Saturday, Fifth Week in Lent

by Matthew B. Harper

Exodus 11:6 – Then there will be a loud cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as has never been or will be ever again.

The story of the Exodus is one of the foundational narratives of the Bible and the Jewish people everywhere. I have had the honor of being invited to share the Passover meal with a devout Jewish family, and it was a powerful ceremony of remembrance and deliverance.

But I have never been comfortable with the manner in which God delivered the Israelites. The Bible mentions repeatedly that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart. God made his heart hard, and then punished him for having a hardened heart! And the final plague, the death of the firstborn of all Egypt, is a horror difficult to imagine.

But it is the punishment for their sinful state, and for the cruelty and oppression they inflicted upon God’s chosen people.

On this Day 2000 years ago Jesus prepared to celebrate the Passover meal. He remembered the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, even as he was about to become our sacrifice. The text of today’s reading reminds us that this great pain will never be again! The blood of their sacrifice saved the people of God in Egypt, and now all of us are kept safe by the blood of the eternal sacrifice – the Lord Jesus the Christ.

O Lamb of God that takest away the sins of the world,

Have mercy upon us

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Have mercy upon us

O lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

Grant us thy peace

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