Today we’re in that ‘holiday hole’ between Christmas and New Years. The world is still trying to hang on to some last little bit of holiday cheer. Even the Church is left considering just how meaningful the birth of Jesus really is! In spite of how the world tries to spoil it, the birth of Jesus is not some idealistic ‘Peace on Earth” that people can pretend is happening, even if only for a short time. This baby came to us so that we could kill Him. The baby Jesus came to be the final kill in the bloody sacrificial system of the Jews.
In that system, when a family gives birth to a son, the law requires they sacrifice a lamb. But with this Son born to Mary, the Son of God, was sacrificed for us on the cross. That’s why Jesus came to us. Jesus was born because God the Father chose Him to take your place as the sacrifice.
Israel was in a position similar to ours this morning. They’d just celebrated the high point of their year, perhaps even the high point of their lives. God had prepared the Hebrews to leave slavery and Egypt and flee into the desert. Next would come crossing the Red Sea, a miracle of staggering proportions. That miracle not only allowed the Israelites to make a clean escape, God also used it to destroy Pharaoh’s army.
God wants His people to remember – to “zachar” in Hebrew. In Egypt, death of the firstborn was what finally forced Pharaoh to allow the Hebrews to leave Egypt. The Angel of Death passed through the land killing all first-born Egyptians, both man and beast. That night, every first-born died unless they were protected by the blood of the Passover Lamb. Wherever blood marked the homes of God’s people, that blood kept the Angel of Death safely away from them. Blood on the door – God’s price for redemption that Passover night. 1,413 years later, the price of Redemption was much higher.Blood would flow once again. Not from Passover lambs, but from the Lamb of God Himself – Jesus.
Since that first Passover night in 1446 BC, Hebrew children have been taught to ask, “What does this mean?” Hebrew fathers have taught their children that, the blood of thePassover lamb protected the first-born of all the Hebrews.
On that amazing night, the Hebrews ate the Passover meal while the blood of the Lamb redeemed them from the Angel of Death. 1479 years later,Jesus took our place on the cross, died a sinners death, then rose in absolute victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.
And in the Lord’s Supper, when we eat the Body and drink the Blood of our Lord Jesus, it is the Passover meal. We eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lamb Who redeemed us. In our redemption, God gives us the forgiveness of all our sins and His promise of everlasting life, with Him, in His eternal Kingdom.
The redemption of the Hebrew first-born in Egypt showed Pharaoh and His people that the God of Abraham was not to be trifled with. In the same way, God’s Word, water, and the bread and wine all contain God’s promise that your sins are forgiven, and that heaven is your home. Your God is also not a God to be trifled with. He keeps His Word and delivers on His promises.
Its really easy to get caught-up in the worldly, secular celebration of Christmas with Santa, the reindeer, and his sleigh. But for us, for the people of God, Christmas is all about salvation and everlasting life. Jesus is so much more than an excuse for exchanging presents. Christ was born to be that Lamb who redeems you and rescues you from sin, darkness, and death. In Jesus you and I have life, new life, everlasting life. That’s Who Jesus is, and what He’s done for you. Amen!