Jan 22, 2014, 9:29 AM
“He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)
“.... now he (Jesus) has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself ..... so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:26, 28)
On the eve of their departure from Egypt after 430 years of slavery, God instructed Moses to get each family of the Israelites on stand-by as they slaughtered a lamb without defect. They were to roast the meat over fire, eat it in haste, with herbs and bread without yeast. There should be no leftovers. They should then smear the blood of the animal slaughtered on the sides and tops of the doorposts of their houses. They were to eat this meal standing, their cloak tucked into their belts, sandals on their feet and their staff in their hands – all in a state of readiness to leave Egypt. He added; “It is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exodus 12:11) “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.” (Exodus 11:13)
That night God vented his anger on Egypt and struck all its firstborns dead - both humans and animals. He spared all those, mainly Israelites, who had complied by smearing the blood. Throughout that night into morning, you could hear nothing but wailing everywhere as the Egyptians mourned their loss. The blood of the lamb had become a shield of protection for the Children of Israel. The angel of death had passed over the homes of only those that had blood on their doorposts and they were saved. Until then, Moses had pleaded in vain with Pharaoh for the release of the people of God but he had proved stubborn. He immediately summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them: “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 bless me also.” (Exodus 12:31-32)
At the height of it all, God had instructed Moses to tell the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgement.” (Exodus 6:6) Actually, God was confirming what he had told Moses earlier about the protection of the blood. Had God kept his word? Where the Israelites not freed? So it will be with all those who recognise the blood spilled by Jesus 2000 years ago at Calvary that they may be offered protection all around.
God had instituted the Passover as a feast to remember the liberation of his people over Egypt, and the defeat over disobedience to the instruction God had given. God established without a shadow of doubt that he is Lord over all. No other god was a match. He wanted this event to be commemorated as an annual feast in the calendar of the Israelites. “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.” (Exodus 12:14)
This practice continued until our Lord Jesus offered himself as the Passover Lamb on that fateful day and to the dot. As the Passover lamb was ceremonially being slain in the temple precincts, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world was being ‘slaughtered’ on the cross as a sacrifice for the freedom of humanity thus crushing the power of Satan. Centuries ago Jesus became our Passover Lamb. He has set us free from the slavery of sin that we may come boldly to the throne of grace and receive mercy. (Hebrews 4:16) There is now no need for any other sacrifice.
As we reflect on the finished work of Jesus this week at the cross for humanity, let us recall that this ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God was necessary for our liberation. Until Jesus offered his life on the cross, sin was only atoned for; meaning that, sins were only covered; whereas the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins. It has washed away our sins once and for all, putting an end to the sacrifice of bulls and goats that God himself had instituted.
Our redemption is not cheap. God has not redeemed us from the curse with the blood of animals. No! “For you know that is 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 our forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The blood of Jesus was shed for the forgiveness of sins. His blood is not like the blood of Abel that Cain his brother had shed. His blood speaks of much greater and mightier things. It was intended to – “cleanse our consciences from the acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” (Hebrews 9:14)
God has figured it all out so that we may benefit from Jesus’ finished work through his blood. The time to access it is now!