Have you ever had a coin in your pocket that is really beat up and warn away. In America they were often called bad pennies. Pennies were made of a softer medal due to low value (Penny = 1 cent or $0.01). They would wear down and sometimes become unreadable. We then built an idiomatic phrase to go with it.
“He turned up like a bad penny.” The idea being that you don’t want a bad penny, but they keep ending up in your pocket, desk drawer or coin cup.
Passover has shown up once again in our reading. Today we read about the Jews just returning from exile, Once again they are preparing to celebrate the Passover. Passover may seem like a bad penny that keeps turning up, but is it?
Pop quiz question?
How many times have we read about the Passover celebration so far in our readings this year?
A: Once – Exodus (you saw it when Charlton Heston celebrated it in “The 10 Commandments”)
B: 2 times (Exodus and Deuteronomy)
C: 4 or 5 times (you assume there are more since I am asking).
D: 13 times
Well, we have read about Passover 13 times. The word itself has been read 45 times. Here are the 13 times we have read about Passover so far this year:
Exodus 12: First Passover
Exodus 34: Teaching on how to Observe Passover
Leviticus 23: Rules concerning the Passover
Numbers 9: The Israelites celebrate Passover in the desert.
Numbers 28: Additional teaching on Passover
Numbers 33: A reciting of the history of the exodus from Egypt the day after Passover
Deuteronomy 16: The second reading of the law regarding Passover
Joshua 5: The Israelites celebrate Passover prior to the battle of Jericho.
2 Kings 23 / 2 Chronicles 35: In the eighteenth year of King Josiah, Jerusalem celebrates Passover with the renewal of the covenant.
2 Chronicles 30: King Hezekiah celebrates Passover
Ezekiel 45: The returning Jews are reminded of the Offerings and Holy Days (including Passover)
Ezra 6: The returning Jews celebrate Passover
We still have four more times to read about Passover. We will read about the most important Passover, the one we associate with Easter, in the middle of October.
Why is Passover not like a bad penny?
No one wants a bad penny, they are something worthless and annoying. But Passover is worth a lot to you and I. It was the means by which the Jewish people avoided the 10th plague of death in Egypt and it is how we will avoid the penalty of sin (death). Passover is something that is valuable and worthy of being reminded of. It is not a pad penny, it is more like a priceless coin. You should want to learn about it, cherish it, celebrate it. Passover gives life.
It will come up over 17 times in our reading through the year because it is important to us. It carries a great message for mankind. It reminds us of the sacrifice of one for the many. It tells us about justification, sanctification and forgiveness. It is central to all teachings in Christianity. It keeps coming back, because it was meant to. God planned it that way.