Exodus 11:1-10, 12:1-3,7,11-13
The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will drive you out of here. Now announce to the people that both men and women should ask their neighbors for silver and gold items.” The Lord gave the people favor with the Egyptians. In addition, Moses himself was very highly regarded in the land of Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and the people. So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, and every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is at the grindstones, as well as every firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before or ever will be again. But against all the Israelites, whether people or animals, not even a dog will snarl, so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying: Get out, you and all the people who follow you. After that, I will get out.” And he went out from Pharaoh’s presence fiercely angry. The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his land.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ families, one animal per family...They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them.
Here is how you must eat it: You must be dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord ’s Passover. “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both people and animals. I am the Lord ; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
God was serious about rescuing His people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt. Just like they put the blood of a lamb on their doorpost to say they belonged to God, what in your life says to others that you are a Christian? What do you need rescuing from?
What you just read is what Jews and Christians call the first “Passover” because the angel of death passed over the homes of the Israelites because of the blood of the lamb. This holiday is still celebrated every year by Jews. The good news that Christians have is that Jesus willingly died on the cross and rose from the dead during the Passover holiday many years later so that no more sacrifices would ever be needed again. None of us need to fear punishment for our sins because Jesus has paid for them once and for all.
Jesus, thank you for dying so that I could live. Thank you for rescuing me from sin and slavery in my life. Help me to remember that this is why and what we celebrate this Christmas season.
What friend have you had for a long time whom you have never explicitly told about Jesus dying on the cross for them? Christmas is a great excuse to bring Jesus up casually in conversation. Tell your friend about Jesus this week.