Passover is a significant event recorded in the book of Exodus. In a book filled with jaw-dropping miracles from a burning bush to the parting of the Red Sea, the Passover sticks out as a testimony of God’s Soverignty over Egypt and God’s grace to Israel. Throughout the plagues of Egypt, God is directly attacking the false gods of Egypt and proving himself greater. For example, the Egyptians worshiped a god called Heqt, a frog like god of life. As Yahweh, the God of Israel, sends thousands and thousands of frogs on the land, God proves himself greater. The false gods of Egypt are subjected to humiliation as Yahweh mocks them in the plagues.
In the 10th and final plague, the death of the firstborn, Yahweh shows the world that the self-proclaimed god, Pharaoh, cannot withstand the sovereign power of Yahweh. God humiliates and mocks Pharaoh’s most important god, himself. The God of Israel decides to kill the first born of all of Egypt as judgement, including Pharaoh’s son. The idolatrous and wicked Egyptians are clearly deserving of God’s wrath in this final plague, however they are not the only ones guilty. God’s people, the Israelites, whom God is breaking free from the hand of Egypt, are just as guilty of idolatry as the Egyptians.
The Bible makes it clear that before Yahweh liberates Israel, much of Israel resorted to worshiping the gods of Egypt. Joshua tells Israel “Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the river and in Egypt, and serve the Lord” (Jsh 23:14). Ezekiel also records the idolatry of the nation in Egypt. God says, “Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt.” (Ezk 20:7) In fact the most vulgar imagery of the Bible in Ezekiel 23 describes Israel as a whore who returns to the gods of Egypt.
Israel is clearly just as guilty as Egypt, yet Yahweh makes a distinction between the two and decides to save the firstborn of Israel in the Passover. By taking the blood of an unblemished lamb and painting it on their door posts, the Lord would graciously passover the houses of Israel. By God’s grace, the firstborn of Israel was spared because of the blood of a unblemished lamb. In the same way, you and I, idolaters deserving of God’s wrath, are spared by God’s grace because of the blood of the unblemished lamb, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7). He substitutes himself in our place and absorbs God’s righteous wrath, and because of the blood of Christ we are spared. Now, those who have faith in Christ will be passed over at the coming judgement, because Christ has absorbed their punishment. The passover event in Exodus foreshadows a future reality in Christ. Passover points to Jesus who is the final passover lamb who covers our sins past, present, and future. By God’s incredible grace we are saved.
Many centuries after the Exodus, in the celebration and rememberance of passover, a young Jewish Rabbi, on the verge of his crucifixion, picked up the cup and told his follower, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28)