The Blood Can’t be Drained Away, but It Can Be Applied (Exodus 12:1–28)

The Passover is a sacrifice-feast. No one would contend that it’s not a feast. Besides the eating, it’s explicitly called a feast twice in Exodus 12:14. Thus, no one contends that the Passover isn’t a feast, but some do want to say that it’s not a sacrifice. While no one could argue that Passover isn’t a feast, no one should argue that it’s not a sacrifice. The feast looses it’s significance if it isn’t a sacrifice-feast. Blood isn’t just drained so as to prepare a meal to eat. It is smeared and applied. The blood is a sign. Further, the Passover is explicitly called a feast in Exodus 12:27.

You can be certain that those who toy with the shadow do so because they hate the One who casts it. Academics and theologians revise the historical Passover because they hate the Passover Lamb who fulfilled it. They might say they like Jesus, but they’ve revised Him too. Why do they exert such mental muscle to cook up a Passover that’s nothing more than a commemorative meal celebrating deliverance? Not because they hate the idea of Passover as sacrifice, but because they hate the idea of the cross as sacrifice.

In 1993 at a “Protestant” conference one speaker said, “I don’t think we need a theology of atonement at all; I don’t think we need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff.” Others say penal substitutionary atonement is “a form of cosmic child abuse.” Drain the blood, on the with the feast.

R.C. Sproul was once invited by a Quaker community to lecture on the relation of the Old and New Covenants. As he was unfolding the curse motif of the Scriptures and spoke of how Christ, as a substitutionary sacrifice bore the curse, someone in the back of the room yelled, “That’s primitive and obscene.” Stunned he asked, “What did you say?” With great hostility he repeated, “That’s primitive and obscene.” Sproul recollects, “At that point, I had recovered from my surprise, and I told the man I actually liked his choice of adjectives. It is primitive for a blood sacrifice to be made to satisfy the justice of a transcendent and holy God, but sin is a primitive thing that is basic to our human existence, so God chose to communicate His love, mercy, and redemption to us through this primitive work. And the cross is an obscenity, because all of the corporate sin of God’s people was laid on Christ. The cross was the ugliest, most obscene thing in the history of the world. So I thanked the man for his observation. But my point is that the man was extremely hostile to the whole idea of the atonement.”

Why do men hate it so? It isn’t because of refined and enlightened tastes. This isn’t like those who lash out against blood and gore in film and video games. The same chap who loves those games can hate the idea of the cross as sacrifice. Why do they hate it so? Because the Passover as sacrifice, pointing to the cross, undermines all human pride and gives all glory to Christ.

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