Remember To Remember
Passage: Exodus 12:43–13:16
Community Group Questions: Exodus 12:43-13:16 "Remember to Remember"
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- To be human is to forget! As you think about your life, what habits, routines, and institutions help you to remember things, both trivial and important? In a general sense, what habits, routines, and institutions has God instructed us to engage in as Christians, in order to help us remember the most important spiritual things?
The Passover meal was instituted by God to help his people remember the great salvation that he accomplished for them in the Exodus. Read the following passages, and then work through the next few of questions about this ceremony: Exodus 12:1-13, 21-28, 43-51.
- The passages above not only describe the first Passover night, but they also give instruction about how this meal was to be shared every year by the people of God. What elements of the feast do you find most interesting, and why? Have you ever participated in a modern Seder dinner? If so, what was the experience like for you?
- On the night when Jesus inaugurated the Lord’s Supper, he was celebrating the Passover meal with his disciples (see Luke 22:7-8). He gave new meaning to the bread and wine, saying that they now represented his body and blood, given as a sacrifice for his people to establish a new covenant with them (see Luke 22:19-20). In light of this connection, Christians now apply the Passover regulations to their lives by keeping the Lord’s Supper. Through the years, in your Christian life, have you regularly participated in the Lord’s Supper? If so, how has this meal encouraged your faith over time? Do you think the Lord’s Supper is essential for Christians? Why or why not?
- Exodus 12:43-49 stipulates that only people who were willing to fully associate with the Israelites through the sign of circumcision were allowed to eat the Passover with them. Strangers, temporary workers, and uncircumcised visitors were prohibited. How would you apply this principle to the Lord’s Supper? Why is it so important for a church to explain who should and should not participate?
- The Passover meal symbolized the unity of God’s people in their salvation: one lamb was to be consumed by one family under one roof, and the lamb’s bones were not to be broken (see Ex. 12:46). Likewise, Jesus’ bones remained unbroken on the cross (see John 19:31-36). In light of this, how does the Lord’s Supper symbolize our unity in the body of Christ as we partake of it? Paul tells Christians that we must “examine ourselves” before partaking, to see if we have any ruptured relationships with other believers that we must mend before we partake (see 1 Cor. 11:28). Why is this practice of examination so important, and what would it look like for us to obey this principle in practical terms, each time we take the Lord’s Supper?
The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted by God to help his people remember that the Exodus had made them a holy people now, sanctified unto God. Read the following passages, and then work through the next few of questions about this ceremony: Exodus 12:14-20, 13:3-10.
- The Feast of Unleavened bread was a seven-day feast, beginning with the Passover meal, in which the people were to eat only unleavened bread. One reason for this practice was to reenact history: on the night of the Exodus, the people had to leave so quickly that they had no time to add leaven to their bread and let it rise! (see Ex. 12:33-34, 39) In other words, the Feast of Unleavened bread was to remind the people that the Exodus really happened in history, as they enacted it in the feast. Why is historical grounding so important for the Christian faith? Why would our faith fall apart if the Exodus were just a made-up story, or if the resurrection of Christ were just a myth? (see 1 Cor. 15:12-14)
- The Feast of Unleavened bread had spiritual significance at well. Yeast (leaven) symbolized the corrupting influence of sin. The people of Israel were to leave the “yeast” of Egypt’s false gods behind. Unleavened bread represented the holiness of God’s newly redeemed people. In the same way, as Christians who have been redeemed by Christ, we must cleanse out the leaven of sin and live holy lives unto God. Read 1 Corinthians 5:6-8. What habits, disciplines, and rituals should we regularly engage in as Christians in order to confess our sin to the Lord and renew our commitment to holiness?
The consecration of the firstborn ceremony was instituted by God to help his people remember that in the Exodus they had been redeemed (“purchased”) by God, and now everything they owned belonged to God, even their children. Read the following passages, and then work through the questions below: Exodus 13:1-2, 11-16.
- Israel was to dedicate all their firstborn sons to the Lord as a sacrifice. Ritually unclean animals, like a donkey, could be “redeemed” (that is, bought back with a price) by offering a lamb instead. Firstborn baby boys, likewise, were to be redeemed by offering God a lamb, or 5 shekels of silver (see Numb. 18:15-16). What lessons would this ceremony communicate to the Israelite parents who engaged in it? As Christian parents, how do we move from an “ownership” mentality to a “stewardship” mentality with our kids, recognizing that their lives and futures belong entirely to God?
- Most importantly, the redemption of the firstborn ceremony pointed to the fact that God redeemed his people in the Exodus, and one day he would redeem his people through Christ. As Christians, we know that God has purchased us at the precious price of his Son, and therefore he owns our lives completely (see 1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 Cor. 6:19-20). How should these realities change our daily perspective and our daily actions? What habits and rituals do you engage in regularly as a Christian to remind you that you’ve been redeemed?
Prayer suggestion: Thank God for the rituals, habits, and routines that he has given to us to help us remember the most important spiritual things. Repent of all the ways we’ve neglected to participate faithfully in weekly corporate worship and daily spiritual disciplines, and pray for strength to persevere in practicing these things.