a gentile remembers Passover

I don’t think I would have enjoyed being a slave.  Duh.  Who would?  Not the girls snatched, duped or forced into the sex trades today, not the kidnapped Africans Europeans brought to America a 150 years ago to work as household slaves and field hands, and not Abraham’s descendants in Egypt.
For the people, it had started out well.  Abraham’s great grandson had risen from a slave to Pharaoh’s vice president in Egypt.  When famine brought Canaan and much of the region to its knees, Jacob’s starving sons sought food in Egypt.  Long story short, the whole family was reunited in Egypt, given land and a place of honor.

The Israelites had a lot of babies and subsequent pharaohs feared the mushrooming Israelite population would one day make them a military threat.  So they made their invited guests slaves. 

After 400 years of that, God tapped a man of Jewish blood who had been raised in the palace, to be prophet-leader of His suffering people.  It could have been so simple.  Seeking an audience with the pharaoh, Moses demanded their freedom.  No way.

Offended by the negativity God began flinging plagues one right after the other at the Egyptians.  Let my people go, or else.  Let them go.  Let them go!  At times, the pharaoh would capitulate, only to go back on his word.  

After nine plagues the final showdown was at hand.  God was going to gain glory, free his people, bend an unbendable king.  This is your last chance: release your slaves or I will kill every firstborn son in every household.  Be he young or old, slave or prince, he will die at My hand.

Driving home to the pharaoh the point that He makes distinctions between His people and those who oppress them (Exodus 11:7), God said no Jewish children would die that night.  But it wasn’t automatic.  God instructed the Jewish people to kill a lamb, smear its blood around their doorframes, and stay inside the house.  Every time He saw a house with blood, He would pass over it and no one there would die.

Which is exactly what happened.  During the night this most sophisticated north African culture became a screaming horror with a death in every household.  Young men in their prime, the elder sons who would carry the family name, defend the family’s honor, receive the largest inheritance, died.  All of them.  Only Egyptians.  The Israelites were saved by the blood.

This, the oldest–and most important of the Jewish holidays, Passover started this past Monday evening.  Just one day, then followed by the seven day Feast of Unleavened bread.  In Passover God revealed from generation to generation, that it is blood that frees from death.  

Tomorrow is Good Friday.  Commemorating the once-for-all Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) who on a cross, freed us from the judgment of God by His blood just like Yahweh did for the Jews 3500 years ago.  

Randy (a man from our congregation with cancer) spoke with me after worship Sunday, though obviously weakening.  Yesterday I visited him at home and his words were much fewer.  A few hours ago he died.  Not even 60 yet.  Left two young girls at home and a grieving wife.  That’s the tragedy.  Then there’s this victory: by the blood of the Passover Lamb, he has entered into his eternal home, into the glorious presence of the Lord bearing not one spot or wrinkle.  Not because he was the best man possible, but because Jesus was the best substitute possible for Randy’s sin.  Glory to God!  Shalom!

Author: Keith Rohrer

Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Gospel-lover, churchplanter, pastor, woodworker, biker.

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