A Lenten Meditation for March 23, 2011

Save us, O Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Amen.
Exodus 12:1-13
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs and inner parts. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. 12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

In the name of the Lamb of God who takes our sin away, dear Lenten worshipers:
Notice the similarities that can be found in this account of the Passover between Jesus and the Passover Lamb. The lamb had no defect. Jesus had no sin. The lamb died at the appointed time. Jesus’ death was foretold by the prophets and occurred at the time appointed by the Father. The lamb was a sacrifice for the Israelites. Jesus was a sacrifice for all people. The blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from the tenth plague. Jesus’ blood saved all people from damnation. The lamb’s death made the Israelites realize that sin exacts a terrible price. Jesus’ death was the price of he paid for our sins. This observance of the Passover was intended by God to point the people to the coming Savior. May the account serve the same purpose for us. Behold, the Lamb of God! Jesus is your Savior. So tonight we see Jesus in the Passover. We consider this account, guided by the Holy Spirit, under the theme: By the blood of the lamb!
By the blood of the lamb you are marked as belonging to God. Did you realize that it was with the Passover that God established Israel as his people, his nation? It was a gracious act on the part of the God of promise. Here he is acting in response to the pleas of his people. Here he is acting to free them from slavery, oppression, and captivity. Here he is acting to deliver them from death. So in the special meal he instructs them to observe he demonstrates his love and points them to an even bigger deliverance he will accomplish for all humankind. He points them ahead to the promised deliverer, the same one he had promised on that fateful day in Eden when everything had gone horribly wrong and Satan seemed to have the upper hand. The Messiah would come in a similar way – as a lamb of sacrifice in whose blood there would be deliverance from captivity and death.
The tenth plague was a plague of death. Only God’s people would be spared the death of the firstborn. So God established a way for the people to be marked as his own – the blood of the lamb. It was the blood painted on the doorposts that marked each family as a family of the God-fearing, a family belonging to God. This was more of teaching that all important truth – forgiveness comes by the shedding of blood. Blood marked the people as God’s people. The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin! We are marked by his blood as his very own forgiven people!
The bigger thing about the blood of the lamb is that it saved the people from death. When the angel of death saw the blood painted on the doorposts in a cross-like pattern, the angel would Passover that house, not inflicting the plague of the death of the first born. Another principal was established for the people of promise – blood rescues one from death. What a great picture for us – Jesus has shed his blood for us to rescue us from death.
Find your greatest comfort in the blood of the Lamb – Jesus! By his blood you belong to God for all eternity. By his blood you are saved from death. Behold, the Lamb of God! You are his! You have his eternal life! Amen.

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