Without a doubt, this is one of the most important chapters in the Bible. It not only tells of the long-awaited release of the Israelites from Egypt (after 430 years of captivity), but it also sets the stage for the Bible’s great metaphor of salvation: the death of the Passover Lamb.
John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Paul called Him “Christ, our Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
The comparisons of the lamb called for in this chapter and the Lamb of God are striking:
The Israelites were to choose an unblemished male lamb in the prime of life. Jesus was a perfectly sinless man in the prime of life when He died on the cross.
The Israelites were to kill the lamb at twilight, shedding its blood and applying it to the wood door frames of their homes. Jesus was killed at about twilight, His blood wetting the wood of the cross.
Once applied by the Israelites, the lamb’s blood would be a sign to God to “pass over” their homes, sparing them from judgment and death. When the blood of Jesus is applied to a person’s life, their sins are covered, they are spared from judgment, and death can never touch them! No wonder the shout of heaven is, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain!” (Revelation 5:12)
The rest of the Passover meal was highly symbolic. The bitter herbs would be an annual reminder to Israel of the bitterness of their slavery in Egypt. The unleavened bread contained no yeast, a symbol of impurity and sin. Eating it would remind Israel that God expected them to live in a state of repentance. He expected them to be holy and free from the “leaven” of sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:7 again).
The actual tenth plague is recorded matter-of-factly in verses 29-32. The death was widespread and horrible. The mourning could be heard from every house, cries and prayers to false gods who could neither hear nor help. They had ignored and disregarded Jehovah God, and they had paid an awful price.
Pharaoh, whose own firstborn was among the dead, finally relented. Summoning Moses and Aaron, he ordered them to leave, this time with no compromises to offer: “Go…take everything and everyone and be gone!” The Israelites left hurriedly, taking the first few steps on a new journey of freedom. In verse 2, it is clear that God used this event to turn the page on a new era, a new beginning for the people of God.
Have you trusted Jesus, the Lamb of God, for salvation? Have you applied the blood He shed on the cross to your life? If not, why not? Today could be a new beginning for you, the first day of a new journey that will lead to heaven and never end…