The Lamb

By Pr Zeny Vidacak, September 11, 2051

In unprecedented age of political, ideological and spiritual polarisation the universal message of Passover and Lord's Supper is one of common human predicament which demands unified universal solution. We are all in the same boat as it were. The very epicenter of Jewish faith and Christian faith is in a death of a helpless victim, a lamb. Why? In fact, I will be asking three other questions in order to understand the meaing of it: 1. What is the story of a lamb, a firstborn child and judgment in Jewish culture? 2. What do we learn about God from this story? 3. Where is our full safety?

Here is the Bible text we are going to look at: Exodus 12:1-3, 5-7, 12.13

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household… 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 12 On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

1. What is the Story of a lamb, a firstborn child and judgmentin Jewish Culture?

The final plague of Egypt was death of all firstborn children.

“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down everyfirstborn…”

The destroyer at night was on the spree of destruction for all firstborns. Was there any way out of it? There was:

“The Lord will not permit the destroyer to to enter the house and strike you down.” (Ex. 12)

So what was the protection against the ‘destroyer’? A Lamb! How is that possible? God Himself explains this trough the story of a lamb.

“For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine.” (Numbers 8:17)

God makes a statement that all the firstborn of Israel are His. However, He adds something else:

“… every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.” (Ex. 13:13)

There was a redemption price on the head of a firstborn of every Jewish family. Their lives were in mortal danger unless they were redeemed. God was sending a clear message:

1. There is a debt over every family on the face of the earth.

2. Firstborns are liable and they are to die if they are not redeemed

3. The hopes of the families was in their firstborns.

In the story of a lamb we realise that:

A. There is a debt of sin owed by every human being

B. Everyone deserves judgment/destroyer.

How is debt paid? Either the one who offended you has to pay (you hurt them back…) or you pay by forgiving them.

Regardless of the choice you make a debt must be paid.

2. What Do We Learn About God in the Story of a Lamb, A Firstborn Child and Judgment?

God is guided by two principles when seeking debt payment:

1. Equality

2. Substitute

1. The Principle of Equality

“After you put the blood on your door, not one of you shall go out of your house until the morning.” (Ex. 12:22)

It's important to note that the destroyer was not just coming after Egyptians but after everyone. Even though Jews were oppressed this of itself did not qualify them to be spared of destroyer's wrath.

2. The Principle of Substitution

That night there was a dead firstborn or a dead lamb. Only a dead lamb meant that a firstborn was spared.
A lamb received what others deserved and it had to pay a debt so that a firstborn did not have to die. A lamb was a substitute.

The principle of equality plus the principle of substitute means that if you are not underneath the blood of a lamb and you face a judgment on your own ‘the destoyer’ will get you.

3. Where is Our Security?

On the evening of the Passover when Jesus met with His disciple Jesus presided over a Passover meal. Tradition demanded that those presiding over a meal to say: “This is the bread of our affliction. Our ancestors suffered in the wilderness so we could be free.” Jesus however said something else: "This is the bread of my affliction. This bread is my body."

John the Baptist said: “Look at the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”