February 4: Passover!
February 4, 2016
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
by Josh Moody Today’s Bible Reading: Exodus 10-12; Psalm 27; Matthew 12:1-21; Acts 17:1-15 Exodus 10-12: The Passover in Exodus 12 is the greatest story in the entire Bible, except one which is the fulfillment of this story! So Pharaoh once again is up to his old tricks: first yes (10:8, 24), then no (10:10, 28). His heart is hardened (10:1, 20, 27; 11:10), not even able to listen to the advice of his ministers (“servants”) who are telling him to let the people go (10:7) because Egypt is already ruined. Still he holds on. Why? We are given no reason other than the “hardness of his heart.” The “heart” in the Bible is the seat, not just of the feeling, but also of the thinking and the willing. It is the center of a person’s personality. This then means that Pharaoh, under God’s sovereignty and direction, has fundamentally decided that he will not be moved, come what may. I remember one person telling me of a religious leader refusing to allow a gospel preacher to be hired in a church saying “over my dead body.” The gospel minister was hired, and the man’s “prophecy” came true as God brought it about “over his dead body.” We must be careful what we “vow” in our hearts. Commit your way to the Lord, and he will make straight your paths. Keep a soft heart before God, willing to do what his Word says, not bound by traditionalism or the latest fad or your personal preferences. Let not your conscience be captive to anything other than God’s Word. More plagues (Ex. 10), then finally the great plague (Ex. 11) which is the great story: the Passover (Ex. 12). God institutes this as a perpetual remembrance for God’s people (12:14-28). Its meaning is clear. Israel is equally sinful as Egypt. If they were any more righteous, they would not need the blood of the lamb to protect them. They too deserve to die, but symbolically a death has taken place as a substitution for their own death. When John the Baptist sees Jesus and says, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), all this story (the great story fulfilled) is in mind and collides into a majestic encounter with Jesus the Christ. He is the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). The only reason why these Old Testament lambs “work” is because they point to the Real and True Lamb. How could the blood of a little lamb atone for the sins of a human being (Heb. 10:4)? It makes no sense. But every sacrifice in the Old Testament, a thinking Jew would have realized, is pointing to some “forever” fulfillment yet to come. In a similar way that the New Testament Lord’s Table points back to the real, true (once for all, Heb. 10:10-14) sacrifice of Christ’s death on the cross, so the sacrifices of the Old Testament point forward. Hide yourself in the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Plead his blood, his death, his righteous sacrifice for your sins, that when death and hell threaten, you may escape the doom and go out to worship God in freedom, joy, and confidence in a journey towards the Promised Land. To receive God Centered Bible devotionals directly in your inbox, sign up here.]]>
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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