The Great Rescuer
The mighty God is about to unleash his most heart-stopping display of power in order to loosen Pharaoh’s vise grip on God’s people. Moses warns Pharaoh of the coming massacre: At midnight, the firstborn male of every person in Egypt will die.
To protect themselves from the looming catastrophe, every Israelite family is to choose a defect-free, one-year-old lamb to slaughter and then paint its blood on the doorposts of their homes. The blood will serve as a curse covering. God’s angel will pass over the families living in the blood-protected homes, sparing the lives of their firstborn. That night, every Israelite family sleeps safely under the blood covering. But the hearts of every Egyptian firstborn stop.
Wails fill the air the next morning as Egypt wakes up to nationwide fatalities. The dark kingdom has taken a deadly blow. Pharaoh and the Egyptians beg the Hebrews to leave, and they do—quickly. Later, God mandates his people to celebrate the Passover every year—to remember the night he covered his people and set them free.
The King’s Heart
The blood covering was a picture, a rehearsal. To remember the event, God instructed the Israelites to celebrate Passover. On the tenth day of the first month, Israelite families would select a lamb. For the next four days they’d watch it and examine it, ensuring that it was without defect. On the fourteenth day, the Passover lambs would be slaughtered, reminding God’s people of the day God had rescued them.
Many years later, very likely on the tenth day of the month, Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. People cheered and placed palm branches at his feet. Even though they thought they were choosing their king, they were unknowingly choosing their Lamb. For the next four days, the religious leaders sought to find flaws in him. And in the early morning hours before he was crucified, the Roman government leaders sought to do the same. But he was found defect-free. Even though he was innocent, Jesus was crucified. And most likely at the very same hour the Passover lambs were being slaughtered at the temple, Jesus breathed his last.
This time, the Passover Lamb would set his people free forever. Death and the dark kingdom would sustain a deadly blow. He would provide the covering for his people to come back to him.
To this day, Jews celebrate the Passover. As they remember God’s great rescue, they include themselves in the history. They tell the stories using the word we, as if they were actually with their Israelite ancestors as God was setting them free.