The Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and cried out to God for rescue. God called Moses to speak to Pharaoh, but despite demonstrations of God’s power in miracles and plagues, Pharaoh would not let them go. So God chose a night when the angel would pass over Egypt and kill every first born son of man and beast.
The Israelites were only spared if they slaughtered a male lamb or kid without defect and spread the blood on the doorposts and lintel of their houses. When the angel saw the blood of the lamb he would pass over the house without killing the first born son.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. (Exodus 12:1-2)
This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. (Exodus 12:14)
The next day Pharoah let the Israelites go and God led them through the Red Sea to the foot of the mountain, where he made them a nation devoted to God. It was a new beginning, a new life, and they were to remember this every year.
Tuesday of this week was Passover, where Jews all over the world still remember their deliverance and new beginning, thousands of years later.
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. (Matt.26:26-28)
At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted a new covenant, a new beginning for those who followed him.
People today are in slavery to their wants and desires and to their sin. If they cry out to God for rescue, God will save them, but it requires the death of a perfect Lamb. A sacrifice who had no sin of his own, but would shed his blood for the sins of others. Blood which is only effective for those who apply it.
and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Cor.5:15)
Easter is our Passover.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, when Jesus’ life on Earth ended with a cruel execution on a Roman cross. It seemed a Black Friday at the time, but on Easter Sunday all that changed. When Jesus rose from the dead he proved he had conquered sin and death and made a way for anyone who trusted him to be set free.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor.5:20-21)
[adapted from teaching by Michael Thomas]
Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Find out more at www.annmariethomas.me.uk