Article The New Exodus and New Passover

Lori Jane

Bible Challenge
Sep 18, 2020
Central Florida USA
Source: Focus on the Kingdom, November, 2022
by Carlos Xavier, Georgia

The New Exodus and New Passover

The Gospel writers present Jesus as the new Moses, who leads a new people of God (i.e., Jews and Gentiles) in a new Exodus. So throughout the Gospels we see a contrast between the new covenant ministry of Jesus with that of the old covenant ministry of Moses.

“For the Law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus the Messiah” (John 1:17).

In Luke’s record of the Transfiguration, Jesus is overheard talking with Moses and Elijah about his upcoming “departure [Greek exodos] which he was about to accomplish [bring to fulfilment] at Jerusalem" (Luke 9:31).

So just as Moses led the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt, now Jesus, the new Moses, will lead a new people towards a new exodus, out of the slavery of sin and death.

Also note how Jesus chose to have his last Passover meal to mark the start of the new covenant Communion service by declaring in Luke 22:20: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

The Apostles must have been reminded of the words of Moses in Exodus 24:8, at the ratification of the Old Covenant: “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you.”

In contrast Jesus now says to his 12 Jewish Apostles, now including us Gentiles, in Luke 22:19: “Do this in remembrance of me.”

Again, Jesus contrasts what Moses had previously said to Israel when they observed their first Passover back in Exodus 12:14: “This is a day you are to remember.”

So in his last Passover meal Jesus has replaced the old Jewish “remembrance” of the exodus from Egypt with himself, that is his Gospel-teaching ministry and sacrifice for the world.

Paul reminds the early church of what Jesus had said, and rightly adds the words “as often as you drink it” in 1 Corinthians 11:25: “Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

“The verb is in the present imperative. Its connotation is ‘keep on doing this in memory of me.’”1

The New International Commentary on the New Testament agrees: “This addition in particular implies a frequently repeated action, suggesting that from the beginning the Last Supper was for Christians not an annual Christian Passover, but a regularly repeated meal in ‘honor of the Lord,’ hence the Lord’s Supper.” This further tells us that Jesus had established a new institution for a new system, as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah: “Indeed a time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt” (Jer. 31:31-32).

This “represents and serves to reaffirm the new covenant established by Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for us. The cup was often used figuratively ‘of undergoing a violent death’ (BDAG). Jesus’ statement that the cup ‘is the new covenant in my blood’ fuses together the language of Jeremiah 31:31 (‘a new covenant’) and Exodus 24:8 (‘This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you’). The latter text refers to the establishment of the covenant at Sinai, while the former consists of God’s promise to establish a new covenant in the time of postexilic restoration. By fusing the two texts together Jesus interprets his impending death as the sacrifice that establishes the new covenant associated with the
second exodus.”2

1 Collins, First Corinthians, Sacra Pagina 7, 1999, p.
2 Ciampa, Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians, 2010, p 552.