Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. 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.
‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat—that only may be prepared by you.
So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped. Then the children of Israel went away and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. (Exodus 12:1-28, NKJV)
A few thousand years ago, God called His chosen people out of Egypt - but not before He had brought a series of judgements upon the land where they lived. Most people think that these judgements were only against Egypt, but here you see that the Jews who did not listen to and obey God's command would also suffer the consequences of the wrath of God.
The blood on the doorposts pointed to the sacrifice required to pay for the consequences of sin "for without shedding of blood, there is no remission" of sin. (Hebrews 9:22) Someone, something, must be given up to placate the wrath of the Holy and Perfect God against the sins of man.
This past Sunday, Christians celebrated Palm Sunday commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
God presented His perfect, unblemished Lamb - His only begotten Son - to His chosen people. At the exact right time, in precisely the right manner, Israel's rightful Lord and King entered Jerusalem to the shouts of praise from thousands of people:
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.”
All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying:
“ Tell the daughter of Zion,
‘ Behold, your King is coming to you,
Lowly, and sitting on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying:
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’
Hosanna in the highest!”
And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, “Who is this?” So the multitudes said, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)
God had returned to Jerusalem!
But only a few days later was Passover, the reminder of God's mercy in sparing the firstborn of Israel - and this time, God had provided His own Lamb, His judgement fell on that Lamb, and the Wrath of God wase poured out upon His Son who had offered Himself up as a propitiation for us all.
I would ask my brothers and sisters in Christ to keep His willing, loving sacrifice before us each and every day of our lives. Because Jesus suffered the full wrath of His Father in our place, we now walk in joyful freedom and loving obedience - or, we SHOULD. Let us fix our eyes upon Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our salvation, and run with perseverance the race He has set before us - looking only unto Him who loved us and gave Himself for us.
And I would ask - humbly, with earnest love - that my Jewish friends would turn their eyes upon Jesus and see that their long-awaited Messiah has come! He awaits them with open arms, longing to circumcise their hearts as they have circumcised their flesh. Just as God provided Abraham with the ram, so He has provided His own Lamb for the sins of His people so that the Law will no longer be a curse but a blessing!
As Paul - a Pharisee of Pharisees, a persecutor of Christ, and finally Christ's chosen apostle to the Gentiles - says of his people the Jews:
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:1-13)
And in the meantime, I wish everyone a Passover and Easter filled with thanksgiving and joy, friends and family, and prayerful contemplation of all that our generous, loving and sovereign God has done for us.