the story, the first Passover.
God is going to send the angel of death to kill all of the first-borns in the kingdom. He tells Moses how the Jews can escape the death of their first-born.
- On the 10th day of Nissan, they must select an unblemished lamb.
- They must inspect the lamb for three days.
- On the 14th day of Nissan, at twilight, which was at 3PM, they need to sacrifice the lamb.
- They should then take the blood and apply it to the door posts.
- They had to eat the lamb.
If they did ALL of these things, their first-born was spared.
Why would God give such explicit instructions?
- Why a lamb?
- Why an unblemished lamb?
- Why on the 10th day of the month?
- Why inspected for three days?
- Why is it slaughters at twilight on the 14th day of the month?
- Why do they have to put the blood on the wood?
- Why must they eat the lamb?
Why must they do ALL of these things to avoid death? God could have told them to do anything. Why this?
Because God knows the end of the story.
- He knows that Jesus will be the unblemished sacrifice, the Lamb of God.
- He knows that, during this same Passover that he instituted, Jesus will enter Jerusalem on the 10th day of Nissan.
- He knows Jesus will be inspected by the people for three days.
- He knows Jesus will then be sacrificed on the cross on the 14th day of Nissan at 3PM.
And why must Moses and the people eat the lamb?
Because God knows that he was going to institute the Eucharist as a single, eternal sacrifice which makes him physically present with us at all times.
That’s why Jesus, in the Gospel of John, told the people that they must gnaw on his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life. That his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink.
It is why, at the Last Supper, again, during Passover, he takes the bread and wine used for the Passover meal and makes the new and everlasting covenant. He holds the bread up to his Apostles and tells them “This is my body”and likewise with the wine “This is my blood” and to “do this in memory of me.”
God knew from the beginning that it was only through his own sacrifice that the separation of Adam and Eve could be healed. Only God’s perfection could mend the imperfection caused by sin and allow us to overcome death.
God wants to be with us at all times. He gave us the Holy Spirit and the Church, as well as his flesh and blood in the Eucharist. It is what he always wanted.
And, so Moses and his people do as God commands. They are freed from death and escape into the desert.
And that’s where we continue the second half of Act Two.