Sunday, September 10, 2017

3 Ways to Be Ready (Session 3; Exodus 12:1-13)

The company I work for is in the midst of great change. We’re not only moving an entire publishing operation to a new location in the city but also are changing the ways that we do our work. We want to be nimbler and more effective in serving the Lord and His church. As one of many employees trying to navigate all this change, I am extremely grateful for our leaders. They have helped us envision the need for major change and get ready for its coming. They have led the way—literally—for all of us to succeed in a new ministry environment.

With any great change movement, those who passionately believe in it and get ready are the ones who will survive and thrive when it happens.

This is essentially the message that Moses delivered to the Israelites in Exodus 12. For four hundred years God’s covenant people had suffered as slaves in Egypt. But great change was coming. God had come down to set them free and guide them to a new life in the promised land. Through Moses, God called the Israelites to believe in His promise and get ready for the decisive moment of deliverance—their great change movement.

God gave the Israelites the Passover (12:1-13) to signify their readiness for change. It represented day one of a new start—a new life—of trusting in and following the Lord (12:2). Three features of the Passover emphasized how they could prepare for that new life: a sacrifice, sandals, and a blood mark.

First, all of the Israelite families were to offer a sacrifice of an unblemished sheep or goat (12:3-6). Offering the sacrifice would signify their faith in and obedience to God. Second, the people were to eat the Passover sacrifice while being “dressed for travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand” (12:11). Doing this would show that the people were prepared to follow the Lord’s guidance whenever and wherever He took them. Third, the families of Israel were to smear the blood of the sacrificial animal on the doorposts and lintels of their houses (12:7). This mark would protect God’s people from the death angel whom God was about to send in judgment throughout the land of Egypt (12:12-13).

Many centuries later, on the eve of His crucifixion, Jesus Christ celebrated the Passover with His disciples and demonstrated that He had come to inaugurate the greatest change movement ever—the new covenant (Luke 22:14-20). He would become the sinless sacrifice, slain for the sins of all people. His shed blood would provide forgiveness of sin and a new start for all who believe in Him. He would be the Good Shepherd, not only laying down His life for His followers but also guiding them as the resurrected Lord to the promised land of eternal life (John 10:11,27-28).

Today, Christians continue to show their readiness for Christ’s glorious return when they participate in the Lord’s Supper. Paul reminded the Corinthian believers that “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:26). What a change movement that will be when Jesus comes again! Are you ready?

David Briscoe is a content editor at LifeWay for Explore the Bible resources.

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