It is the night of the Passover. Moses has made it clear to every family that tonight the final plague is to fall on Egypt. And in order to protect themselves from the Angel of Death who will soon sweep across the country they must kill a lamb, and place its blood on the doorposts of their homes. Also, they must eat a special meal of unleavened bread, bitter herbs and lamb, then make sure they are safe in their homes before sunset.
In the morning Egypt was a different country, in the night the firstborn son of every family in the nation lay dead. However, not a child died in the home of anyone who was covered by the blood. Now this started me thinking. There must have been slaves who didn’t pay attention to what Moses had told them.
They probably thought what Moses was saying was stupid and ridiculous. They were slaves under the domination of the greatest military might in the world, how would a little blood on the doorframe of their house free them from this power? Others might have thought of the cost of killing a sheep for no other reason than to sprinkle blood on the house and eat a quick meal.
I am sure there were people who compared the risk and cost of obeying against the words of Moses and as a result took their chances by doing nothing. The result, in the morning while the children of Israel began their walk to freedom, they were left burying their first born sons. And after they buried their children they would continue grinding out their miserable lives as slaves, making bricks for a slave master, in a foreign country ruled by foreign gods.
If we jump ahead to the first century A.D. God once again offers Israel an Exodus, but this time it is the final one. It is the fulfillment of all the Exodus hopes and promises. This Exodus is not led by a new Moses but is fulfilled by God Himself. The call to the children of Israel is the same as in the days of slavery in Egypt. But instead of placing the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, the blood splatters a cross at Calvary. And instead of a lamb being sacrificed the true Lamb of God, Jesus, dies that they may be free from slavery to sin, death and the power of Satan.
And once again there were people who weigh the cost of following Jesus and turn their backs on Him. The cost in prestige, intellectual pride, fear of family repercussions or loss of status were too large of hurtles to overcome. But, there were deeper reasons, yet, for rejecting Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Their expectations of what the Messiah would do and be like didn’t fit with the person and message of Jesus.
When the people thought back to Moses they envisioned a warrior-priest who led his people to victory against all nations and all odds. He was the one who held his hands up to God and Israel’s enemies went down to defeat. Jesus, the man of sorrows, preaching love and a spiritual renewal just didn’t fit their picture of a great Exodus leader.
Furthermore, Moses had boldly challenged the Egyptian authorities and reigned down plagues upon the oppressors. He had triumphed against the might of the greatest military nation of its day, while the greatest military of their day, Rome, hung Jesus on a cross like a common criminal. How was that going to bring about their freedom from Roman bondage?
In response to these fears, accusations and misunderstandings surrounding Jesus and His ministry, the early church produced a series of writings that now form our Bible. Through the Gospels, Paul’s writings and a few others, the meaning and purpose of Jesus’ ministry is unraveled and I believe made clear. Now here is an interesting aspect to the Gospels; they explain the first Exodus in light of a second Exodus, and that second Exodus is implemented and at the same time fulfilled in Jesus.
Just as Moses led his people out of slavery and took them to the Promised Land, Jesus is leading His people out of spiritual slavery and leading us home to the Kingdom of God. Just as the blood of a lamb had to be appropriated onto the doorframes of the homes for the Angel of Death to pass over the home, so the blood of the true Lamb of God has to be appropriated into our lives that death passes over us.
For Matthew, Jesus is a royal figure but also a persecuted figure just as Moses was, but with a significant twist—He is greater than Moses because He is God incarnate. In Mark Jesus is the confrontational Moses taking on the powers of the ruling spiritual leaders in Jerusalem. In John Jesus gives signs and wonders to convey His message of salvation. Moses’ signs led the Egyptians to allow the slaves to go free physically; Jesus’ signs lead anyone who desires it into spiritual freedom. Luke presents Jesus as the inaugurator of the new Passover.
When you take your car in for repairs you better hope the mechanic has read the manual on how to repair it. Likewise, we need to read God’s manual for us—the Bible. God is leading us on a new Exodus out of the bondage to sin and death and it is through the pages of the Gospels that we come to understand the nature and meaning of this Exodus. Listen, no matter how loud we proclaim that we are Christians, if we are not studying and reading God’s word we are missing out on knowing Him in a deeper and more fulfilling way.
Open up the Bible and read a little every day. Take ten or twelve verses and spend your time contemplating them. I guarantee if you spend fifteen minutes thinking about these few verses there will be amazing insights into the love of God that will jump out at you. Don’t try to read whole sections of the Bible at one sitting because you will just skim over them instead let your heart be filled by giving quality time to a few verses each day. If you do, you’re on the road to a new Exodus.
* Folks, the persecution of Christians has not stopped. If anything it’s increased. The main stream media doesn’t talk about it much anymore but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. Pray and stay informed and inform others. Please take the time to read some of their stories at http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…