Typically, on Resurrection Sunday, the pastor brings a message about Jesus’ death and resurrection. The Lord rose from death on the third day to show that He conquered death. His resurrection also gives us hope that His promise to raise us after death will be fulfilled. The resurrection gives us hope today.
However, this morning, we will continue our study in the Book of Exodus. Chapters 11-12 give an account of the first Jewish Passover. During this time, God gave the Israelites hope that they would be delivered from Egyptian slavery. And we will also see that what happened is a picture of what Jesus did for us on the cross.
- Announcing the Final Plague (Ex. 11:1-10)
Chapter 11 details God’s conversations with Moses and also Moses’ announcement of the final plague to Pharaoh. In it, we will see how God’s plan would finally unfurl.
a. The Lord spoke to Moses (1-3).
God told Moses that He would send one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt. Once completed, Pharaoh would let them go. In fact, he would drive them out.
b. Moses spoke to Pharaoh (4-8).
[Read Exodus 11:4-8.]
If you recall, Pharaoh and Moses had come to words and had promised not to see each other again. But these threats did not come to pass as planned. God sent Moses back to Pharaoh to announce the tenth plague.
Moses told Pharaoh that the Lord himself would enter Egypt and kill all the firstborn people and animals. He told Pharaoh that the grief would be unlike anything they had experienced before. But none of this would affect the Israelites; no harm would befall them. Moses announced that the Egyptians would beg for him and the Israelites to leave Egypt.
Why was Moses so angry when he left?
“His indignation was justly moved at the repeated falsehoods of the king, at his mercenary and cruel disposition, and at the insolent manner in which he had himself been treated by him. But it was mainly in view of the indignity put upon the messages of God that his spirit was stirred” (Bush 134-35).
Over and over again, this hard-hearted king refused to listen to All Mighty God. He allowed his country to be destroyed, people and cattle to be killed, and all because he was stubborn and would not submit to God. Moses could have said, “You brought this on yourself! How many more people must die because of your stubbornness?”
c. The Lord knew Pharaoh’s heart (9-10).
Pharaoh’s current response was not a surprise to God. He announced that Pharaoh would not listen to Moses and that God’s purpose would be fulfilled. The land of Egypt would soon know without a doubt that their false gods were nothing and that the Lord was All-Powerful.
The Lord had dealt with this hard-hearted king for months now. He had given him the opportunity to respond, but he stubbornly refused to submit to God. The more he hardened his heart against God, the more God hardened his heart.
Take a moment and think about your own response to God over your life. Have you been hard-hearted toward Him? Be aware that there may come a time when you will become so hard-hearted that you will not be able to change. And then it will be too late.
- Preparing for the Final Plague (Ex. 12:1-27)
In the first part of chapter 12, God told Moses how to prepare the Israelites for the last plague and their departure from Egypt. What happened next would be so memorable that they would make this month the first of their year.
[Read Exodus 12:3-7.]
a. The lamb (3-11)
The Lord had Moses instruct the people to take a lamb on the 10th of the month and keep it at their home until the 14th. Then at twilight, they were to kill the lamb and paint some of its blood on the lintel and doorposts of their home. After that, they were to roast and eat the lamb with their family. And they were to be dressed in traveling clothes ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
b. The judgment (12-13)
The Lord announced to Israel that he would pass through the land of Egypt and strike every firstborn. This would be a judgment against the false gods of Egypt that were worshiped by Pharaoh and his subjects.
How would this be a judgment against Egypt’s gods?
As we have looked through the plagues, we have also seen that the Lord was often targeting the false gods the Egyptians trusted to protect them from harm. Whether it was frogs, flies, locusts, hail, or something else, their gods and their supposedly divine Pharaoh were incapable of protecting them.
During the last plague, the Egyptians would have been trusting another god to protect them from harm. “The goddess Isis, the wife and sister of Osiris, supposedly protected children. But this plague showed her to be totally incompetent to do what the Egyptians trusted her for” (Hannah 126).
By the end of this last plague, Egypt and Pharaoh would know who was truly in charge.
- Responding to the Final Plague (Ex. 12:27b-32)
Both the Egyptians and the Israelites were told about the coming plague. They knew that the Lord had promised to kill the firstborn of every family. Now how would each group respond?
[Read Exodus 12:27b-32.]
a. Israel did what God told them (27b-28).
It was not just the Egyptians who were awe struck by what had been happening. The Israelites were amazed by God’s power as seen by each of the plagues. Now, as Moses told them what God was going to do, they responded in two ways.
First, they bowed their heads and worshiped God. Their thankfulness to God was expressed by honoring him in this way. Second, they left Moses and Aaron to do what God had commanded. Their response showed that they believed what God had said and would do as he required.
How about you?
While it is good to bow your head and show respect for God, is that all the further that it goes? Or does your love for God affect the way that you live every day? God wants your worship and your daily actions.
Jesus said, “Why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (John 6:46) He was pointing out the difference between mere words and words that are followed up by obedience. If you truly love God, your life will show it.
b. The Lord struck the firstborn of Egypt (29-30).
At midnight, the Lord carried out his promise to kill the firstborn of every family and animal in Egypt. It affected all of the Egyptians from Pharaoh’s firstborn son to the firstborn of someone in prison. None of them escaped God’s judgment. There was no house that was not filled with mourning that night.
c. Pharaoh let them go (31-32).
This was the tipping point for Pharaoh. He had resisted the Lord until this point. He hurriedly called for Moses and Aaron and sent them away. And this time, he did not stipulate who could go or whether they could take their flocks. He just wanted them out of the land.
Surprisingly, he asked Moses and Aaron to bless him also. “Amazingly the Pharaoh, who was considered a god, was now humbled to the point of asking that Moses and Aaraon … bless him” (Hannah 129).
- Applying the Final Plague
The New Testament often uses events in the Old Testament as examples for us today. It is as if God planned what happened back then to show what He was doing for us through Jesus. Consider three New Testament verses that tie the Passover to what Jesus did for us.
a. Jesus is the Lamb of God.
[Read John 1:29.]
John the Baptist was the great preacher who called Israel to repent of their sin and turn to God. His preaching affected not only the Jewish people but also soldiers and religious leaders.
When he saw Jesus walking toward him, he suddenly announced that Jesus was “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” What did he mean? John knew what others did not. He knew that Jesus, like an unblemished lamb, was God’s future payment for our sins.
b. Jesus shed his blood for us.
[Read 1 Peter 1:18-19.]
God tells us that the penalty for sin is death (Rom. 6:23). It further explains that we deserve to be cast into the lake of fire at the end of time for our sin against God (Rev. 20:11-15). But it also tells us that our sins have been paid for God. How did he do that?
Peter tells us that the penalty for our sins was not paid by gold or silver. It wasn’t paid for by following some traditions or rituals passed along by religious leaders either. Instead, Jesus’ blood paid the price for our sins. When Jesus bled and died on the cross, his blood counted as the payment for our sins so that we could escape the judgment we deserve.
But how does that work?
c. Jesus is our Passover.
[Read 1 Corinthians 5:7b.]
The Bible tells us that “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
Remember how the Israelites escaped the 10th plague? A lamb was killed and its blood was painted on the doorposts and lintel of their homes. Then when the Lord came to kill the firstborn, He passed over their houses when He saw the blood. They escaped the judgment when He saw the blood.
Jesus is our Passover.
All of us have sinned against God and deserve to be judged. And there is nothing we can do to make amends for those sins. We are headed for the lake of fire with no remedy of our own making. But God had promised that Jesus is our Passover.
When a sinner like you or me puts our faith in what Jesus did on the cross. When we believe that His blood paid the price for our sins, God has promised to pass over us and save us from the judgment we deserve. Jesus is our Passover.
Today, we have the opportunity to remember what Jesus did for us on the cross. He died to pay for our sins. We also remember that He didn’t stay dead but was raised back to life after three days. All of that is wonderful… unless what Jesus accomplished has not been applied to your own life.
If you, today, have not believed in Jesus as the final and only payment for your sins, will you trust the Passover Lamb of God for yourself? If you have, you know the joy and peace that every believer has. If you have not, you face a coming judgment that you don’t need to face. Jesus took your punishment. Will you believe Him today?
John D. Hannah, “Exodus” in Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, 125-29.
George Bush, Notes on Exodus, Minneapolis: James & Klock, reprint 1976, 130-47.
“What was the meaning and purpose of the ten plagues of Egypt?” as viewed at https://printer.gotquestions.net/GeneratePF?articleId=2103 on 4/16/22.