Daily Update #243

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.

Exodus 12:1-14

Slaughtering lambs, daubing blood on the doorframes, roasting and eating the lambs, the Lord striking down the firstborn of all the Egyptians….!  This is certainly one of those Old Testament passages which needs a bit of explaining to children and grandchildren today, with all our sensitivities over animal welfare, etc.  Yet the Passover is arguably the most important celebration of the people of Israel as they move out from the slavery of Egypt to the freedom and all the good things which await them in the promised land.  

As often happens in the Old Testament, this event is a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate plan for his people.  

The situation in Egypt is that God’s people are enslaved, oppressed and they have cried out to God for deliverance.  God has a plan to free them so that they can leave Egypt and become a free people.  Their destiny is to reside in the land of Canaan, which the Lord promised to Abraham and his descendants.  

This plan involves the death of an animal (instead of the firstborn of the Israelites) and the marking of the doorframes with blood so that the firstborn of the Israelites can be passed over.  The lamb dies, instead of the death of God’s people.  The result of this plague on the firstborn of Egypt is that God’s people are released by Pharaoh and given their freedom to leave.  

All of this foreshadows a bigger problem which is affecting all of God’s people.  Our situation was that all of us were enslaved by sin, unable to help ourselves and destined to die as the just penalty for rebelling against God.  In response to our cries for deliverance, God put into action his plan to deliver us from our sins and from death.  

This plan involves the death of his son, the Lord Jesus Christ, on the cross.  He dies instead of each one of us.  He takes upon himself the penalty for our sin, and gives us his righteousness so that we can be reconciled to God.  God looks at each one of us and sees the righteousness of Jesus, he declares us righteous in his sight.  

The foreshadowing was a sign and involved an unblemished lamb dying in place of God’s people.  The reality is that God’s perfect Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died in our place, in order that we might be reconciled to God, be forgiven and live forever!

Can you see how the foreshadowing helps us to see the impact and meaning of the reality?  I am an eldest son and I sometimes think about what it would have been like to be an Israelite at the time of the first Passover, particularly for the firstborn.  I think I would have been checking that doorpost very carefully.  “Dad – I think you missed a bit over here, pass me the hyssop…”  While I would have been a bit sad about the lamb, I would have been amazingly grateful that it died in my place.  

If we scroll forward to the reality, I’m struck by so many things.  The seriousness of our predicament, mired in sin and destined for death, judgement and condemnation.  The glorious solution which God himself provides through the amazing sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.  The willingness of the Lord Jesus to go to this horrific death, this estrangement from God as he bears the sins of the whole world in his body on the cross.  The amazing debt we owe him, and the huge gratitude we should all feel towards him as we benefit from his death through the perfect freedom and eternal life which faith in Jesus bring.  He truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, praise God!   

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

John 1:29-31

Daily Update will be taking a break over Easter, back on Monday, 5th April when the passages will be: 
Acts 2:14,22-32    Psalm 16:1-2, 6-end    Matthew 28:8-15