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Moses and the lamb who was slain

Back to all sermons Jesus in the Old Testament 2017

Date: December 3, 2017

Speaker: Eric Stillman

Series: Jesus in the Old Testament 2017

Scripture: Exodus 12:1–12:36

This morning, I am continuing to preach through a series I’m calling “Jesus in the Old Testament,” looking at many of the stories and people of the Old Testament and how they point us to Jesus. Even though Jesus did not technically enter the world in human form until his birth on Christmas morning over 2000 years ago, the whole Old Testament points to Jesus’ coming, telling the story of the redemption God is bringing into a broken, fallen world that culminates in the giving of His Son Jesus for the sins of the world. 


The first week I preached about Adam and the promise that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. In the second week, I talked about Abraham and the promise that through his descendants the whole world would be blessed. The third week we looked at Isaac and the almost-sacrifice on Mt. Moriah, and last week was Jacob and the stairway to heaven. 


Today we’re in Exodus. After Joseph rescues his family and brings them to Egypt, they live in peace among the people of Egypt. But eventually a new Pharaoh comes to power, and the people of God become slaves in Egypt. 


Exodus 2:23 - During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.


The Israelites cry out to God, and God brings them salvation, using a man named Moses to do it. Moses and his brother Aaron are sent to Pharaoh to tell him to let God’s people go. After nine plagues, Pharaoh has still hardened his heart. But then comes the tenth plague, which we will look at this morning and see how it points us to the coming Messiah, Jesus:


Exodus 12:1-36 - The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,  2 "This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.  3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.  4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.  5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.  6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.  7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.  8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.  9 Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire-- head, legs and inner parts.  10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.  11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.  12 "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-- both men and animals-- and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.  13 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.  14 "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD-- a lasting ordinance.  15 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 through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.  16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat-- that is all you may do.  17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened 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.  18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.  19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.  20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread."  21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.  22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning.  23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.  24 "Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.  25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony.  26 And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?'  27 then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'" Then the people bowed down and worshiped.  28 The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.  29 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 the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.  30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.  31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested.  Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me."  33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. "For otherwise," they said, "we will all die!"  34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.  35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.  36 The LORD had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.


God tells the Israelites to take a lamb without defect, kill it, put its blood on the lintels and doorframes, and that by doing this its blood would save them from death so that they might be freed from slavery to go and worship God. The lamb’s blood saved them from slavery, rescued them from death. And to commemorate, the people of God were to eat the Passover meal every year, to remember that they have been set free by God, to look on the lamb and remember that this lamb died instead of me, so that I could go free.


God also tells them to commemorate this salvation with a meal, the Passover meal of bread, wine, and lamb. Typically, a presider would explain the Passover ritual, telling through the elements of bread and wine the story of how God rescued their forefathers from slavery in Egypt. This is the bread of affliction, which our forefathers ate in the wilderness. The cup represents the deliverance that God has brought to His people. 


And so the Israelites celebrate Passover every year, remembering the great salvation that God brought. And thousands of years later, Jesus, during his last days, celebrates keeps the tradition by celebrating it with his disciples:


Matthew 26:17-30 - On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"  18 He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.'"  19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.  20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.  21 And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."  22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"  23 Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me.  24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."  25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."  26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."  27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."  30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.


Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples, but Jesus changes the story to make it about himself. Who does that? Imagine taking the story of the 4th of July, the story of our country’s independence, and saying that it is really about you? That is the closest parallel to what Jesus is doing here. Jesus says that the bread and wine are about him – his body, and his blood. He will suffer so that they might go free. He is inaugurating an even greater redemption through his death. He is saying that there is a greater Exodus about to happen, to which that first Exodus pointed. Not to a nation, but to sin and death itself. He retells the story to make it about a greater Exodus. He will die to rescue them from slavery to sin and to enter into a new covenant with them.


But there is something strange about this meal. The bread is there, the wine is there, but where is the main course? Where is the lamb that they can point to and say “this lamb died so that we could go free?” Where is the Lamb???


He’s standing right there.  Jesus is the Lamb who will be slain so that the world might go free.


John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  


1 Corinthians 5:7 - Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast-- as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed


1 Peter 1:18-19 - For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,  19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.


And this new covenant he speaks of?


Matthew 26:26-29 - While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."  27 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.  28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  29 I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."


Jeremiah 31:31-33 - "The time is coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.  32 It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.  33 "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.


Hebrews 9:13-15 - The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean.  14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!  15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance-- now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.


Jesus, in his death, has brought about a greater salvation for the whole world.  The great Exodus, the great Passover, is only a shadow of the greater exodus and salvation won by Jesus on the cross.


Luke 9:28-31   About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.  29 As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning.  30 Two men, Moses and Elijah31 appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.


Let me share three implications of Christ’s Passover: 


  1. You are enslaved and in need of someone to rescue you. Or, you’ve been set free from slavery. You are not just a good person who needs God, or an ignorant person in need of enlightenment. You are in slave to sin and in need of being set free.


John 8:31-36 - To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."  33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"  34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.


How are you a slave? Whatever is most important to you enslaves you. You are a slave to fear, to anxiety. You can not lose it, or you will lose yourself. Your kids. Your image. Your job. You must serve it and please it so as to not lose it. But God sets you free from all of that, so that you might know that no matter what happens, you will be okay.


Romans 8:15-16 - For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."  16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children.


  1. Because of our sin, justice must be met by either your death or the Lamb 


The angel of death was going to hit every house. The only way to live was for a lamb to die in the place of the firstborn. The only way to escape death was through a perfect Lamb dying in your place. When they looked at the Lamb at Passover, they were reminded that this lamb died for them. When we look at the bread and the cup, we are reminded that Jesus, the Lamb of God, died for us. 


John 3:16-18 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.


John 8:24  - I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."


While we are set free from the penalty of sin, we need to continue to be set free from the power of sin in our lives. 


  1. More important than salvation from earthly things is salvation from sin


The OT promises were all about tangible things – land, descendants, physical freedom. And often when we pray, it’s about tangible things – healing, jobs, finances, relationships.


But Jesus comes to proclaim that there is something greater, something more critical than these tangible things. There is a freedom and healing and salvation that is more important. And I think that is worthy of reflection. Remember the story of Jesus healing the paralytic, and how Jesus showed that freedom from sin was more important than even physical healing:


Mark 2:1-12 - A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home.  2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them.  3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them.  4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.  5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."  6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves,  7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"  8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things?  9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'?  10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralytic,  11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home."  12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"


Consider what God wants to do:


Physical healing – We pray for healing, and that is right. But more important than physical healing is obtaining the peace to trust Him in any situation, to trust that He uses all of it for good.


A job, finances, money – More important than that is that we would be freed from the fear and greed that surrounds our relationship with money so that we might trust God to provide and be generous


That all would go well – More importantly, that we would trust Him and be freed from fear


God’s goal for you is sanctification, that you would be like Jesus, that you would be freed from sin. That is more important than any physical deliverance. The Passover and Exodus point to the greater salvation that Jesus brings from sin and death.