Exodus 12:1-7;12-13. 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. 3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. 7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
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. 13 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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
The Passover story.
There is no other story like it in the Old Testament. The Passover is Israel’s defining moment. It is their salvation and it is humanity’s salvation. It is the event of events. The rest of Hebrew scripture will point back to this night. The feast of Passover will memorialize this night. It is never to be forgotten.
It is God’s redemption story. No other story so vividly displays the nature of our salvation than the Passover story. That is of course until the story of Christ and his cross.
God’s salvation story is and always has been the story of substitution. It’s the story of one dying for another. There is no self-salvation in God’s story. The Passover opens our hearts and minds to this unique way of salvation. The Passover stands against every other path of redemption. It stands against the self-righteousness of every other religion. No earning. No achieving. No asceticism. No cosmic scale weighing our good against our evil. No pedigree. Even the Hebrews were in danger of the final plague. Even God’s chosen people need a savior.
The salvation of the Passover proves that we can never save ourselves. That we need something (or someone) to take our place. That only the death of the spotless one can bring life – Your lamb shall be without blemish. Only the blood of a righteous life can satisfy the justice of God – when I see the blood, I will pass over you.
Christ is our Passover.
He is our Passover Lamb.
1 Corinthians 5:7. 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.
He is our perfect spotless substitute.
1 Peter 1:181-19. 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.
His blood satisfies the wrath of God for us.
Romans 3:23-25. 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
The cross of Christ is the true Passover. The true substitution. Set free from the true slavery of the heart. Just as the Hebrews were safe inside their homes with the blood on the door, we live safe inside of Christ’s life with HIS blood on the door.
But our union with Christ is far better than the Passover. In Christ God has once for all time dealt with our sin. He has once for all time conquered the fear of death. How? By the substitution of Christ. By his death defeating resurrection. A resurrection that brings us into the life of God himself.
Christian, God isn’t just “passing over” you anymore. He’s not thinking about your sin and saying “oh yeah I can’t smash her because of Jesus’ blood.” He’s not remembering Jesus and skipping over you to the next person he can plague. Because of the cross, God is not looking at your door and moving on. He’s seen the blood of Jesus on your heart’s door and moved in. He’s indwelling you.
Often when we read the Passover story we see God as the “angel of death” that we need to avoid so that he doesn’t kill us in our sleep. And yes, God does need to punish our sin. His perfection demands it. That is a great truth of this story. But God is also the lamb in the story. The lamb that lived in that house with that Hebrew family. The lamb that they took into their own being when they ate it by faith and lived. The lamb whose blood was graciously spilled for their life. God is both. The destroyer and the life giver.
“To live is Christ” means God has passed over our sins. But it also means much much more. It means God has placed us into himself. Dwelling with us for all eternity. Not an appeased God who moves on. A pleased God who moves in.