PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Exodus 12; The Passover – Behold The Lamb!

http://www.ephraimbible.org/Sermons/20101212_exodus_12.mp3

12/12 Exodus 12 Behold The Lamb!

Introduction

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” These are the words John used to introduce the Messiah when he made himself known to the world. As we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child, it is appropriate that we reflect on why it was that he was born. The prime reason for the incarnation – infinite God became mortal man – was to be our sin-bearing substitute.

Last time we looked at the institution of the Passover celebration – that it was a forward-looking feast, to be celebrated throughout all generations as a means of passing on the memory of God’s might acts of deliverance and judgment. All future generations were to personally participate in the feast and experience God’s presence for themselves; I am to remember the great things the LORD did for me; how he brought me out of slavery and into his service.

Today I want to look at the fullness and fulfillment of the passover celebration. As a forward-looking feast, what does it look forward to? Last time we hinted at the answer, when we saw that the final celebration of passover recorded in detail in the bible was the passover that Jesus earnestly desired to eat with his disciples. We saw that Jesus transformed this feast by revealing that it was all about him. “Take, eat; this is my body. …Drink of it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28).

Paul said:

1 Corinthians 5:7 … For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Every detail, every part of the passover lamb points to Jesus. The sharing of the lamb, the specifications of the lamb, the inspection of the lamb, the slaughter and the application of the blood, the consumption of the lamb, the protection provided all point to Jesus, ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’, to ‘Christ our Passover lamb’ who has been sacrificed. Today I want to look at these seven aspects of the Passover celebration as pointers to Jesus.

 

The Sharing of the Lamb

First of all, the lamb was to be shared.

Exodus 12:3 …every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. 4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.

Josephus tells us that a lamb would typically feed about 14 people. Preparation was to be made to share this feast with the family first, and then neighbors were to be invited. Now when we are preparing for a Thanksgiving day meal, we usually look at how many mouths we will be feeding, and then we buy the right size turkey to feed everyone. The size of the gathering determines the size of the bird. Here, the lamb is the defining factor. The lamb was to define the number of people invited to the feast.

Jesus said:

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 6:35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. …37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. …54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

The lamb was to be shared – shared among family and neighbors. There was to be fellowship around the lamb. And there were to be no left-overs. We will talk more about this when we come to the consumption of the lamb.

 

The Specifications of the Lamb

The lamb selected to be the sacrifice was to be a male in the prime of life and without blemish.

Exodus 12:5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,

Jesus met all the requirements perfectly. He was in the prime of life, a male, and without blemish. People were coming to his cousin John confessing their sins and being baptized by him.

Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

John recognized that Jesus had no sin to confess. John confessed that he was not even worthy to take the sandals off Jesus’ feet.

The author of Hebrews says:

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who … offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

Paul says:

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Peter says;

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed … not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

The Apostle John says:

1 John 3:5 You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

Jesus was the perfect spotless Lamb of God.

The Inspection of the Lamb

To ensure that the lamb was without blemish, it was to be kept in the house for four days to be monitored and inspected.

Exodus 12:6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, …

Jesus was observed, examined, scrutinized throughout his life. At the beginning of his public ministry, he was tempted by Satan:

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came… 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’ 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

The last four days of Jesus’ life he was intensely scrutinized by the Scribes and Chief Priests and Elders, the Sadducees, Pharisees and Herodians. They purposely attempted to set him up, trip him up and catch him in a fault.

Luke 20:20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. …26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. … 39 Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” 40 For they no longer dared to ask him any question.

Those that most wanted to destroy his credibility were amazed and silenced by his spotless integrity. When they arrested him, they could not even bring one accusation that would stand up in court.

Mark 14:56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him,… 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.

When he was brought to trial, Pilate three times publicly attested to his innocence.

Luke 23:4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” …14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.” …22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.”

Even the thief who was crucified along side Jesus declared his blamelessness:

Luke 23:40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

The Centurion who oversaw the crucifixion declared his innocence.

Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”

God himself on two separate occasions attested to the blameless character of his Son.

Matthew 3:17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 17:5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God, was inspected thoroughly by God, by Satan, by his friends and by his fiercest enemies, and he perfectly passed the test.

The Slaughter of the Lamb

So the perfect lamb was to be killed. The whole point of the careful inspection was to ensure that the lamb was adequately qualified to serve as a substitutionary sacrifice.

Exodus 12:6…when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.

Death of the victim was required. It was not enough that the lamb was perfect; it had to be killed.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death,…

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God‘s righteous judgment will be revealed.

God is just. He is holy and righteous. Sin must be punished. The wages of sin is death. But God is merciful. He has provided a substitute.

Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

1 Corinthians 5:7 … For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, …

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,…

The Application of the Blood of the Lamb

The wages of sin is death. The lamb was killed and righteous blood was shed, but that was not enough. The blood must be applied.

Exodus 12:7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

Exodus 12:22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin…

Why? Why put blood on your door frame? That sounds messy and it would be hard to clean up. Your door is your interface with the outside world. We decorate our doors with thing like ‘welcome’ or ‘bless this house’ or ‘no soliciting’; ‘insured by Smith & Wesson’ or ‘beware of cat’. We may hang our family name over the door to display our identity. What we put on our door says something about the person who lives there. Splattering blood on the door frame was not something Moses or Aaron or the Israelites came up with. ‘Honey, I was just coming home from the grocery store and noticed that Mr. Schwartskopf killed a lamb and smeared blood all over their door. It just looks so… cozy and inviting. Do you think we could afford to do that to our door too?’ No, God instructed the Israelites to do this. God had threatened every firstborn son with death, and promised protection if they would put the blood of a perfect lamb on their door. This was an act of obedience, an outward expression of trust in the word of God. This was an act of faith – believing they were in danger; believing that God has the right to execute judgment on sinners; believing there was a way to be protected from the coming danger. This is taking God at his word.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. …18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Acts 13:38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything 39 from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.

John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

Friend, have you obeyed Jesus? Have you received him? Have you believed God’s word about salvation? Is the precious blood of Jesus splashed over your life? Are your sins covered by the blood of the Lamb? All you need do is acknowledge ‘yes, I am a sinner deserving of God’s just judgment. I need Christ’s blood applied to my account’.

The Consumption of the Lamb

But this is not the end of the story. Once the blood is applied outside, there can be peace inside. The blood is applied for protection, but the lamb is brought inside for fellowship.

Exodus 12:8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.

Exodus 12:46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.

The lamb is to be properly prepared. Even the method of cooking is proscribed. The lamb is to be roasted with fire. The lamb is not to be watered down by boiling. It is not to be uncooked, but it is to go through the fire. Fire is a picture of God’s wrath against sin. Jesus, the Lamb of God, endured the fire of the wrath of his Father toward our sin. Many people want to water Jesus down and add their own ingredients and make him into a stew, but this is not God’s way. ‘Jesus is the main ingredient, but I’ve added my good works to the pot to make it taste better.’ You have diluted the Lamb and watered down the gospel. Many others will take part of Christ but not all of him. Many feel he is a good example to follow and a role model to aspire after, but when he claims to be the unique divine Son of God, equal with the Father, co-eternal with the Father, that is too much to swallow. Many feel that he was a great moral teacher but they become offended when he claims to be the only way to God. Many applaud when he takes the children on his knee, but cringe when he drives the moneychangers from the temple with a whip. Many appreciate his life and teachings, but would turn away in horror at his bloody crucifixion. Some would like him as a political leader but are not willing to admit that they are sinners in need of a substitute. Some would take him as a Savior who forgives but not as a King who commands. Some would honor him on one day but not allow him into their homes as Friend. We must have the whole Christ! Not a bone of him is to be broken. He is not to be dismembered and torn apart in a way that suits us! We are not at liberty to pick and choose which parts of Jesus are most palatable to us. Jesus must be kept intact. We must have all of him or none at all.

John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” … 60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? … 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

We do not get to define Jesus as we like. We come to him as he is or not at all. Peter understood that, although many things Jesus said were hard to swallow, there was no other place to turn for eternal life. We must feed on him, and all of him. There are to be no left-overs.

The Manner of Eating the Lamb

The manner of eating the lamb is specified:

Exodus 12:11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.

God had promised deliverance from slavery. We are to eat expectantly. Eat in faith. Believe that God will do what he said he would do. Be ready to go. Be ready to be set free from sin. There is a sense of urgency here.

The Protection Provided by the Blood of the Lamb

The purpose of the passover is protection:

Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

Exodus 12:22 …none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

God is providing a way for all who would hear his voice and obey him to be spared. All are sinners and all deserve to die. But God himself provides a substitute. The blood is a sign that those inside have believed what he said and acted in faith. The blood of the lamb shielded those who were under the blood from the hand of judgment. God looks on the blood and his justice is satisfied. A substitute has been slaughtered. There can be safety and peace and sweet fellowship within.

Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Psalm 57:1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

Colossians 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Conclusion:

Jesus Christ is our Passover sacrificed for us! Jesus is to be shared with those around us. Jesus meets all the requirements to be a sufficient substitute. Jesus was thoroughly inspected and passed the test perfectly. Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree. He took our place. Is the blood applied to you personally? Have you taken all of Christ? Are you enjoying the whole Jesus as he is in his glory? Are you enjoying the protection he provides? Are you enjoying sweet fellowship in him?

Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! (Jn.1:29). Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed (1Cor.5:7). You were ransomed… with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1Pet.1:18-19).

Revelation 5: 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, … 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” …12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~ www.ephraimbible.org

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December 12, 2010 - Posted by | Exodus, occasional, podcast | , , , , , , , , , ,

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