Jubilant freedom….

12 02 2011

DAY FORTY-THREE : Exodus 11 v. 1 – 12 v. 51; Matthew 27 v. 11 – 44; Psalm 21 v. 1 – 7

Jubilant scenes in Cairo last night. I found it quite amazing that yesterday we were focussing on Pharaoh’s hardness of heart, mentioning President Mubarak’s refusal to stand down in the face of the people’s protests, and on the day we read Exodus 11, where Pharaoh lets God’s people go free, there are scenes of celebration in Cairo as Mubarak stands down.
There are times we literally sense we’re watching history in the making (reminded me so much of the Berlin Wall coming down, Sadam’s statue being pulled down……). Stirring stuff.
Of course, now we pray for the role of the army in Egypt (as the army in Exodus turn on the Israelites and chase them…), and the smooth transition to a true democracy.

EXODUS 11 – Final plague, death of the firstborn.
Moses tells Pharaoh all that is about to happen from midnight !

EXODUS 12 – The Passover.
The instructions begin with Moses establishing that this night is when the new year begins for the Hebrews – the start of their new life. On the tenth day of the first month of this new year, a perfect, year-old lamb is chosen and kept until the fourteenth day, when it is slaughtered at twilight. Some of the blood is put on the doorposts, and the roasted meat is to be eaten that night, with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. The Hebrews are to be dressed, ready to flee (cloak tucked in, sandals on, staff at the ready).
The blood on the doorframes is a sign for the final plague to Pass Over that home.
The Passover celebration is to be a ‘lasting ordinance’ throughout the generations. It’s a week-long celebration, with harsh consequences (cut off from the community) if anyone eats bread with yeast in during that week. It is to be a teaching opportunity, reminding children annually of God’s favour to the Israelites, passing over their homes, and bringing them freedom. I believe that modern Judaism celebrates the Passover at the start of a week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover celebrating deliverance from sin and death, the Feast of Unleavened Bread celebrating freedom (the Exodus itself).

The Passover lamb is chosen, and hyssop used to daub the doorframes with the blood of the lamb.
The Israelites bow down and worship God, and do as they have been told.
‘There was load wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.”Pharaoh dismisses God’s people. They have no time to add yeast to their dough (hence the unleavened bread), they get given silver and gold from their neighbours, and they journeyed towards Succoth (600,000 men plus women and children – a heck of a lot of people to escape….).
What does it mean, “many other people went up with them”? (one note suggests ‘group composed of those who had but one Hebrew parent, other oppressed or enslaved peoples, and maybe even some Egyptians who were impressed by the plagues’).
Their 430 years in Egypt have come to an end.

The rules of the Passover meal contain the food within the one house (not passed from one to another), and is only for those who are a full part of the community.
“On that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.”MATTHEW – Jesus before Pilate
Jesus answers Pilate that He is the King of the Jews, but doesn’t respond to any of the charges levelled against Him.
As part of celebrating the Feast of the Passover (remembering the freedom God brought the Israelites), Pilate is accustomed to set a prisoner free. He offers the crowd Barrabas (a name meaning Son of Abba (Father)….interesting twist!).
Pilate’s wife has had a bad dream and warns her husband not to deal with Jesus.
The crowd choose Barabbas!
The crowd shout for Jesus to be crucified! (stirred up by the Chief Priests and elders).
Pilate literally washes his hands of this case.
Jesus is flogged and handed over to be crucified.

Jesus is stripped.
Jesus is dressed up and mocked.
Jesus has a crown of thorns pressed into His head.
Jesus is spat upon.
Jesus is beaten, over and over again.

Simon of Cyrene is commissioned to help carry the cross.
They are led out to Golgotha.
Jesus is given wine and gall to drink (in the symbolism of John’s Gospel, hyssop (cp Exodus) is used to administer the wine to Jesus’s lips).
Jesus is nailed to the cross….

Jesus’ possessions are divided between the soldiers who play games for them.
Jesus has the name “King of the Jews” placed above His head.
Jesus has robbers either side of Him, also being crucified.
Jesus is insulted by passers-by “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”
Jesus is insulted by the Chief Priests and elders, “He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him…”
Jesus is insulted by the robbers too.
Insult after injury…..

PSALM – King David writes a song of celebration. Celebrating God’s faithfulness and goodness.
“You welcomed him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head…
 for the King trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.”

My recreated thoughts:

Unleavened bread
An unblemished lamb
Bitter herbs and hyssop
Lamb roasted and eaten
Passover night, the doorframes are daubed
The blood of the lamb
for our freedom….

A crown of thorns
The Blood of the Lamb
Nails driven through flesh
The Blood of the Lamb
Body wracked with pain, crucified Lord
The Blood of the Lamb
for our freedom….