January 29, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”’ Then the people bowed down and worshiped. The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.”—Exodus 12:21–28 (NIV)
If you’ve read yesterday’s devotional, you might remember in Exodus 12 that the Israelites are receiving instructions from God regarding the first Passover. They’re still living in Egypt as severely oppressed people, and God’s final plague will consist of the firstborn son in every household dying overnight. The Lord told Moses this would happen from the beginning, predicting he would have to tell Pharaoh, “Israel is my firstborn son, . . . But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son’” (Exodus 4:22–23 NIV). So, God commanded the Israelites to place some blood on their doorways from the sacrificial Passover lamb using a hyssop branch so their firstborn sons would be spared.
Although this story is generally well-known, what’s so beautiful about the Bible is that many of the stories found in the Old Testament hold glimpses of the future promise we see fulfilled in the New Testament. This story points to Jesus in more ways than one, so let’s take a look!
Jesus and the hyssop branch.
God gave the Israelites very specific instructions when it came to this night. The use of a hyssop branch to spread the blood on the doorpost would have made sense because of its sturdiness, but it also points to Jewish ceremonial cleansing practices (see GotQuestions.org). Additionally, David wrote in Psalm 51:7 (NIV) after committing adultery and murder, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Lastly, Jesus drank sour wine from a sponge on the end of a hyssop branch before taking His dying breaths on the cross (John 19:28–30). The hyssop reflects that the Lord is holy and will purify His people.
Jesus and the blood of the lamb.
The Israelites were told to use the hyssop branch to spread the blood of the sacrificed lamb on their doorposts. This lamb would be one year old, a male, and without blemish physically—a representation of purity and innocence. Jesus Christ is known to be our Passover Lamb because He died on the cross during Passover most likely around the time that the lamb would usually be sacrificed in the temple. He was absolutely perfect, completely sinless, everything we could never be, and His blood was shed for our eternal salvation!
Jesus and the mercy of God.
When Exodus 12:27 (NIV) says the Lord “spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians,” it implies that those who did not believe in the power of the lamb and the Word of God would not be saved. The same reigns true today. We get to experience freedom as long as we believe in the Word of God and the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, and act upon that belief through obedience and surrender!
May we look to the Passover for a reminder of God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice, and our role in it all!
Pause: How can this information change or enrich the way you see Christ and the gospel?
Practice: Read the Scriptures linked throughout the devotional in their entirety and allow the Word of God to penetrate your soul and deepen your awe today!
Pray: Jesus, I am continually put in awe of Your majesty, Your mercy, and Your sovereignty! Thank You so much for being our complete and final Passover Lamb! Thank You that all of Scripture points to You and reminds us of truth while filling us with hope. May I walk in that truth today and remember that I can also walk in freedom because of Your sacrifice. May I submit myself to You in daily obedience because You are so worthy! Amen.
Samy Rodriguez has been serving with the Calvary writing team since 2020 as a senior at Calvary Christian Academy. Before going to study communications, biblical studies, and intercultural studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, she interned with the Calvary Communications Team and was a student leader in HSM (High School Ministry). She is passionate about communicating God’s Word and looks forward to continuing to serve in ministry after college.