Study Guide: The New Passover

Sunday July 28, 2019 | Greg Boyd

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

The New Covenant, which was inaugurated by Jesus and we celebrate with the sign of the communion meal, is a reframing of the Passover Meal from Exodus. In that Old Testament story we see how God defeated evil by allowing evil to act upon itself. In the same way, the cross brings victory over sin and defeats Satan through the hidden wisdom of love.

Extended Summary:

The sign of the New Covenant is communion. This is an action the church enters in order to remember the work of the cross. It also is the way that we renew our covenant vows before God. One thing that is often overlooked is the fact that communion is a form of the Jewish Passover Meal, which celebrated the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. With the communion meal Jesus essentially inaugurating a new and deeper meaning of Passover.

In addition, he is presenting himself as the sacrificed lamb that will protect people from the destroyer and free people from bondage. All of this is rooted in divine judgment, but not the kind that has been typically promoted. Instead of God’s judgment being rooted in coercive action taken by God, it actually is God using evil to vanquish evil. In other words, God allows one from of evil to act upon another expression of evil as consequences of evil are a part of evil itself. Greg surveys how this is the case in various Old Testament passages in addition to the Passover account. He specifically addresses the crossing of the Red Sea.

In these passages, we see that God judges evil and sin not through coercion or engaging in violence against evil. One only needs coercive power and violence to fight evil when you aren’t smart enough to figure out how to use evil to defeat evil.

Now with the new covenant, God is delivering his people by wisely turning evil against evil in the ministry of Jesus. There are four specific elements that support this conclusion.

First, in Christ, and specifically on the cross, God works through hidden wisdom that cannot be seen by the earthy powers. See 1 Cor 2:7-8. Second, the demons recognize Jesus for who he is but they are puzzled by him. The degree to which beings are defined by evil is the degree to which they cannot understand the wisdom of love. Because the cross is the ultimate expression of love, Satan and his kingdom are unable to comprehend the work of God on the cross. Furthermore, Satan orchestrated the crucifixion. Because he could not understand the wisdom of love, that which the kingdom of darkness meant for evil actually becomes the ultimate act of victory. Finally, the cross causes the kingdom of darkness to implode. We see this expressly articulated by Paul in Colossians 2:13-15. As was true of the first Passover and exodus, God causes evil to turn on evil and thus God delivers his people.

By agreeing to Father’s plan to defeat evil and deliver people from it by offering up his own life, Jesus reveals the perfect, servant, self-sacrificial love of God. The LOVE that God is and that was expressed on the cross was like an atomic bomb in the kingdom of darkness.

This is how the death of Jesus sets us free. When we celebrate communion, we are remembering this victory over sin and death brought about by God’s wisdom and love. We remember the love of God that led him to go to such an extreme to save us and we respond by pledging to live in that same love.

Reflection Questions: