The Lord's Supper (Exodus 11-12)
The Lord's Supper (Exodus 11-12)
He Alone is God
When the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt reached unbearable levels, the people cried out to God (Ex 2:23ff). God heard them, noticed their suffering, remembered His covenant, and came to their aid by sending Moses, who was to bring them out of Egypt. When Pharaoh refuses to let Israel go, God responds by sending a series of blows against him and the Egyptians with one clear goal in mind: to make absolutely certain that everyone would know that He alone is God (Ex 7:5).
Through the first nine plagues that he sends on Egypt, God teaches us a number of things about Himself. First, we see that He is almighty. He alone holds absolute authority over everything He has made, and He made everything (Jn 1:1). The plagues teach us that God is a jealous God. He is concerned for His Name and will not share His glory with another. He is righteous and just. God deals with the Egyptians’ sin in a perfectly just manner (Gn 18:25). The account of the plagues in Egypt also teach us that God is merciful. He is acting in response to the cries of His people.
The Final Plague
Up to this point, as far as outward evidences and appearances go, the plagues have been unsuccessful in achieving their purpose. Moses has seemingly failed. God, too, it seems has fallen through on His end of the deal. The Hebrew slaves are still slaves and freedom still appears illusive and distant. But God speaks now of a new “beginning,” which will be the result of a lamb and its blood (12:2ff). It’s remarkable that when Moses goes back to the elders of Israel and tells them to slay a lamb and put the blood on their doorposts, they do it! By faith they obeyed, having seen God prove the truthfulness of His Word with the other 9 plagues. Just as God had said, this devastating final plague was effective and Pharaoh orders the Israelites to leave (Ex 12:29-32).
Though God had already alluded to this final plague (Ex 4:23), He caused the previous nine plagues to happen first because He is patient toward sinners—even towards Pharaoh, and you! He desires the worst of sinners to repent and to turn from sin before final destruction comes.
Why the Passover? Why didn’t God just bring about the tenth plague and deliver Israel out of Egypt without the slaying of the lamb and the blood on the doorpost? The Israelites were not only being delivered from Pharaoh’s bondage, they were also to be redeemed for the Lord (Ex 6:6-8). The tenth plague would accomplish their deliverance, but the people’s relationship with the Lord was yet to be established. In for that to happen the Passover was absolutely essential. On the night of the Passover, their problem was no longer how to escape Pharaoh, but how to be safe before God, and there is only one way to solve the issue of acceptance before God—blood (Ex 12:13). As the writer of Hebrews says, “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hb 9:22).
The Passover celebration was given as a permanent ordinance (Ex 12:14, 17b, 24). Jesus makes clear that the Passover is all about Him (Mt 26:26). The true Passover Lamb that gives us safety before God is Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! It is by the blood of Jesus that we have been justified (Rm 5:9). We have redemption through His blood (Ep 1:7). We are sanctified through His blood (Hb 13:12). We were bought with His precious blood (1 Pe 1:19). His blood cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:7). When we take of the Lord’s Supper, we are both remembering and proclaiming the Lord’s death as our substitutionary sacrifice by His death until He comes again (1 Co 5:7, 11:26).
- What does this teach us about Christ’s title as the “Lamb of God”? Why is it necessary for blood to be spilled in order for sins to be forgiven? What does this truth teach us about both the mercy and the justice of God?
- What does this passage teach us about the significance of the Lord’s Supper? How should it affect the way that we take of the Supper?