The Promise and the Messiness of Passover

A couple of things happen that fuel the exodus of God’s people from Egypt: God’s promise to Abraham and Pharaoh’s dilemma in dealing with that promise. Several chapters earlier God promises Abraham that he will multiply his seed and bless them (Gen. 22:17). They multiply off the chart creating a population problem for Pharaoh. So, what does the leader of Egypt do? He begins a slave enterprise. His people suffer terribly and this gets God’s attention! Over time the people’s lament get’s old and God says “enough is enough!”

Enter the plagues, especially that of killing the first born. It’s helpful to understand Egyptian hierarchy to make sense of why Pharaoh chose to kill the first born in the first place. You see, it was a society ruled by primogeniture. That’s when the first-born has absolute power within the family structure. Did you know that Pharaoh was the first-born of the first-born of the first-born. So, you could say that he was exercising his “first born” right!

We finally arrive at the topic of our conversation today–the Passover. Keeping in mind the whole first born thing, are you familiar with the phrase, “What goes around, comes around”? Well, that is exactly what Pharaoh ends up experiencing in this whole mess. Pharaoh, THE first born, gets it in the end. The same destruction visits him and comes full circle and strikes his own child. He becomes his own victim. God’s creational purpose must be brought out of slavery through the Exodus and by the killing of the first born in order to fulfill his promise.

The Passover needs the blood of the lamb. It is a theme the saints need. We need to remember this event as a participatory event, then and now. It is a remembrance and proclamation. Passover is all about passing on the faith. It is an antidote to nostalgia, wanting to get back to what was comfortable eating leeks, onions and fish. The people had it well. But it is also an antidote to cruelty, remembering that we were once slaves. Thanks be to God, the lamb of God, who takes away our sins saying “enough is enough” and  or should we now say “it is finished”.




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