A lamb died so the first-born could live (Exodus 12:3-7).
Isn’t that exactly what happened in the Garden of Eden? When our earliest ancestors rebelled against God, they sewed fig leaves together to make garments (Genesis 3:7). That’s when religion was born. Mankind tried to cover his wretchedness in an attempt to placate and pacify a Holy God. It didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now. A lamb had to die (Genesis 3:21).
And isn’t that also what happened on Mount Moriah? Isaac lived because a substitute sacrifice was offered in his place (Genesis 22:13). A lamb died so that Isaac could live.
As the tenth and most horrific plague was announced, a death sentence was handed down to every first-born, Egyptian and Hebrew. The first-born was as good as dead! But God graciously offered an alternative, to be accepted by faith. A lamb could become the substitute sacrifice.
“Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ families, one animal per family. If the household is too small for a whole animal, that person and the neighbor nearest his house are to select one based on the combined number of people; you should apportion the animal according to what each will eat. You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight. They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them” (Exodus 12:3–7).
When Carla and I were in Israel a couple of years ago, our guide took us to lunch near a place called “The Shepherd’s Field” in Bethlehem. On the sidewalk, an entrepreneurial young man was holding a tiny little lamb. He offered to let Carla hold the infant-like bundle. It earned the kid a nice tip from the rich American tourists! The little lamb was so cute. So innocent. So docile. The soft bundle of wool laid its tiny head on Carla’s shoulder, content to be cuddled like a newborn.
With the tenth plague looming, God’s people were instructed to choose a cuddly little lamb. Keep it close for four days. Fill its water dish and its food bowl. Let the kiddos play with it like a pet. I’ll bet that the lamb was named freckles or spot, blackie or curly.
Four days later, just as the sun was setting, everyone in the family gathered. Obediently, the flawless, faultless lamb was killed, its blood caught in a small basin. With tears in every child’s eyes, daddy faithfully took the blood and painted the doorframe. A couple of hours later the family dined on barbequed lamb. The lamb died so that the plague of death would pass-over and the first-born could live.
Again, isn’t that what happened at Mount Calvary as the Sinless Lamb of God was slain? When His blood is applied by faith, our death sentence is lifted. The Lamb died so that I could live.