Dec 05

Advent: Ransom Captive Israel

Todd Pruitt |Series: Advent |Exodus 12:1-14

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha’olam

Those are Hebrew words spoken at the beginning of the Passover Seder. It is a prayer of thanks to God for His deliverance of the people of Israel from bondage in Egypt: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe.”  To this day, observant Jews all over the world commemorate their deliverance out of Egypt by observing the Feast of Passover as it was prescribed in Exodus 12. Tragically, as they observe the Passover, so many of the Jewish people remain unaware or hostile to the One to whom the entire feast points them. Indeed, the Passover, as it originally occurred in Egypt and the Feast which God commanded his people to observe, are filled with signs pointing to the Person and work of Jesus Christ as our sin-bearing Substitute.

The events described in Exodus 12 occur after God had sent nine plagues to chastise Egypt for her wickedness in defying God’s command to release the Hebrew people. Through such torments as foul water, locust swarms, and frightening darkness God exercised his just wrath on those who had enslaved his people. The Hebrews observed these plagues from a safe distance. And yet at the announcement of the worst of the plagues – the death of the first born sons – Israel would not be excused. Even though Israel was God specially chosen people they too were sinners and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Just like all sinners, the Hebrew people needed a substitute.

Mankind is largely ignorant of the burden that God’s perfect justice presents in light of the wickedness of sin. If God were neither holy nor just he could merely wave away sin as nothing more than an annoyance. He could look the other way at genocide, sexual depravity, hatred, and careless indifference. But where would that leave us? What hope is there if God is not holy enough to be bothered by sin and not just enough to do anything about it? The Passover, the final plague which led to the release of the Hebrew people from captivity, highlighted the wickedness of sin as well as the holy justice of God.

But more than that, the Passover proved that God is stunningly merciful and would therefore provide what he demanded. God would supply the lamb. The Lord would give what his perfect justice required. As he covered the man and woman through the sacrifice of a substitute (Genesis 3:21), as he provided a lamb for a believing father and son (Genesis 22:8), as he provided lambs for the households of his enslaved people (Exodus 12), so too would be provide the ultimate Lamb whose shed blood would satisfy the demands of justice for every believing sinner in every generation throughout time (John 1:29). Just as God ransomed captive Israel, he has ransomed all of his people from their sin by bearing upon himself the weight of his own judgment.

More From This Series