Exodus 12:1-32

29 Oct 2023

Exodus 12:1-32

Passage Exodus 12:1-32

Speaker Paul Oakley

Series Exodus: The God who saves


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

The reading is Exodus, chapter twelve, verses one to 32. You will find it on the service sheet.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, this month is to be for you the first month. The first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the 10th day of this month, each man is to take him one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour. Having taken into account the number of people there are, you are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with the chosen.

The lamb must be one that is free of defect.

The defect. You may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the 14th day of the month, when all the members of the community are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and the seed of the dolls. That same night, they are to eat the roasted man roasted on the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast. Do not eat.

Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning. If some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it. With your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on the feet and your stuff in your hands.

Eat it in haste. It is the Lord's passover.

On that same night, I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals. And I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.

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. This is a day you are to commemorate for generations to come. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord.

A lasting ordinance. For seven days, you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day, remove the yeast from your houses. For whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day, who were cast out on the first day of the second assembly and another one in the 7th day, do no work at all on these days except to prepare food for everyone to eat. And that is all you may do.

Celebrate the festival of anointed bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month, you are to eat bread made without yeast from the evening of the 40th day unto the evening of the 21st day. For seven days, no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel.

Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.

Then Moses summoned all the others of Israel and said to them, go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover.

Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood of the basin, and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your houses that night until morning. When the lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and the sides of the door door frame and will pass over that doorway. He will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.

When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised. Observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, what does this ceremony mean to you, tell them it is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of Israel in Egypt and spared their homes when he struck down the Egyptians.

Then the people bowed down and worshipped. The Israelites did just what the lord commanded Moses and Aaron. At midnight, the lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead during the night. Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, up.

Leave my people. You and their Israelites. Go worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds as you have said, and go. And also bless me.

This is the word of the Lord.

Thank you, James. And in case you're worried, a long reading does not mean a long sermon. Let me just try and ensure that's the case.

Last time we were here was actually the day of Ben's licencing. And there was the most wonderful, powerful, spiritual moment. After Bishop Peter got the sort of existing members of all saints to stand and prayed for them. Then he got the people who were in the group that came with Ben to stand and pray for them. And then he said he got everybody to stand both.

There is no longer the existing congregation and the new people. You are all one Christ and the hairs on the back of my head stood up and I thought that was wonderful. And what's happened since bears that out. I'm so excited at what God's doing here. So three things I'm not going to talk about.

I'm not going to talk about Israel and Gaza today, though you may think the passage has something to say about it that's too awful and too complicated for me to even attempt. I'm not going to tell you any jokes, which some of you will be very relieved on about. Yes, thank you, Angela. Yes, I could hear Angela's sigh of relief because this feels like holy ground, to be honest. And it's not the time for jokes.

And I'm not going to talk much about the judgement that God put onto Egypt because it's complicated just to say, first of all, any kind of judgement in this life is always very approximate. Secondly, Egypt had had nine plagues and Pharaoh had refused to turn back to God through nine plagues. This was the final plague. And thirdly, there's more to this than meets the eye, because it says in verse twelve, God says, I will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt. There's something going on here beyond just human whatever.

So those are things I'm not going to talk about. No jokes, nothing about Israel today and nothing about judgement. So what I want to focus on is the exodus, chapter twelve, and the Passover, as it's called. And this is where Israel became a nation. Really?

Ben described it a few weeks ago because I listened to the sermon on the wonders of the Internet. Ben described it as the pivotal point for Israel. This is where Israel became a nation. Every nation's got its story of how we became a nation. And it's usually how we were big and strong and managed to fight off all the other nations.

This is a different one, isn't it? This is a bunch of slaves who have no power of their own, who are brought out of the powerful nation by God. What a fantastic origin for a country. And this was a fresh start and they were set free. And they're told in verse two, this will be the first month of the year from now on, so that you can remember, this is your fresh start.

This is when you became a nation. And there are four key elements in this passover for Israel. First key element, and Chris is going to read my mind. The lamb. The lamb is actually on the table there in the picture.

The lamb was chosen from the flock. The lamb was without defect. No defect in this lamb. The lamb was killed at twilight. It says in verse six.

And it says in verse four, there was enough for everyone. What a great model of catering that was. Enough lamb for everybody. Big household, small household. Invite your neighbours.

Just enough for everybody. Second thing was the blood. And here on the picture, you can see the Israelite painting the blood over the lintel of the door. The blood is a picture of the life poured out, and it was painted on the doorposts and the lintel. So that's the second element of this exodus.

Third element is the redemption. Two elements here, you know, the only thing we redeem these days are our mortgages, aren't they? You know, when you finally pay off your mortgage, which some people, I'm told, can actually manage, when you pay off your mortgage. What a feeling of freedom, redeeming your mortgage. There's two things about redemption.

One is a price is paid, and the other is, you're free. And here we have the price paid, if you like, is the blood of the life of the lamb and the freedom. These folks can now go with God to journey into the promised land. So that's redemption they're setting free. And it says, when I see the blood, I'll pass over you.

No destructive plague will touch you. And then there's the freedom to go. This is how you are to eat. It says God, with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet, your staff in your hand. In other words, you're free.

Be ready to go with God now. You're free. Be ready for the walk to the promised land. So there's redemption, payment of price and freedom. And the fourth aspect is the commemoration.

God says in verse 14, this is a day you are to commemorate for the generations to come. You'll celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. And that's what the jewish people still celebrate today, the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, bread without yeast. And actually, this picture, I think, is from a jewish Passover card. People still send cards to each other.

Jewish people on Passover time, it's a commemoration. Okay. But it's really important to get that these kind of things in the Old Testament aren't just things for Israel to look back on. They also look forward to the coming of Jesus. Yes, this exodus Passover story looks forward to the coming of Jesus.

Let's change the perspective. Look, said John the Baptist, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Can you imagine? Jesus is walking along the street, and John's here. And he says to his disciples, look, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

All this stuff about Passover lambs dying and other sacrifices in the Old Testament would come to their mind and they'd say this person is going to be like a lamb. How does that work? And the apostle Paul spells it out even more. Look at this from one corinthians Christ our Passover lamb has been sacrificed so Jesus is like the Passover lamb or let's put it the right way around the Passover lamb is a pale image of what Jesus was going to do it's really interesting if you read in Luke's gospel the account of what happened just before Jesus died the word Passover keeps on appearing it was Passover time where are we going to go to prepare the Passover? Go there to prepare the Passover and Jesus says I've longed to eat this passover with you now you'd have to be a pretty dumb disciple if you didn't realise that Passover was really quite important here so Jesus death took place around the time of the Passover celebration reclining at table Jesus said I have eagerly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer and they'd all think that's great but wheres the lamb at Jesus last supper at the passover supper with his disciples there was no lamb on the table.

What theyd be thinking the reason of course was because the lamb was reclining at the table with them Jesus our Passover lambda and so with Jesus we have the lamb he was chosen by the father, he was without defect, he was killed not at twilight but did you remember that when Jesus died it went dark it's all like the passover and there was enough for everybody don't you love that story of the catering of the Passover lamb there was enough for everybody, Jesus death is enough for everybody sometimes you meet people who say I can't forgive myself for what I did, I can't forgive myself and in a gentle pastoral way I try to say so you're saying Jesus death wasn't enough for you it was we can forgive ourselves because his death was enough everybody had enough Passover lamb there's enough in Jesus death for you and me so there's the lamb, then there's the blood poured out, Jesus life given for us, the blood pouring out of his side it also says in the gospels that when Jesus died they didn't break a bone of his body the Passover lamb didnt have a bone broken Jesus really is the Passover lamb whose life is poured out and Paul says we have redemption through his blood so the blood of the Passover lamb. Jesus brings us redemption.

Those two things. The price has been paid. Jesus has paid the price for your sin and mine. And we're set free. Not free just to lounge about, but free for a journey as the Israelites were free for a journey with Jesus, free to be his disciples.

We've been set free. That's redemption. I read a commentary about this as I was preparing the sermon, and the person who wrote the commentary said, the redeemed are committed to pilgrimage. If you believe Jesus died for you, you're committed to pilgrimage. You're committed to going with Jesus as his disciple.

So we've got the lamb, the blood, the redemption, and finally, the commemoration. Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, this is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance, in commemoration of me. It's what we're going to do in a few minutes. We call it holy communion.

It's a commemoration of the sacrifice of Jesus.

And I don't want to be disrespectful, but just have a think. The Israelites didn't just look at the lamb and say, oh, oh, I like that lamb. That's wonderful. Lamb on the table. They took it into themselves.

They ate it for themselves. It became part of them. And we don't come to communion and just say, oh, that's lovely bread and lovely wine. We take it into ourselves because that's what's on offer. Jesus offering himself not just because he's died for us, but because he wants to come into us and live in us.

And I'm nearly finished. I told you it wasn't going to be a long sermon. But the apostle Paul wrote the next slide. Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us keep the festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

There's two things here. Our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. So let us keep the festival, keep the commemoration. Take the bread and wine. So as you come to communion today, just think, Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

He had no defect. There was darkness as he died. His death is enough for me. I have forgiveness, redemption. I'm set free.

Set free to journey with Jesus. That's one aspect of this. We look back as we come to communion and we remember what Jesus has done for us. But the second aspect is what we're going to do through the week. Because what Paul says in this verse, let us keep the festival, not with the old bread, leavened with malice and wickedness.

It would be a strange communion service if it was full of malice and wickedness, wouldn't it? Well, perhaps there is sometimes in some places, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. He's referring to how we live our lives.

This communion, this commemoration, this Jesus who's died for me, this Passover lamb of God is not just something we remember on a Sunday. Occasionally. This is something that takes us into the week and through the week. How can you, through the week, just remember that in the way we live our lives, when there's an opportunity for a bit of malice, and we all get it, don't we? The opportunity for a bit of malice?

No, because Jesus has died for me. I don't need to do that. When there's an opportunity for a little bit of being economical with the truth. No, I don't do that because Jesus has died for me. We celebrate this wonderful feast, this wonderful festival, this wonderful Passover.

The lamb of God who loved me, said the apostle Paul, and gave himself for me. How is that a verse to think about? The lamb of God, the son of God, he said, who loved me and gave himself for me. That's our Passover. Let's pray.

Lord Jesus, it's beyond our belief, it's beyond our grasp to really understand all that you've done for us. Our belief stretches out to you, our faith reaches out to you and we grasp hold of you. But there's so much more that we've just not grasped yet. But we thank you that you are our Passover lamb. You have died for me and that's enough.

Lord, lead us into freedom, we pray. Freedom as we walk with you into this week, knowing that you are our Passover lamb.

Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.