The Blood Shall be a Sign for You

This coming week is the time of year when our Lord was put to death. Passover begins this Friday evening, and we know that the Lord was slain about the same time of day that the Jews were slaughtering their Passover lambs.

This Thursday, while we are in Bible study, take a moment to consider the Lord’s table. On that evening, nearly two thousand years ago, Jesus sat around the table with His apostles. “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” He said, but alas, He would not, “For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22.15-16). He knew that the supper which they shared that night would be His final meal before His execution. Because of that supper and that execution, we will be comfortably indoors this Thursday evening (Lord willing), studying the Exodus of His people and sharing in the fellowship of His body, the church.

If you are outside this Friday from around lunchtime to mid-afternoon, take a moment to consider the earth beneath your feet and the sky above you. Nearly two thousand years ago that day, the sun’s light failed. There was darkness over the land that afternoon, because the Son of God was dying on a Roman cross. Mid-afternoon that day, the earth shook and the dead came out of their graves as He cried out and breathed His last (Matt 27.45-46, 50-52).

That evening, after your work is done and you are unwinding and relaxing, remember that two of our brothers were still out of doors, engaged in a very laborious and expensive work. Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the very council which condemned Jesus to death, took his own life in his hands when he went to Pilate and asked for our Lord’s body (Mark 15.42-43; Luke 23.50-52; John 19.38). He purchased a linen shroud for Him, and he took His body to his own freshly-cut tomb (Matt 27.59-60; Mark 15.46). Nicodemus met Joseph with a small fortune in myrrh and aloes, and they together bound the Lord’s body and anointed it with the spices (John 19.39-40).

When you are in your house on Saturday, happy and without fear, remember the despair of our brothers, the first disciples. They did not understand or take to heart the Lord’s teaching about His death, so they huddled indoors that day nearly two thousand years ago. They were miserable, bereft, and afraid for their lives (Mark 16.10; John 20.19).

Next Sunday, when we assemble as the body of Christ, we will do what we do every Sunday: remember our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper. As we take the bread and the cup, remember how our sisters nearly two thousand years ago arose early that morning to visit the Lord’s tomb. They expected to find a stone blocking their way and the Lord’s body within. What they found instead was the stone rolled away from an empty tomb and an angel of the Lord declaring to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24.5b-6a). Two thousand years ago, by the time that we assemble Sunday morning, our Lord had declared victory over death.

We Christians are to carry the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection with us into the world each week. If you, in your own way of life, have neglected the daily remembrance of our Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection, this week is a good week to start. This week, like any other week, is a good week to remember His sacrifice.

We Christians are to embody our Lord’s way of life (1 Jn 2.6). How shall we walk in the same way in which He walked if we rarely study His life? If you have neglected the daily remembrance of our Lord’s life and ministry, this week is a good week to start. Take up your Bible. Read from the gospel. If you aren’t sure how to structure your study, pick up a copy of Meditations on the Life of Christ, located on the sound booth at the back of the auditorium.

As we consider all these things, we must give thanks to God for the great mercy that He has shown to us sinners. “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5.6). “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2.2). “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 Jn 1.7).

As God prepared to free Israel and to punish Egypt for the last time, He warned them to cover their doorposts in the blood of the lamb, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 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” (Ex 12.12-13). This week, remember that we have a Passover lamb, Jesus (1 Cor 5.7).