The Passover Lamb

by Dr. Blake Killingsworth

Day 8 of Advent

Today's Reading

Exodus 12:21-23

We all know stories that never seem to go away. Each family has them.

For my family, we have stories about my grandfather and his time building highways throughout Texas, or the time my other grandfather flew a plane and buzzed my grandmother’s house before they got married. My wife’s dad is well-known for going temporarily blind the morning of his wedding day.

Good stories are entertaining, and great stories define who we are. Such is the case with this story.

Between Genesis 50 and Exodus 1, generations had passed, and the children of Israel had gone from being refugees and guests in a foreign land to expendable slaves. In response, God raised up a deliverer, Moses, and He provided a way out, the Exodus.

When we arrive at Exodus 12, the battle between Pharaoh and Moses is reaching its climax. Already, Egypt had suffered through tremendous plagues causing death and destruction, but still, Pharaoh’s heart remained cold. Then came the last warning, the final plague—the death of every firstborn son. The Egyptians didn’t believe, but God’s people did.

“Go at once,” Moses told them, “and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.”

Have you ever thought about what must have been going through their minds when he said this? I imagine some were excited and ready to go. Those types of personalities are in every crowd—they are innovators. If it is new and shiny, they are on board. So when they hear Moses, they are out the door before he finishes the instructions.

Next, are the early adopters, those folks who are ready to go, but usually work at a slower pace than the innovators. For them, they thought, “Well, this sounds a little unusual, but it makes sense. Let’s give it a go.”

After that initial group goes forward, a larger group comes along. These are the early majority folks. They see the success of the first two groups and join in with little resistance. They weren’t the first to pick out the lambs, but they did so willingly.

The last two groups cast a far more skeptical eye towards the whole matter. Some fully expect an idea to fail, but for the sake of the group, they are willing to go along, even though they may continuously tell you why it won’t work. You can hear them spreading the blood over the doorframe and telling others that it will only attract flies and cause a stain.

The final ones are those who really never buy-in. They not only explain why it won’t happen; they almost actively make sure that it won’t. Change is never good; even if the current state of affairs is miserable.

Moses is talking to the whole group, and he can see in each of their eyes into which category everyone will fall. But notice that the reaction of the group doesn’t change the direction of the plan. The Lord’s judgment was coming, and the only path to salvation was through the Passover Lamb.

We know how the story ends. Every firstborn in Egypt, including Pharaoh’s son, was struck down because the blood did not protect them, but everyone one who obeyed Moses’ instructions and anticipated the arrival of judgment survived.

I find it fascinating that even before the event takes place, Moses commands His people to remember the moment well and pass it on to their children so that it can be shared for generations to come.

Remember, good stories are entertaining, but great stories are defining. The Exodus defined the Jewish people, and the Passover lamb led the way.

When we turn to the Gospels, we once again see the Passover Lamb, but this time, it is Jesus. Much like the blood of the slaughtered sacrifice had to be sprinkled over the door frames of the houses, so too does the blood of Jesus have to be sprinkled over our hearts to receive salvation from the coming judgment.

The question is, does this Passover story just entertain you, or does it define you? Has it reshaped your heart and your life?

Are you one of those who believe in this message, whether immediately or after some thought, or are you the group that just scoffs and believes that it is ok for some to rely on the blood, but not for you?

Those are your only two options, and Advent reminds us of them. The coming child is actually a Lamb prepared for slaughter. And the only choice we have is to believe by obeying or reject by disobeying.

Which will you choose?