1. What are some days we set aside to remember special events in our lives and the life of our nation? (Birthdays, Anniversaries, New Years Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Patriots Day/9-11, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. The list almost seems endless.)
2. What is the purpose of setting aside these days and what do we do on these days? (We set them aside to remember what happened on these various days. Some are joyous and some are solemn, but all call us to remember.)
In our Scripture text today, God commands His people to establish an observance to commemorate their liberation from Egyptian slavery. This was an observance they were to continue year after year. The Orthodox Jewish community still observes the Passover to this very day.
The last of the ten plagues God brought on Egypt was the most severe. It would bring the death of the first born male of both people and animals. After which Pharaoh would beg Moses and Aaron to take the Israelites away!
Prepared! Read Exodus 12:1-5
1. What message did God send His people by reordering their calendar according to their deliverance from Egypt? (This is a new beginning for them. God’s provision at Passover defined the identity of His people and illustrated His ways to all nations. God’s movement to deliver His people has unique centrality. It is the essential point upon which every other historical event balances. God’s salvation story with His people gives meaning to every experience and decision in our lives.)
2. What was to be the characteristics of the lamb that was chosen for the sacrifice? (Without blemish., one year old male sheep or goat. See Mal. 1:8)
3. It is not referred to in this passage, but what did the lamb here point to in the future? (The perfect Lamb of God that would be the sacrifice for the sin of the entire world. Jesus’ blood was worth enough not only to cover every person’s sin but to pay the complete price. See Rom. 3:25, Heb. 9:14.)
4. How does preparation for a tradition or event add to the significance of the tradition or event?
5. What preparations help you better see the significance of a practice like the Lord’s Supper?
Sacrificed! Read Exodus 12:6-7
1. What do you think was the purpose of bringing the lamb in to live with you for four days? (Perhaps to be sure there was no blemish and the family would grow close to the lamb. It is truly a sacrifice if it is one we come to care for as we look after it.)
2. Why was blood required rather than another type of sacrifice (grain, etc.)? (Slaughtering the best lamb required the people’s faith that God would do as He said. God began to teach His people the precept of blood as covering or payment for sin, rather than as a sacrificial offering of worship. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this truth.)
3. What was accomplished when God told His people to mark their doorposts and lintels with the blood, after all, didn’t God already know which houses belonged to His people? (In order for death to pass over, blood had to be specifically applied to their houses. This was another step of faith, and was very personal to every household.)
4. How does the sacrificial lamb point to Jesus and how is the blood applied to us today? (We accept by faith what Jesus did for us at the cross and His blood cleanses our hearts of sin.)
God gave additional directions about how the sacrificed lamb was to be eaten.
Hurried! Read Exodus 12:8-11
1. What words or phrases indicate they were to eat this meal in a hurry? (It was to be cooked quickly; eaten dressed for travel with shoes on and staff in hand. They were to eat it quickly. If they were to eat it dressed for travel surely they had packed everything they would take with them—though not specified.)
2. Why was the bread to be unleavened bread? (There wasn’t time for yeast to be used to cause the bread to rise.)
3. What did the bitter herbs represent? (The bitterness of their slavery in Egypt.)
Roasting the lamb was the quickest way to cook it thoroughly. Likewise, there should be an urgency about sharing the gospel and encouraging our lost friends and family to accept Jesus before it is too late.
4. How does the manner in which the Israelites ate the sacrifice serve as a demonstration of faith in God?
5. What does this teach us about obedience to God? (Obedience anticipates that God will act on His promise. Obedience to God at any time should be immediate! Failing to put the blood on the doorpost and lentel would have resulted in death.)
6. Why do we think we have unlimited time to consider and obey what God is teaching us? (Though God is infinitely patient, our limitations as humans placed within time mean that opportunities to respond to God’s leading can pass out of reach. God’s call to obedience is always timely, urgent, and a call to trust Him enough to be actively ready.)
God then reminded Moses of what would happen during the Passover meal.
Delivered! Read Exodus 12:12-13
1. God said “I will” three times in these verses. What did He say He would do? (“pass through the land…”; “execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt”; “pass over you.”)
All in one act God accomplished a tremendous demonstration of His power in a variety of ways.
2. What is the significance of God using the phrase “I will?” (Yahweh was in control of the situation and could be trusted to keep His promises!)
3. What does this passage teach us about God’s judgment and salvation?
4. The Israelites would remember that day in history with an annual celebration. What are some ways believers today remember their liberation from sin through faith in Jesus? (I realize some of this seems so redundant but it is important that we remember and celebrate what Jesus has done for us. One excellent way is to participate in the observance of “The Lord’s Supper” at every opportunity.)
Summarize and Challenge!
Just as the Israelites were helpless in their situation in Egypt we are powerless to free ourselves from slavery to sin. Only God can do that through Jesus. Freedom is available to all who will apply Jesus’ freely given blood to their life by faith in Him.
If you’ve already made that decision for Jesus consider the following:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, rate your level of preparedness to do what God calls you to do and to go where God calls you to go.
- Identify your reasons for rating yourself as you did.
- What do your reasons reveal about your trust in God?
- What action do you need to take to demonstrate complete trust in God?
Thank You, Father, for providing Your only Son as a sacrifice for our sin. May we have a renewed urgency for sharing the gospel with our lost family and friends.