Thought Starter: If you have 90 seconds to explain the cross to a friend, what do you say?
Recap: Last time we looked at the first nine plagues on Egypt. These were judgements that revealed the LORD as Saviour of His people and Judge of His enemies. Each plague seemed to get more and more dangerous until we come to the final plague – the plague on the firstborn.
Read Exodus 11:1-10:
What will happen because of this final plague?
It will achieve the liberation of the people
The plundering of the Egyptians
The death of the Egyptian firstborns
But why focus on the firstborn sons?…
Read Exodus 4:22-23:
Any idea of the significance of the firstborn son in the bible / bible times? What does this mean about Israel?
The one to carry on the family name and work.
Therefore Israel is God’s beloved son and inheritor, to carry His name and work to the nations.
So then, why does this final plague focus on the firstborn sons?
Because Israel is God’s firstborn son.
This will be a battle of the firstborn.
As we turn to Exodus 12, this is where the LORD has been heading for some time…
Read Exodus 12:1-30
According to v2, Passover reset the calendar for the Israelites. Why do you think this was?
Here’s the birth of the nation. Here’s the beginning of their liberation and it comes through the judgement of the plague, via the salvation of the lamb to the glory of the LORD. They wanted to begin each year resetting their vision for who they were as a people – they were Passover people.
Obviously the Israelites needed saving from their cruel slave-masters. But in verse 12 it mentions two surprising things that the Israelites need saving from. What are they? Why do you think they are mentioned?
The gods of Egypt
— this is a spiritual battle, it’s not just about workers’ rights!!
The LORD Himself
— what we really need saving from is God Himself!!
In the other plagues, Moses’ staff unleashed the nasties (the gnats, flies, locusts etc). In this plague Moses is sent packing. Who is executing this judgement?
V12, 23, 27, 29 – The LORD Himself
What is this teaching us about judgement in general?
On the last day I need to be saved from the LORD’s wrath.
What must a household do to ensure judgement passes over them? (Be specific) For each detail try to think what the significance might be.
v3: One lamb per household (depending on size and wealth, v4)
— the firstborn stands for the household and the lamb stands for the son
v5: Year old males, no defect
— like for like – precious male for precious male.
v6: Take care of lamb first
— part of household
v6: All community slaughters at twilight
— corporate act, all together. As you enter darkness, death. At darkest midnight the LORD comes (v29).
v7: Blood on the door-frames
— the life is in the blood (Lev 17:11). The sign of substitutionary sacrifice goes on the outside of the house, for the LORD to see!
v8-11: Eat the lamb, in haste.
— The lamb will sustain you as you flee
v22: Daub blood using hyssop and don’t go outside
— cf Psalm 51:7, there’s only safety under the blood.
Our passage ends with the words “there was not a house without someone dead.” That’s true of every house, not just the Egyptian houses – why?
Because either a firstborn son dies or a lamb dies. If not the lamb then the son. But if the lamb, then not the son.
How would you explain this phrase: “The lamb is a substitutionary sacrifice”?
The lamb dies in place of the firstborn son.
In 1 Corinthians 5:7 Paul says to Christians, “Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” What does he mean? Think of all the details we’ve just discussed.
The true Firstborn Son, the true Israel, the true Lamb without defect, the true Substitutionary Sacrifice, slaughtered at Passover and His blood provides shelter for all who look to Him.
Now try to explain the cross again in 90 seconds – this time using Passover.
Judgement is coming to the whole world. But there’s a way that judgement can pass over you. Jesus died at Passover because He is our Passover Lamb sacrificed in our place. Those who trust in Jesus are sheltering under His blood and they will be saved on the final day of wrath.
In verses 14-20 we learn about how the Israelites were to remember Passover. Why do you think so much emphasis is given to remembering this act?
Because they’d forget! And this is the event that defines them as a people.
How are the Israelites to commemorate the Passover night? And how are they to commemorate the week after?
v14 – Passover is a festival to the LORD. Take it off. Prepare food. (v27 – explain it to your kids)
v17 – Feast of Unleavened Bread is a purge of yeast from Israelite houses.
Why all this aversion to yeast? Hint: Look at v39
Their escape was in haste. If you’ve got yeast you want to wait for your bread to rise. You want to have a fancy feast in Egypt rather than to flee Egypt.
What does yeast represent in the Christian life? Hint: Look at 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Yeast represents all the things that keep us in Egypt. But Christ has been sacrificed, not so that we can live it up in Egypt. He has been sacrificed so that we flee the darkness of our old lives and live wholly consecrated to Him.
Christians don’t celebrate Passover. What do we do to remember our own Exodus? How does tonight’s study inform how we celebrate it?
“Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) We celebrate the Lord’s Supper – but just like with Passover, it’s communal, it’s accompanied by words of explanation (v27), it celebrates the death of the lamb and it strengthens us to flee the old life.