The Rich Biblical History of the Sacraments

The Tradition of Passover

When Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, it was instituted at a Passover feast. It was an event that looked back to what God had done in Egypt to the deliverance that he had brought his people. But the Passover was always an event that looked forward, too—to the greater deliverance that God would bring about for his people, Israel.

In instituting the Lord’s Supper at this event, Christ was playing with the existing themes of exodus and developing those further. When we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we look back to that last supper, and we look back beyond that last supper to the Passover, and all that it looked forward to. And then, we look forward to a greater deliverance to come.

We’re to be a people that are formed by this story, that find their place within this story, that find their identity within this story.

It’s an anticipation of the great wedding feast of the Lamb. This event holds us within time, just like the Passover feast did for Israel, looking back and looking forward, remembering and anticipating. We’re to be a people that are formed by this story, that find their place within this story, that find their identity within this story.

Baptism’s Long History

We see the same thing with baptism. Baptism places our bodies—takes us by the roots in our bodies—and declares us to be between these events of death and resurrection, to be the people who are defined by Christ’s death—his exodus—as well as by his resurrection, his entrance into the promised land.

Echoes of Exodus

Alastair J. Roberts, Andrew Wilson

Exploring the theme of exodus throughout both the Old and New Testaments, this book sheds light on Scripture’s unified message of redemption from slavery to sin through Jesus Christ.

We see this more generally with Paul when he speaks about these things in the book of Romans. He describes it as if it’s this passing through water, this meeting with the law, and then this entrance into the promised land as we are led by the Spirit into that new age to come.

These events of exodus are recalled and made part of our lives through baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and these other celebrations that place us within their pattern, their music, so that their music is not just a music outside of us, but something that makes our bodies move.

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