2 Kings 23:21-23; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26
We have come to the fourth stage of King Josiah’s reform this week, which we read about in 2 Kings 23:21-23. It’s a few short verses but some of the most powerful in the story. In this stage, Josiah re-institutes the Passover festival as an ongoing practice for the whole nation of Israel.
It’s an important step, especially given how Josiah’s reform had unfolded to this point.
Remember that we began by saying that reform usually launches when someone is encountered by God and begins to see that something is wrong with the world around them and that something is wrong with themselves. Josiah’s reform began when he encountered the Word of God written in an old dusty scroll discovered in the temple. That set him on a road to personal transformation which, in turn, would lead to reform for the whole nation.
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Text: Exodus 12:1-13; 13:1-8
Several years ago, when I was serving another church, I became friends with the local Rabbi and we thought it would be great idea to do a joint study with our congregations during the season of Lent and Passover. It was a fun and fascinating experience as we had a chance to compare and contrast our two historic and biblical faiths.
One of the questions we were asked by a member of one of our congregations was a simple one: “How would you sum up the message of your faith in one sentence?” Josh went first saying, “That’s an easy answer for Jews: they tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat!” I loved the simplicity of that and it reminded me that the whole identity of the Jewish people is found in the story of slavery, redemption, and celebration.
We see all of that in this week’s passage from Exodus, the story of the Passover, but to get there we need to catch up in the story. Last week we ended the book of Genesis with the story of Joseph, a righteous Hebrew who became a high official in Egypt after he was sold into slavery there by his brothers. A great famine hit the region, and Joseph’s brothers came down to Egypt to buy grain. There Joseph revealed himself to his brothers and forgave them. The whole family then moved to Egypt and there they began to fulfill the promise God had given to Abraham and the mission God had given them at the beginning of creation: they “were fruitful and multiplied” and the whole land of Egypt was filled with the family Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
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