December 18, 2023
Picture: Passover Lamb
Exodus 12:3-13; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
The tension between Pharoah and the enslaved people of Israel had reached a fever pitch. Between requests from Moses to Pharoah to free the Israelites, Egypt had been pounded with plagues so astounding that every Egyptian was suffering in their wake. Yet Pharoah insisted on resisting God’s wishes. There was one action left to take. God would send an angel to take the life of the first-born male of every house that didn’t take a strangely specific action. Just before the frightful night took place, Moses gathered Israel together and gave these instructions.
Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Exodus: 12:3-13 (NKJV)
That night, thousands of Egyptian families woke to the horrific results of resisting the God of the Universe. They were so overcome with grief and terrified, that Israel was gifted food and resources and forced out. The actions that Israelites took that night would be rehearsed for generations to come. Without even knowing it, the peculiar liturgy was pointing to a lamb they would not even recognize. Jesus would become our Passover lamb.
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (NKJV)
When we apply the blood of Christ’s sacrifice to our lives, death and hell pass over us, giving us escape from slavery to sin and access to a life of promise. Paul uses this concept to confront believers who are tolerating sin in their midst and in their lives. In this way, the sacrifice of Jesus becomes a daily reminder to rid ourselves of sin and to approach our walk with Christ with sincerity.