Exodus 12:1-13

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: 2This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. 3Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. 4If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. 


7They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs.10You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 


11This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  Exodus 12:1-13


Most of us can’t remember the first time that we read these verses nor can we remember the last time.  We don’t spend much time reading from Exodus.  We know the story, but we seldom revisit it. 


As Christians, we notice the sacrifice of an unblemished lamb and the blood on the doorposts.  We immediately connect those images to Jesus, sacrificed for us, blood shed for us.  The earliest Christians made the same connection.  It brought meaning to the death of Jesus.  It tied the “way it was” to the new way it would be.  It became the story that made their story make sense.  It remains all of those things for us.


But this morning I’m noticing other parts of the story.  I’m noticing how this is a corporate, communal, story.  It was a story for the entire congregation of Israel, about “us and God” rather than “me and God.”  It was also a story enacted in people’s homes rather than a common building.  Around their tables with family and friends.


And it is a story of preparation as much as protection.  It wasn’t just about escaping the angel of death but about preparing for the wilderness that none of the people realized would be their future.  Dreams of a quick trip to a land of milk and honey would fall away to the reality of a long, slow, painful, walk of being tried, tested, and shaped by the same God who was their protector and liberator.


It is a story, in other words, that flies in the face of the temptation of modern Christians to trade authentic Christianity for a “individualistic fast food franchised God wants you to be wealthy and successful helpful hints to an easy life” hobby.  It is a story we need to remember.


Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, you are the Lamb of God.  You are the one who gave himself for us.  You are our Savior.  May we be ever ready to follow you, even into the wilderness of our sin, our anxieties, our fears.  May we be ever ready to surrender to obedience.  And to seek you as you come to us through the people with whom we share our lives.  In Jesus’ name.   Amen.


One Response to “Exodus 12:1-13”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    This reminds me of this verse from Psalm 119:105.
    “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

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