The Passover

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1. The tenth plague (11:1-10):

The tenth plague is the high point of the plague story. In Exodus 11:1, God He explains to Moses that this plague will be so severe that Pharaoh will 'send' Israel away. In fact, he will 'drive' them out.
Exodus 11:1 ESV
1 The Lord said to Moses, “Yet one plague more I will bring upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you away completely.
And more than that, the Israelites will ask for Egyptian gold and silver. They will leave with Egyptian economic support.
In verses 4-8, there is no hiding the terror of what is about to happen. Israel is God's firstborn son, and Pharaoh has put God's firstborn son under threat. And God will passionately react in judgment. His poor and humbled son will be exalted. And Pharaoh, who has exalted himself, will be brought very low.

2. Regulations to be followed (12:1-28):

And with this, we turn to chapter 12. Again, we have seen plague after plague. And we have watched the reactions of Pharaoh. Now we take a brief break while looking at some regulations around the Passover meal, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the festival associated with these events.
The first thing that God says is that the events about to occur are to shape every year of their history from now on. /
Exodus 12:1–2 ESV
1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.
Every time they think of a new year, they are to think of the events of the Exodus. The Passover is to shape all their future. In verse 2, God describes the process they are to go through in preparation for this event. Every household is to take a one-year-old male lamb. It is to be a lamb without defect.
At the appointed time, they are to take that lamb and slaughter it. First, its blood is to be drained into a basin
Exodus 12:22 ESV
22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
Then, a hyssop branch is to be dipped into the blood. And that branch is to be used to paint the tops and the sides of the door frames to their houses. This painting of the door frames will indicate that these households are placing themselves under God's protection.
They are then to roast the meat of lamb and eat it with bitter herbs. Perhaps the bitter herbs are there to remind the Israelites of their 'bitter' service in Egypt. They are also to make some bread without yeast. The bread is without yeast because they need to be ready to leave, and there will be no time to wait for the dough to rise.
Then, in verse 11, we are told that this meal is called the 'Passover'. /
Exodus 12:11–12 ESV
11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.
And while the Israelites are celebrating this meal, the Lord will bring judgment on Egypt and their gods. Finally, verses 14-20 describe the details of another feast associated with the Exodus – the feast of unleavened bread. These verses are pretty explicit. We are told three things in these verses…
1. that it is crucial to have unleavened bread,
2. that future generations should copy this feast, and
3. that anyone who breaks this practice and eats with leavened bread shall suffer severe consequences.
Verses 21-27 focus on the details of the blood and the Passover. Finally, verse 28 ends by telling us that Israel did just what the Lord commanded.

3.Departing Egypt (12:29-42):

In 12:29, we return to the story. In verses 29-30, we are told that God's threat is made good, just as it was with every other plague.
Exodus 12:29–30 ESV
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.
In every household in Egypt, some mysterious plague strikes the firstborn children. And loud wailing issues throughout the land. Again Pharaoh acts. He calls for the Israelite leaders at night. He has totally caved into God's will. And so the Israelites leave Egypt. No weapon has been in their hand. And yet, their victory is complete. Verses 37-39 tell us that about 600,000 men plus women and children plus other people groups plus livestock. They had been 430 years in Egypt. And that night, like every night, the Lord watched on. He kept vigil. And he brought them up out of Egypt.
Exodus 12:42 ESV
42 It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.

4. Additional regulations (12:43-13:16)

In 12:43-49, we are given more Passover regulations. 13:3-10 expands regulation about the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 13:11-16 talks about the future consecration of firstborn children. The repetition of these regulations just serves to indicate how vital these things are for Israel. Notice what God is saying in 13:1-2/
Exodus 13:1–2 ESV
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”
A lamb's blood is shed so that the plague let loose on Egypt will not touch the houses of those who slaughtered the lamb.In other words, the blood of a lamb indicates that a particular household is a Jewish household. God has spared this household. It is his household. Because of this, every firstborn in Israel belongs to God.
Then, in verses 11-13, God explains this a bit more. He says that because every firstborn son belongs to God, every firstborn should be given to God. If it is an animal, this obviously means offering it to God in sacrifice. However, in the case of sons, they are redeemed by sacrificing an animal in his place./
Exodus 13:15 ESV
15 For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’
And every now and then, it might be necessary to redeem something like a firstborn male donkey because of its importance in the household. They should make sure when this happens that they redeem it according to the regulations given in Exodus 13.13/.
Exodus 13:13 ESV
13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
And every time they do, the Israelites should remember that they too were redeemed by the blood of a lamb.With all of this background in mind, I want you to travel with me into the future. So let's go to the New Testament and see what they make of the Passover events.

5. A New Testament Perspectives

But most of us are not Jews, and we don't live under the old covenant. But the New Testament does reflect on the Passover and given it relevance for the Christian. Let's go to Matthew 26:17-30. First, Jesus tells his disciples that one of them will betray him. Then, in verse 26/
Matthew 26:26–28 ESV
26 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.” 27 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, 28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus takes some bread. He gives thanks. He breaks it. And he tells his disciples, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he takes a cup of wine. Again he gives thanks. And then he distributes it to his disciples, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'
The words' blood' and 'poured' out are sacrificial words. They have explicit references to the Passover in Egypt. In the book of Exodus, we learn that Israel's relationship with God was forged through the shedding of blood. And Jesus is making clear that the New Covenant is no different to the Old Covenant.
The Old Covenant required the shedding of the blood of a lamb. And the New Covenant will also need the shedding of blood. However, the blood that will be shed this time will not be the shedding of the blood of a lamb. Instead, it will be Jesus own blood that will be poured out. And it won't just be for Israel this time. It will be the pouring out of blood FOR MANY.
Not only that, but it also won't just be so that Israelite sons will be redeemed from dying with Egyptian firstborn. No. The shedding of Jesus's blood will be so that MANY will be redeemed from SIN.
In this sense, the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:7 have a depth of meaning when he says,
1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
And this really is the heart of Christianity. We are made and formed by God. And as a created persons, we belong to God. We were made by him to be in a relationship with him. To love him. To worship him. But that is not how we have lived. The facts are that you and I have spent our lives either shaking our fist at God or simply ignoring him. We have not worshipped him as God. We have not lived as we were designed to live, as created, dependent beings. Because of such sinfulness, we deserve judgement.
Redemption from this situation is what we need. That is what Jesus was looking towards as he celebrated Passover with his followers in Jerusalem. He made his way to the city of Jerusalem because of us! He watched them hammer nails into his hands and feet because of us! He hung on the cross because of us! He died because of us and in our place! He took the punishment that was for us and the anger of God, which was for us! Yet, he allowed his blood to be shed so that ours did not have to be.
But the story doesn't end there. You see, Jesus rose from the dead. Death could not hold him. He rose again. And in doing so, he showed that he is indeed the Lord of life. That he is the giver of new life.
You can see what I'm saying with all this, can't you? We have a Passover lamb who has been crucified for us and yet who has risen from the dead. He now unlocks God's great purposes for us. This is our reality. This is our centre. So … in the face of this reality, let me urge you to do the only proper thing. Let me encourage you to fall to your knees. Worship him. Adore him. Remember him. Thank him.
You see, the book of Exodus and the story of the plagues stands as a grim reminder. You see, the Bible is clear that unless we take the death of Jesus for ourselves, we will have to face God without Jesus on the day of your death or on the last day. And if you face God without the blood of Jesus, then all God will see is your sin. And he will judge you. And he will banish you from his presence forever. He will banish you from everything good that he has given you all your life. You will be banished to an existence without God and without his gifts.
If by some chance, some of you listening are not yet Christian, then I hope you accept Jesus death on the cross as being a death for you. Let me urge you to accept his forgiveness. This is what it means to become a Christian.
In the book of Exodus, you showed that you wanted to align yourself with God's people and God's purpose by killing a lamb and sprinkling its blood on the doorpost of your house. So likewise, you show that you want to align yourself with God's people and God's purpose by looking to Jesus in today's world. By seeing his blood shed for you. And by saying to God, 'I want his death to be a death in my place.'
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