Symbols are used as a means to explain complicated topics easily. When we are growing up we are taught that an ugly green sticker with an ugly face meant whatever was in the bottle was not good for us. When we learn to drive we learn that any sign or light that has red in it means danger, warning or stop.
One of the concepts of teaching using symbols is to use the same symbols multiple times. Once you learn the symbol and the power of it message it can be repeated and applied to a new topic. For instance the universal “not permitted” sign (a circle with a diagonal line) is used in many applications. We see it as a way to say no smoking, no bicycles, do not enter, etc. It is a universal symbol. In the reading for yesterday, February 4 we are given a powerful symbol that has long reaching meaning for us even today.
Yesterday we read Exodus chapters 10 – 12. It tells the story of Moses trying to convince the pharaoh of Egypt to let the Israelites leave. Prior to today’s reading there were seven different demonstrations of God’s power. There were the following plagues, blood, frogs, gnats, flies, cattle disease, boils and hail. In today’s reading we have the last three plagues. The eighth plague that was beset upon the Egyptians were locusts, while the ninth was darkness.
During the first 9 plagues we see the same pattern: a stubborn pharaoh , a demonstration of God’s power, a promise to let the people go and a broken promise by the pharaoh. All of this leads us to the final plague.
The final plague is the death of all the first born males of Egypt. It is not going to be pretty and it is going to be rather sad. In preparation for the coming plague the Israelites are told to prepare. This preparation is what is today called Passover in the Jewish faith. It is called Passover because the plague of death for the first-born passed over the Israelites’ homes.
The first Passover meal is full of symbols that equates the sacrificial lamb for the Israelites in Egypt with the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. When you read ( or reread) this passage, think about the saving blood, the sacrificial lamb, the unleavened bread etc.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
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