Sunday, July 08, 2007

Exodus 12:1-14 - Christ our Passover Lamb

Pray and Read: Exodus 12:1-14
Opening thought:
When our church mission team went to Gulfport, MS, during Holy Week this year for our mission trip with the NC Baptist Men, we found a youth group of Moravians from Wisconsin there doing work, too. The Moravians wore a T-shirt which had printed on the back, “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him!”

Contextual Notes:
The sons of Jacob had gone down into Egypt to escape famine while their brother Joseph was prime minister of the most powerful nation on earth. Four centuries later the Hebrews found themselves in bondage to the Pharaoh. Moses had been called and led through nine plagues against the Egyptians. Now we are at the night of the tenth plague on the firstborn. Here God opens a path of release from the bondage of slavery to set them on a path toward the Promised Land. Here He promises to pass over all who put the blood of the Lamb on their doorposts. Today we are going to see Jesus Christ as that Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Exposition:
Our Lamb opens a new destiny for us (12:2):
Notice that the bread is unleavened, meaning it is made without yeast. Bread has to have time to rise when it has yeast, and it has to have an unused, uncooked piece from the previous loaf. Here the teaching is clear that nothing of the old can come in. The old has gone. The new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17). There is no time to wait for it to rise. We must be moving, getting out of slavery to sin and getting on to the Father’s business in His great missionary enterprise in the earth.


1 Corinthians 5:6-8: 6: Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.Our Lamb makes us a priesthood of believers (12:3-4)Unity of body: Each family unless too small to eat the whole lamb
Family as basic unity of society: With the father as priest
Home the center of faith and teaching
Our Lamb is our sacrifice for sins (12:5-7, 12-13)Without blemish: Perfect lamb without blemish or defect (v. 5) 1 Peter 1:19: 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Four days: Kept four days in the house until it had become part of family, then slain at twilight (v. 6). Our Lamb in the same way came and ministered between 3 and 4 years and became one of us for a short time, then our hearts were torn when He was slain at the time of the evening sacrifice.

For all: Salvation for all, both rich and poor, whatever you have or can afford, whether sheep or goats, you are accepted (v. 6)

Blood: Blood sprinkled with hyssop (Exodus 12:22) on the doorposts of the homes (v. 7) Sprinkling the blood was an act of confession of sin, inability to save themselves, and faith in the Lamb alone. Similarly, confession, deprecation, and faith are the way to the cross. It is the only safety. It is the only exemption from the fatal stroke. Psalm 51:7; John 19:19

Voice: Obedience to the command demonstrated belief in the divine voice. Similarly, responding to God’s promptings indicate a belief in God’s voice to speak to your heart. He does still speak, you know. Else, how could one ever sense a calling?

Warfare: Our Lamb overpowers all other spiritual forces and sits in judgment of them (v. 12) Here’s why. A little known fact is that the same night as the first Passover was the annual Egyptian sacrifice to Osiris, the God of the Dead and Underworld. On the first full moon after the spring equinox the Egyptians sacrificed a pig to Osiris, and they daubed the pig’s blood on their doorpost to ward off untimely death in the family in the next year. That same night God would judge every family in the land without the blood of the Lamb on their doorpost by the death of the family’s “future,” the firstborn, God was overruling the demonic spirit Osiris.

Judgment: Our Lamb’s blood causes the Lord to pass over us when judgment comes (v. 13). Only our Lamb’s blood is efficacious to everyone who appropriates it. Our sin is covered with no other blood than His.

Our Lamb is a festival to celebrate (12:8-10, 14)
Feast: The Lamb who provides escape from judgment also becomes food for a great feast of thanksgiving. That’s what our Lord’s supper is about, and it is even based on the Passover.
Bitter herbs: Notice that the bread is eaten with bitter herbs symbolizing the truth that while we are on this side of life, sometimes bitter herbs of sorrow and memories of bondage to sin, consequences follow us. It reminds us to flee sin and never go into slavery again.

Roasted over fire: The lamb was to be roasted, not eaten raw, which was a pagan practice. So too Jesus was put through the fires of affliction for our sake and paid the price of hell for you and me.

Entirely: Notice that the lamb had to be eaten entirely. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe or accept about Jesus Christ. We cannot receive the loving Savior without accepting the Lord of Glory and the God of Judgment. We cannot believe in Jesus meek and mild and deny that he performed miracles or that he was bodily resurrected or that he will come again to destroy his enemies or that he would never send someone to hell or that he has changed his mind about his certain sins and certain alternative lifestyles.

His blood shelters us from the sweep of divine judgment, and His body is our food. “Christ for us” must become “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

Alexander Maclaren: “The Christian life is meant to be a joyful feast on the Sacrifice, and communion with God based on it. We feast on Christ when the mind feeds on Him as truth, when the heart is filled and satisfied with His love, when the conscience clings to Him as its peace, when the will esteems the words of His mouth more than its necessary food, when all desires, hopes, and inward powers draw their supplies from Him and find their object in His sweet sufficiency.”[1]

The Passover is the Gospel in the Old Testament. It’s purpose is to prophesy Christ, His atoning death, His Kingdom, His Church, is it not? The New Testament leaves us no doubt as to the answer.

No broken bones: How did the Gospel of John understand the Passover and Jesus’ swift death which kept his body from being mutilated like those crucified with him?

John 19:31-37: 31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

What did John the Baptizer call his cousin from Nazareth in John 1:29? “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”

Why was it that Christ was crucified at the time of Passover? Was it not because the Father had designated Him the Lamb of God? (John 12:1, 12; 13:1; 19:31).

Why did John mention a stalk of hyssop (Exodus 12:22) offered to Him on the cross with sour wine on it? Was it not because the NT sees Jesus as the fulfillment of the Passover? (John 19:29). Only our best efforts are only sour wine. Only the Blood of the Lamb on the doorpost of our hearts brings healing, wholeness, new life, exemption from judgment, and freedom from the bonds of slavery.

Our Lamb gets us ready to go (12:11)
Just as the Hebrews had to eat dressed, standing, and ready to go, so we are called to celebrate the Lamb but with the immediate call to “Go to the nations!” We are under a mandate to go (It’s called the Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20), even as the night is short, and the day is coming. “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4) We do not have to wait to hear God calling us to “Go.” We are under the onus to hear God telling us to stay where we are!

Some say, “Well, we’ve got enough people around here who need ministry and need to hear the gospel.” Brother and sister, let me tell you, every one of those folks around here have innumerable opportunities to hear the gospel in radio, television, churches on every corner, and believers at their place of employment. There are 1.5 billion people who have never had a chance to say no to the gospel because they have never heard it. Now where should the priority lie?

Application:

Christ is our Passover Lamb. It was His blood shed on the Cross and sprinkled on our consciences does on the inside of us what the Hebrew Passover could only do outwardly. Some of us are good at image. We know how to make things look good on the outside, but has the blood of the Lamb been sprinkled on your heart? Has there been an inner transformation? Not an assent to divine facts, but a heart communication with the Father and an obedience to the divine call on your life to come to Christ, to draw close to Him?

It is not enough that Jesus died for us. We must appropriate the power of his death and resurrection for ourselves. It is like inheriting a million dollar insurance policy and never cashing it. Many of you grew up in this church, and just because you did and just because you’ve been coming here for years and years and think this is your church, you are not entitled to salvation. You have to receive Him as Lord and Savior. You must make that conscious decision, else all you can expect for your years of service to this church or any religious work is the hot fires of hell.

Christ does not expect you to live the Christian life in misery or defeat. He expects you to live in peace and contentment, in blessing, in excitement over His assignment for your life, in joy of those he has given you, in victory over sin. You should be living that way as a Christian. If not, why not? Have you let sin creep into your life? Pray Psalm 51. Have you let the wrong kinds of influences and friends govern your time and activities? Find the right ones. Have you just grown cold because your life has been too busy to take time with the Lord? Cut things out of your schedule.

Christ is our Passover Lamb, has come for us. You should be saturated in His presence and his being. Christ our Passover Lamb has sacrificed for us. Christ our Passover Lamb is coming again. Are you ready?

Invitation:

Sources:
Tokunboh Adeyemo, gen. ed., Africa Bible Commentary, 100-2
Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, Exodus 12:1-14, 203.
John H. Walton, et. al., eds., The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, 84-5.
[1] Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture, Exodus 12:1-14, 203.