By Jeff Pulse –
The Old Testament reading for Maundy Thursday, March 29, 2018, is written in the second book of the Torah, Exodus. The text appointed for this special service is Exodus 24:3-11 and is the strange account of Moses and 70 elders (along with Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu—perhaps Joshua) being called up the Mount of Sinai to eat in the presence of God. The language used indicates that this is the full manifestation of God, not simply the pre-incarnated Christ. However, the question is, “How can this be?” Sinful men cannot look upon the face of God and live, and yet here these men are doing just that and not dying. This account is one of the places where God breaks His own rule. We have seen this with Moses as well when God shows him his backside. It is important to remember two things in this regard. First, God is the One who makes the rule. Therefore, He can opt to break it; man does not have that right or luxury. Second, whenever God does break one His rules in the Scriptures, it is always on the side of grace. Therefore, we need not fear that one day God will wake up and destroy us, hate us, or abandon us because He decides to break a rule/promise.
It is interesting to note that this text is chosen for Maundy Thursday and involves eating and drinking with God—in His presence, real presence. This is only possible with the shedding of blood. We see this in the Passover as the blood of the lamb averts the wrath of God and the Angel of Death passes over those houses. In this text, the blood of the sacrifice (vs. 6-8) averts the wrath of God, and He allows the eating and drinking in His presence. In the Lord’s Supper, it is the blood of the Lamb of God that takes away our sin—death passes over us, and God is no longer wrathful toward us. Indeed, all His wrath has been absorbed by His Son. There is some beautiful imagery in this text as well as a strong message of “real presence” in the eating and drinking.
24:3 wayesaper—root: sapar—piel “to speak; recount”
naaseh—root: asah “to do; carry out; follow”
24:4 wayiktov—root: catab—piel “to write; write down; record”
matsevah “memorial stone; pillar; sacred stone”
24:5 wayishlach—root: shalach “to send; to send out”
shelamiym “peace offering; salvation offering”
24:6 wayiqach—root: laqach “to take”
baaganoth “large bowl; basin (deep)”
zaraq “to sprinkle; throw” Frequently used in a sacrificial context.
24:7 naaseh wenishma “we will do and we will keep”
24:8 Note the reminder and connection with the covenant in respect to the use of blood.
24:9 -10 livnath “pavement; tile”
latohar “clearness; purity”
24:11 atsiyley “noble; chief”
wayechezu—root: chazah “to see; behold”
wayoklu wayishtu “and they ate and drank”