1 RESCUE! Exodus 12:1-13 Lesson for September 16-17, 2017 Scott Susong [TEACHERS: I have not included any illustrations or references to Hurricane Harvey, our relief efforts, etc. However, if appropriate I invite you to do so. You know your class and how they have been affected - be sensitive to their needs, but help them to move on as well.] INTRODUCTION John Newton was born August 4, 1725, in London. His mother was a devout Christian; his father was a sea captain. As a young boy, John was pulled in two directions: his mother wanted him to be a preacher, but when he was with his father, he wanted to sail the high seas. His mother died when he was only six, and soon after that sailing with his father became his life. By the time he was 20, John Newton had become a slave-trader working the African Coast. He was foul-mouthed, lecherous, had a terrible temper, and openly renounced any belief in God. In 1748, something happened that changed his life. Returning to England through the North Atlantic on the ship Greyhound, he and his crew fought a storm that lasted 29 days. When they finally limped into port in Ireland, Newton saw their deliverance as an act of God. For 29 days they had lived between hope and despair. He saw that he was not only rescued from the terror of the high seas, but also from his sin and the terror of God s judgment. Shortly after that incident, John Newton trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He had been redeemed and rescued for all eternity! [based on Amazing Grace John Newton s Story, by John Pollock, pages 80-81] The Lord is in the business of saving people of providing the way of escape from His wrath and judgment. Today s passage gives us a visual aid of what God did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ. That visual aid is the Passover. BIBLICAL/HISTORICAL CONTEXT The Israelites had a problem: they had been slaves in Egypt for over 430 years. We have a problem: slavery to sin (John 8:34). God s solution for the Israelites in 1440 B.C. was the Passover, which has several parallels to His solution for us in Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul refers to Jesus Christ as our Passover in 1 Corinthians 5:7. There was one more plague which God would bring on Egypt which would come with a way of escape for the Israelites. The rescue by God came in the form of the Passover. Our passage for today contains the instructions by God to Moses for the ordinance of the Passover. These instructions were given during the plague of darkness (Exodus 10) to prepare Israel for their exodus from Egypt. Passover was to remind the Israelites for generations to come of the incredible event of their exodus from slavery in Egypt. [based on The MacArthur Bible Commentary, page 99]
2 Exodus 12:1-2 Passover was to be the beginning of their religious calendar. Umberto Cassuto, in his commentary on Exodus, says that the sense of verse 2 is that God is saying to Israel, You are now beginning to count a new year; now the new year will bring you a change of destiny. [Commentary on Exodus, page 137] I. THE PASSOVER LAMB, verses 3-5 They were to select a lamb on the tenth of the month, one lamb for each household. Or, if a family was too small, they were to combine with one or two neighboring homes per lamb. It was to be a communal celebration with their brethren, not alone. They were to eat the lamb, connecting with other families if need be, so that no part of the animal was wasted or thrown out. The lamb was to be an unblemished male, a year old. The significance of these requirements: (1) Unblemished or flawless the sacredness of the ordinance. (2) Male - taking the place of the first-born son in each family. Thus, they would be rescued from the tenth plague: all the first-born in the land of Egypt will die, Exodus 11:5 and 12:12. (3) One-year-old reaching the full vigor of life. ( from Keil and Delitzsch Commentary, quoted in Dr. Constable s Notes on Exodus, page 71) Parallels to Jesus Christ John 1:29 John the Baptist saw Jesus Christ and said, Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! In the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ is called the Lamb 28 times. Unblemished Jesus is called a Lamb unblemished and spotless in 1 Peter 1: See also Hebrews 9:14. He knew no sin 2 Corinthians 5:21. Many other passages indicate that Jesus Christ was sinless. A male one-year-old. Jesus was in the prime of life (age 32-33) when He died on the cross. II. THE DEATH AND THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB, verses 6-7, 46 (1) The lamb was selected on the tenth of the month and kept until the fourteenth, when it was killed. It became almost like a pet around the house. (2) It was to be killed at twilight which literally means between the two evenings. In Josephus day, which was also Jesus day, the Jews killed the Passover lamb in midafternoon or about 3:00 p.m. Jesus Christ died during this time (Matthew 27:45-50; Mark 15:34-37; Luke 23:44-46). [Dr. Constable s Notes on Exodus, page 71] (3) The blood of the lamb was to be smeared on the doorposts and the cross piece of the house in which they eat the Passover meal. Note: It was not enough that the lamb was slain and the blood spilled. It had to be applied to their houses. (4) Verse 46 They were not to break any bone of the Passover lamb.
3 Parallels to Jesus Christ The lamb was innocent; he did not deserve to die. Jesus was innocent. None of the authorities found Him guilty of anything except that He claimed to be God. But it isn t blasphemy because He was and is God the Son! The lamb died a substitutionary death. He died as a substitute for the first-born male of each family. The lamb was an innocent third party replacement. Jesus Christ died in our place an innocent third party substitute. See 2 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. How crystal clear is that! He bore our sins on the cross. Not His sins because He was sinless; He paid for our sins. No bone of the lamb was to be broken. Even this rather obscure detail was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. See John 19:33, 36. In a crucifixion, the victim suffocated he no longer had the strength to support his body, and couldn t breathe. It was common for the Romans to break the victim s legs to hasten his death. But when they came to Jesus on the cross, He was already dead. There was no need to break His legs. Then, in verse 36, John quotes Exodus 12:46 showing how that Scripture was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ! III. THE EATING OF THE LAMB, verses 8-11 (1) The lamb was not just killed and looked upon, but they were to feed upon him. (2) The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs in remembrance of the bitter slavery they had endured at the hands of the Egyptians. They were never to forget where they came from and what the Lord did to rescue them. (3) They were to eat the Passover meal in haste. They were to eat, ready to go with only what they had on their backs, ready to travel light and forever to leave all else behind in Egypt. They took only what they could carry. Parallels to the Christian Life As believers, we are to feed upon Christ, being nourished and strengthened spiritually. See John 6:46-58, the passage in which Jesus says He is the bread of life. There is also a parallel here to the Lord s Supper a time of remembrance of His death for our sins. The bitter herbs we must never take our salvation for granted on two counts. We lived in bitter slavery to sin with no hope other than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, by which He redeemed us. Jesus made a bitter and painful sacrifice on the cross on our behalf.
4 The Passover meal was eaten in haste, and they were to leave everything behind. Once we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, part of living the Christian life means leaving the old life behind. We leave our old habits, sins, and friends if need be. See 2 Corinthians 5:17 the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. See also Romans 6: The Passover looked forward to the cross of Jesus Christ and His payment for our sin. APPLICATION PRINCIPLES 1. The blood of the lamb had to be applied to the houses of the Israelites for them to be rescued from the angel of death who would take the first-born. For us, the blood of Jesus Christ must be applied to us to be rescued from the judgment of God. It is applied by faith, believing that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the dead. Matthew Henry said, It was not enough that the blood of the lamb was shed, but it must be sprinkled, denoting the application of the merits of Christ s death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, Rom. 5:11. (The Matthew Henry Commentary page 83) Have you trusted in the Lord Jesus as your Savior? Have you been rescued? 2. If you are a believer, have you left your old life behind? Are you still clinging to some of the old haunts and habits? Jesus said in Luke 9:23, If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. We cannot drag the baggage from our old life into our new life with Christ. ILLUSTRATION: In the 1 st century, if you saw someone carrying their cross thru your town surrounded by Roman soldiers, you knew they were going to be crucified. There are three things that are true about that person that are also true about a disciple of Jesus Christ: (1) He is only going in one direction. (2) He is not turning back. And, (3) He has no future plans of his own. CONCLUSION So, what happened to John Newton? He tells us in his own words: The more I looked at what Jesus had done on the cross, the more He met my case exactly. I needed someone or something to stand between a righteous God and my sinful self. I needed an Almighty Saviour who should step in and take my sins away, and I found such a one in the New Testament. I saw that because of the obedience and sufferings of Jesus, God might declare His justice, in punishing my sin, and declare His mercy also, in taking that punishment on Himself on the cross, so that I might be pardoned. (John Pollock, page 81) Oh, by the way, John Newton also wrote a song perhaps you ve heard of it Amazing Grace! It arguably is the most famous and beloved hymn ever written. John Newton died four days before Christmas in As he lay dying, he whispered to his friend, William Jay, My memory is nearly gone. But I remember two things: That I am a great sinner And that Christ is a great Saviour! (John Pollock, page 81)