(Exodus 12:21-51, Luke 15; Optional Psalm 40:9-17, Proverbs 12:5-9)
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EXODUS 12:21-51 – If some of this sounds incredibly familiar, it’s because God just told Moses WHAT to tell the Israelites about Passover, and now he’s actually telling them and they’re acting on it. Repetition is a way that God highlights what He wants us to focus on! Remember that we’re in the midst of the KEY REDEMPTION EVENT in the OT. And we’re almost to the key redemption event in our NT readings, too (and coming up on the same time of year in OUR calendar, too – Passover is not far away).
Ex 12:23 – “when He sees the blood…Yahweh will PASS OVER” – It’s not that the Israelites were worthy in themselves of getting mercy instead of judgment. But the blood of the spotless Passover lamb has been accepted on their behalf. The lamb received the death they deserved so that they could be free and serve/worship Yahweh!
Ex 12:26-27 – We need to tell the little ones in our lives the significance of the Lord’s Supper / Communion in a similar way. It’s good for them AND us to remember what God has done to rescue us from His holy judgment so that we can be free from sin’s slavery and belong to Him!
Ex 12:27-28 – Although those under the blood of the lamb were no less worthy of judgment, in loving gratitude there IS a clear difference, seen in worship and obedience. We could never be good enough to EARN our rescue, but there WILL be a clear difference in our response to God. Again, we’re NOT talking about sinless perfection, but we WILL see a radically different direction.
Ex 12:33-34 – Compare with Ex 12:14-20. The very FIRST Passover HAD to lead to eating unleavened bread, because of their hurry to leave Egypt. [Egypt itself is often a symbol in Scripture of the world, and they had been enslaved and are now urgently leaving, no time for yeast/leaven!] But it’s clear that future celebrations (and the whole LIFE of a Christian) needs to think of this time along with cleansing from sin and a life with a clear difference now that we’ve been rescued from slavery to sin (see 1 Cor 5:6-13, especially v 7-8).
Ex 12:33-36 – God keeps His promises! This fulfills what was promised HUNDREDS of years ago to Abraham (see Gen 15:13-14) and to Moses (Ex 3:19-22). And God gets justice in HIS timing (“plunder the Egyptians”).
Ex 12:37 – God had made them a great nation while in Egypt! This fulfills God’s promise to Jacob/Israel when God told him to take his family to Egypt (Gen 46:3).
Ex 12:46 – This detail fulfilled in Jesus (the Passover lamb for believers now – see 1 Cor 5:7) in John 19:36. Bible study tip: in the margin by Ex 12:46 I’ve written a cross to remind me this is referred to in the NT and “Jn 19:36”. Then by Jn 19:36, I’ve written a cross and “Ex 12:46”. I want to always be growing in seeing the connections between the OT and NT!
Ex 12:47-49 – 1) There is an initiatory sign (circumcision) and an ongoing sign (Passover). Similarly, believers now have the initiatory sign of baptism (Matt 28:19) and the ongoing sign of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:23-32). 2) These verses have implications in thinking about immigration issues and how much we should try to assimilate, etc.
LUKE 15 – A whole chapter with three stories told by Jesus to show God’s delight in the lost being found and sinners repenting! And a gracious implied invitation for grumbling Pharisees to join in…
Lk 15:1-2 – This keeps happening – Jesus keeps spending time with sinners (calling them to repent – see Lk 5:31-32), and the Pharisees keep grumbling and being offended. So Jesus tells three stories about the lost being found and the JOY in heaven.
Lk 15:7 – ALL of us humans (with Jesus as the ONLY exception) need to repent! But the Pharisees self-righteously didn’t THINK they needed to (compare Lk 5:31-32).
Lk 15:9-10 – Compare v 5-7 and v 23-24, 32 and contrast v 2, 25-30. Joy in heaven over sinners repenting, grumbling among the self-righteous.
Lk 15:12-13 – This would have been SHOCKING in their culture. The younger son is basically saying, “Dad, let’s act like your dad and give me my inheritance now.” And then he left home – clearly showing “I can’t be happy here with you.”
Lk 15:15-16 – This would have been extra shocking to a Jewish audience – when you’re envious of unclean pigs, you’re at the bottom of the barrel!
Lk 15:17 – “when he came to himself / came to his senses” – This is what I pray will happen to those I love who are trying to be happy with what the world has! I pray that they’ll QUICKLY be miserable and realize how empty and deceitful are the very short-term pleasures of sin and remember the goodness of the Father, and repent and come to Him. Also meditate on 2 Tim 2:24-26 (especially v 26) and incorporate that into how you pray for your lost loved ones.
Notice that in the previous stories someone else FOUND the lost one. Here the REMEMBERED GOODNESS of the father is what draws the lost one home, with hope that he can at least be a slave. The word “repent” isn’t used in this story (though it IS in v 7, 10), but the CONCEPT is clearly here! Repent is a U-turn in the mind/heart that will be seen in actions. The son correctly realizes he’d be better off as slave to his father than on his own in gnawing emptiness. No word of cleaning up (and repentance is NOT trying to clean up our lives first) – we just read of him heading towards his father.
Lk 15:20-24 – Shocking words in a culture where dignified men didn’t run anywhere! The father has apparently been LOOKING for the son’s return, fully restores him as son (joyful affection, robe – think of Joseph in Gen 37:3-4, ring, and shoes signified “beloved son”). Then commands a lavish celebration.
Lk 15:25-32 – A gracious invitation for the self-righteous. Remember all this started to answer the grumbling Pharisees (Lk 15:1-2). They LOOK like they are near to God the Father, but they’re really far from Him (see Matt 15:8, also spoken by Jesus to the Pharisees).
Lk 15:32 – Compare OUR story in Eph 2:1-10. Where are YOU in this story?? Closer to the son thinking he can only be happy doing his own thing? Or repentant and restored? Or thinking you’re ok with your own attempted righteousness?
Optional Psalm 40:9-17 – In the first part of this psalm, he’s remembering past deliverance from God. Now he’s in deep trouble again and is crying out for help yet again. This is ALWAYS the right response, even when we’re very aware of our OWN sin (v 12).
Optional Proverbs 12:5-9 – In light of thinking about the older brother APPEARING righteous in Lk 15:25ff but actually being miserable, I’m particularly gripped by Prov 12:9. Appearances can be deceiving!