Exodus 11-12, Mark 3

The Passover.

Exodus 10-11, Mark 3

“The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” – Exodus 12:13 ESV

One last plague was to come. God was almost ready to complete His plan of redeeming His people from slavery in Egypt. He had promised Moses that Pharaoh would not only let the people go; he would force them out, and the people of Egypt would give them all kinds of treasure as a parting gift (Exodus 6:1; 3:19-21). The timing was perfect. The seeming delays and constant mood swings of the Pharaoh were all part of God’s plan. It was all building to a crescendo, when God would divinely judge the people of Egypt and graciously spare the people of Israel. This moment would not only be remembered by God’s people, it would be celebrated and memorialized for generations to come. They would tell their children of God’s mercies and His miraculous provision and protection. They would commemorate this day annually as a reminder of God’s redemptive power and undeserved mercy and grace.

What does this passage reveal about God?

Every event in this plan had a meaning and a purpose. Every plague was chosen by God for a specific reason. Every seeming delay was intended by God. And yet, it must have been so frustrating to the people of Israel to wait and watch as the Pharaoh continued to change his mind and renege on his promises. It would have been so easy for them to see every delay as a disappointment. They could have easily begun to doubt the power of their God and the reality of His promise. But God knew what He was doing. He told Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 11:9 ESV). This last plague was non-negotiable. It had to happen. It was going to provide a foreshadowing of yet another event to come. When you think about it, God could have forced Pharaoh to let the people go at any step along the way. But over and over again, we read that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Why? Because the last plague was the most significant one. The Passover had been God’s intention all along. The lamb had to be slain. The blood had to be shed. Judgment had to come. But God was going to provide a way of escape – through the sacrifice of an innocent, unblemished lamb. How absurd this must have sounded to the Israelites when they first heard it. This must have come across as the most unlikeliest of plans. But it was God’s plan and it had to be obeyed to be enjoyed. The lamb had to sacrificed. The blood had to be sprinkled. The meat had to be consumed. And it all required that the people believe that God was not only bringing judgment, but that this strange plan was His means of escaping that judgment. The death angel passed over every house in Egypt, including those of the Jews. And in every house where the blood of the lamb was sprinkled on the door post and lintels, the occupants would be spared the judgment of God. It wasn’t enough just to be an Israelite. The blood was the determining factor. The writer of the book of Hebrews reminds us, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22 ESV). Without the shedding of blood, the Jews would have experienced the same loss and grief as the Egyptians. It was the death of the lamb that provided life. All of this pointed to the coming of Christ as the ultimate Passover Lamb. Paul reminds us, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV). We have been provided redemption from slavery to sin and escape from death “with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19 ESV). This was God’s plan. And today it makes no more sense to many people as the plan given to Moses meant to the people of Israel. When Jesus appeared on the scene, and announced Himself as the Messiah, He was met with incredulity and disbelief. He seemed an unlikely Savior and an unimpressive king. And yet, He was God’s plan. He was God’s only plan. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12 ESV).

What does this passage reveal about man?

Both the Jews and the Egyptians were equally dependent on the blood. I am convinced that had an Egyptian heard Moses’ instructions to the Jews and followed God’s plan of salvation by sacrificing a lamb and sprinkling its blood on his door, he would have enjoyed God’s mercy. The death angel passover over every home, and all he was looking for was the blood. He was not concerned about the inhabitants of the home. He was not just looking for Jewish homes. He was looking for the blood of the lamb. Had any individual, Jew or Egyptian, had the faith to believe God’s plan of salvation and followed God’s instructions, he would have been spared God’s judgment. This is in perfect keeping with God’s plan of redemption as revealed in the New Testament. The salvation provided by Christ’s death on the cross was made available to all – both Jew and Gentile. The key was the blood of Christ and the faith of the individual. Paul made this clear in his letter to the Galatians. “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slavenor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:27-29 ESV). As in the Exodus, the presence of the blood was the determining factor. Faith in the substitutionary nature of the lamb was essential. The blood shed, but not applied would have been ineffective. Christ’s death, not believed in and personally accepted as payment for my sins, would fail to be beneficial for my salvation.

How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?

I no more deserved God’s salvation than did the Jews of Moses’ day. They were not spared because they were special. They were not passed over by the death angel because they were more holy or righteous than their Egyptian neighbors. Their salvation was God’s doing. It involved the sacrifice of a substitute – an innocent lamb. Their guilt was covered by the blood of another. And the same is true of me. I must never assume I somehow deserved salvation. I must never think that I was in some way more acceptable than someone else. My guilt was just as great as the next person. My sins were just as worthy of death as anyone else. But because I placed my faith in the blood of Christ, shed for me, I was passed over. I escaped death and have experienced new life. A highly unlikely and extremely unbelievable plan, but it was God’s plan all along. It didn’t require that I fully understand it, but that I simply trust God for it. When Jesus came, His own family thought He was crazy. The Scribes and Pharisees thought He was demon-possessed. Only the demons themselves seemed to recognize Him for who He really way. He was an unlikely Savior. He was not what anyone was expecting. “He came to his own,and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:11-13 ESV). I am a beneficiary of the shed blood of Jesus Christ. I live because He died. I am a child of God because the Son of God died in my place.

Father, thank You Father for passing over my sins because of the presence of the blood of Christ. Thank You for Your matchless plan of salvation for mankind that provided a means of escape that had nothing to do with my worthiness. You provided the Lamb. He provided His blood. And I enjoy the benefits of forgiveness of sins, assurance of salvation and the rights that come with my position as Your child. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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