Has COVID-19 gotten your attention yet? Dumb question. Of course it has.
The story of God and His people is full of what I would consider to be high points. Just think about all the fascinating accounts in the Bible. Even the most familiar stories still speak to us! And perhaps no event recorded in Scripture was as game-changing as Israel’s Exodus from Egypt. God pulled out all the stops! He turned the Nile River to blood. He darkened the sun so that the land was swallowed up in perpetual night. He sent an infestation of frogs. Gross. (Even if you’re a frog lover, smelly dead frogs are gross.)
Who knows? Maybe some Egyptians thought the frogs were tolerable. So God sent an infestation of gnats. I grew up below the gnat line in South Georgia, where long summers could feel like an infestation, but that’s nothing like what the Egyptians experienced. Breathe too deeply, suck in a gnat or two, or ten. Again, gross. Then flies. Where’s the hand sanitizer? Oh, that’s right – there wasn’t any. These plagues went on and on, and from bad to worse. In all, God sent ten debilitating, devastating, and deadly plagues.
I’ll bet I’m not the only one who’s been thinking, within the last few days, about Egypt’s plagues. Just a guess. But let’s move on. The last plague was the most horrific of all! God swore to kill the firstborn of every creature in Egypt, including the house of Pharaoh (start reading at Exodus 11:4, and just keep going). So awesome would be the judgment that even the firstborn of Israel would perish unless the Israelites obeyed the commands of God. To avert that impending judgment, God commanded every household of Israel to select a male lamb without blemish, kill it, and smear the blood on the doorposts of the house. Then God said (Exodus 12:13): “The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.”
We must remember that God’s wrath was not against Egypt alone for its sin and idolatry, but against Israel as well. Against the entire human race in fact. God is no respecter of persons when it comes to the judgment of sin. His judgment was going to wreak havoc not only on the Egyptians but also on the people of Israel – unless they figuratively covered themselves in blood by literally covering their doorposts with blood. Think about that for a moment, and just let it settle into your soul. Just like coronavirus, there was a deadly pandemic in the land. It was a spiritual pandemic, and it was universal in scope and magnitude. And there was only one solution. Only one way out. Only one!
What did the blood of the lambs accomplish? It turned away God’s wrath and appeased His anger against sin. It satisfied God’s perfect justice. The blood of the lambs caused God to pass over each house …
But only for a time. Here I go, ruining the story! My goal is not to ruin it, but to reveal it. The lambs’ blood satisfied on the night of the Passover, but each year the sacrifices of the lambs would have to be offered again. Every year, those horrific sounds of the slaughter of lambs for sacrifices would have to be heard, over and over again. For this reason, the nation of Israel always longed for an unblemished male lamb that would take away their sin once and for all!
Could it ever be?
Yes! When our Lord Jesus Christ arrived on the scene, He was announced as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin and turns away God’s wrath that is rightfully aimed at us (John 1:29). The Bible makes it crystal clear (First Corinthians 5:7): Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed! The Israelites lived because of the blood of the lambs that were slain. And, if you are in Christ, you live because of the blood of the Lamb of God. In the blood of Christ, we have everything that we lost in Adam. The shedding of our Savior’s blood was monumentally significant because it represents the perfect, sinless life of Christ poured out for us (Isaiah 53:12).
But if all that needed to happen was for Jesus to shed some blood, He could have pricked His finger and painted some blood on the cross, or let some fall to the ground, and all would have been well. But the one final offering of Christ’s precious blood would require both His life and His death. You see, friends, the Lord’s redeemed do not receive a blood transfusion from God. We receive a life transfusion: His death for my death, His life for my life! All of God’s just and righteous demands have been fully met and satisfied. Imagine that. O the blood!
I posted this on Facebook last evening, but I’ll repeat it here and now: Holy Week. The greatest hope for the world came out of the world’s darkest hour. It’s intriguing that, at the same time, we’re experiencing the pandemic’s “worst” week. Could it be that God wants us to know that our only real hope is out of this world?