'The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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 12:13(NASB)
For 400 years Israel had been enslaved in Egypt, but at the right time, God sent a deliverer to bring His chosen people out of bondage. Moses was sent, with his brother Aaron, to demand that Pharoah let God's people go, but even a succession of nine terrible plagues was insufficient to cause him to release the Israelites and time and again, Pharoah hardened his heart against the Lord.
Finally, the day came when God instructed Moses to warn Pharoah that the Lord would inflict one final devastating blow on Egypt if he failed to obey the Lord's command to let God's people go. So Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the hand-mill, and all the firstborn of the animals.'" He warned that there would be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.
With each successive plague, Pharoah had hardened his heart and refused to obey the Word of the Lord until... when confronted with this final challenge, his heart had become so desensitised to God's Word that Pharoah ordered Moses to get out of his sight and never to return again. Little did Pharoah realise that his stubborn resistance to the Lord would not only result in the death of his own, firstborn son, but he and his army would soon be utterly destroyed.
Once the stage had been set for the most devastating plague to strike Egypt, the Lord instituted the Passover, when the angel of death would pass over the land of Egypt and strike all their firstborn - dead. The Lord had prepared a way for the firstborn of all who believe in Him to be saved from the icy grip of the angel of death. God established a festival called the Passover so that those who believed God's Word would be redeemed from Egyptian slavery. The angel of death would not come near the firstborn of those who believed but would 'Pass-Over' them. In place of the life of their firstborn sons, a lamb would be selected and slain in their place, and the shed blood of the innocent animal was to be smeared on the lintels of the doorposts on their home as a sign of their faith in God. The angel of death would not enter that home but would Pass-Over.
God gave detailed instructions on how to select, slaughter, and prepare the lambs for the Passover meal. The people also received instructions on how they were to eat it and what garments they were to wear as they partook of the Passover meal. He also gave instructions on what they needed to do after they had finished this important meal. The Lord explained to His people, "The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; 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."
Little did the people realise that this Passover was to be the first of many. It was to be an illustration of the great and final Passover that would be celebrated centuries later, when the Lamb of God would come to earth and shed His lifeblood as God's perfect, human Passover sacrifice. Jesus is the one to Whom every Passover lamb points - for just as these Passover lambs were slain their firstborn sons, so Jesus came to die in the place of sinful man. He was sent to redeem His people from their slavery to sin so that by faith in Him, they would LIVE.
The shed blood of the little lambs was to become a permanent reminder to the people of Israel that the Lord was their Lord and Saviour - their God and Redeemer. It was to remind them that He alone could redeem them from the slave market of sin. He alone could rescue His people from Satan, sin, death, and hell. The Passover was to become the first of a series of feast days that were to be given to Israel as a sign that God would send a Saviour from among His chosen nation.
Abraham was told that the Lord would provide HIMSELF a Lamb and by God's grace, Israel took part in that first Passover meal four hundred years later, in preparation for its final fulfilment on God's final and perfect Passover - at Calvary's Cross. We know that JESUS was to be the perfect Passover Lamb. And just as Israel were to partake of the flesh of the slain lambs, so we are to partake of HIM. Christ is our Passover and we are to eat of Him, just as the Israelites ate the flesh of the Passover lamb on their final night of slavery in Egypt. Jesus is our spiritual food and we who partake of His body and blood by faith, will LIVE.
Israel's Passover lamb was to be the visual representation of the true Passover Lamb. It was to be a picture of the perfect Passover Lamb Who would come to earth as man's Kinsman-Redeemer to take away the sin of the world and become the sacrifice for our sin. Paul pointed us to JESUS as our Passover when he wrote: "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
Just as the blood on the doorposts of the Israelites in Egypt was a physical sign of their faith in God's Word, so a heart that has been sprinkled with the shed blood of Christ by faith in His sacrificial death on the Cross, is the spiritual sign that we have passed from death to life - from slavery to the freedom that is in Christ Jesus.
Heavenly Father, what a terrifying time this must have been for the Israelites and Egyptians alike, as the first Passover took place and the Angel of Death either killed the first-born son of a family, or passed over if the house inhabitants had put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. What a wonderful picture of the fact we are not saved by our nationality, wealth, or accomplishments, but by the blood of the Lamb of God. May many more people, Jew and Gentile alike, believe on Jesus, His death, and Resurrection, and have their sins forgiven by His redeeming blood. In Jesus' name, AMEN.