When Being Passed Over is a Good Thing

Many of us can probably think back to times when we’ve been passed over for things. Like maybe a school yard game, a get together, or a promotion at work. Those moments don’t feel good. They can even be crushing. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Today’s section out of Exodus is one of those moments when being passed over is not only a good thing, but a great thing.

In the last post on the Messiah in Exodus I wrote a lot about the nature of the book itself. God pronounces salvation for a people in desperate need of it. It’s the central message of the Messiah. As the process unfolds for Israel, God wrecks Egypt with plague after plague. All of which are designed to dethrone their imagined gods. Prior to the final judgement, God announces to Moses a ceremonial feast for all those who had given their allegiance to Him. It becomes known as the Passover.

“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. 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. 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. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 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. “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. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 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. 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. 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. “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”

Exodus 12:1-14 ESV

I want to break this down now by pointing to seven messages about the Messiah contained in these fourteen verses. All of them center around The Messiah being the Passover Lamb.

The lamb is the provision from God used in the place of humanity. Remember back to the Genesis post about Abraham and Isaac? On that mountain God provides the sacrifice for Abraham. The lamb of the Passover is the annual celebration of God’s provided sacrifice. It was that lamb that was a ‘stand in’ for the death Israel deserved, right along with Egypt. But only those who trusted in the provision would be covered. Here’s a little bit more about the Passover lamb and it’s Messianic implications.

  1. It was chosen ahead of time (v.3) just as the Messiah was chosen from the very beginning, thousands of years before He would carry out His purpose.
  2. The lamb had to be without any blemish (v.5) and so would the Messiah in order to be an acceptable sacrifice for imperfect humanity.
  3. It was thoroughly examined (v.6) to make sure it was acceptable before it would be sacrificed. The Messiah would have to stand before onlookers with the same examination.
  4. The lamb was killed by the people (v.6) following it’s examination. The unfortunate role of the Messiah was to die.
  5. The death of the lamb happened in the evening (v.6) so the Messiah would have to die during the similar time of day.
  6. The blood of the lamb had to be shed (v.7) which means the Messiah’s blood would also need to be shed.
  7. The blood of the lamb saved the people from God’s impending judgement (v7, 12-13) so the Messiah’s blood would have equal and far greater power than that.

It would probably be a good idea to go back and read through the passage from early now that it’s been broken down. Context is always good. From this point on I’m going to be showing, from the text of the Bible itself, how Yeshua (Jesus) is revealed as the Lamb from the Passover Feast. Each number below will correspond with one from above.

  1. Yeshua was chosen, not from the moment sin entered the world, but before sin was ever an issue. Yeshua was the Messiah before the world ever existed.
    • He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:20-21)
  2. Yeshua is described as being one who never sinned. Sin is an obvious blemish and Yeshua had none. A full life without a sinful thought, word, or action.
    • A sinless, spotless life. No one in history has, or ever will, come close to that.nd if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:17-19)
    • For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  3. Yeshua was placed on trial and examined by many people: the sanhedrin, Pilot, Herod, the people, etc…In the end He was found to be innocent and blameless.
    • When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips. Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.” When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. (Luke 22:66-23:15)
  4. It was the people who shouted for the death of Yeshua. Despite His innocence and perfection, the mob called for Him to be crucified.
    • From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. (John 19:12-16)
  5. The death of Yeshua would last all day, all the way up until sundown. Those who wanted to burry Him, had to quickly get Him down before light was gone because a Sabbath was approaching.
    • And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 18:33-39)
  6. Crucifixion has been shown to be among the worst ways to die. Not only was Yeshua’s hands and feet pierced with nails, but His flesh was torn from His body by the lash. Yeshua’s blood was most definitely poured out.
    • And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. (Luke 22:14-20)
  7. The Bible is full, and I mean full, of passages that state the power and efficacy of the blood of Jesus Christ in saving us.
    • For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:13-14)
    • But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)

There are so many more verses to back up the identity of the Messiah as the Passover Lamb. If you’d like to study more on the topic, here is a list to get you going:

It’s incredible to see how one ceremony, instituted thousands of years ago, could say so much about the identity of the Messiah, and that one person could embody it all.

The next day he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:29 (ESV)

Peace in Christ brothers and sisters

Advertisements

Doorposts and Crossbeams

maxresdefault

I’ve heard a lot of versions of the gospel. Some are extremely burdensome, and others, well, could easily just leave Jesus out of it. When people try to put their own twist on the message, it gets really distorted. I wonder how many non believers are confused by the mixed messages. Actually, it’s those in the church who are probably more susceptible to becoming confused. The gospel, in it’s simplicity, is beautiful and easy to understand. Salvation is not a road with twists and turns meant to get us lost. It’s a straight path, narrow as it may be, that’s paved by One person, and guided by the One who made it. The gospel is meant to bring joy and hope to a desperate world.  Confusing and complicated things don’t do either of those things. One easy way to understand the message of the gospel is through doorposts and crossbeams.

The Passover is a beautiful illustration of the gospel. It’s a story of redemption. It’s a story of deliverance from bondage. It’s a story of faith in the grace of God. It’s a story of victory. Israel was in slavery in Egypt when God responded to their dyer need out of His own love for His children. After Aaron and Moses delivered God’s message to Pharaoh, nine nasty plagues reeked havoc on Egypt. The tenth, however, would be the worst of them all. The tenth plague would be God’s wrath on sin, idolatry, pride, false religion, cruelty, and so much more. The Destroying Angel would sweep through the land of the most powerful empire on earth and lay waste in one of the most heart-wrenching ways. The people would bear the weight of their rebellion against the God that loved them. But, as always, God made a way.

When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

Exodus 12:23 (NIV)

The blood on the doorposts, was the blood of a lamb. That’s it. In faith, Israel would kill a spotless lamb and cover the doorposts of their homes with the blood. That blood would save them from the wrath of God that was about to be poured out. It wasn’t only the good Israelites that got to be covered with the blood. It wasn’t even just the Israelites who were covered. Anyone who could humble themselves enough and trust in the blood, could be covered. I’m convinced that even Pharaoh himself could have done this. But, as we can read from the Exodus story, Pharaoh was anything but humble. His faith was in himself.

The gospel is that straight forward. Love in all it’s simplicity. Jesus hung on crossbeams to bleed for all of us. His blood covers anyone who wants to put their faith in Him. You don’t have to be a good person to surrender to Jesus…you just have to surrender and let the blood do it’s work. We don’t have to be the spotless ones because Jesus was that on our behalf. Those rescued from Egypt were imperfect people, and so is the Church. But, we are rescued all the same. We are rescued from the wrath of God to come on this rebellious and self-worshiping world, only because of the blood of Jesus. When God looks at you, He sees His child. He sees someone covered by the most precious blood. But, just like those who God rescued from Egypt, we have to follow Him out of slavery. God didn’t deliver Israel so they could stay put in bondage. God covered them and bid them to come and follow. When He stepped out of heaven in the person of Jesus, He did the very same thing. The sacrifice of Jesus means we’re covered and invited. That invitation has always been to whoever will come. To whoever, will put their faith in God’s love. To whoever is covered by the blood.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16 (TLV)

Happy Passover brothers and sisters!