Bible reading for Mar 1: Exodus 12:21-51; Luke 15.
There's no assigned reading in the RMM plan for leap day, Feb 29.
"For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you." (Exodus 12:23)
The tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, foreshadows the death of The Firstborn -- the unique, eternal, and preeminent Son of God the Father. The blood of sacrificial animals, such as the Passover lamb, cannot actually take away sins (Heb 10:4). Yet, as John the Baptist announced, God's Son can: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29) The lamb of the Passover in Exodus "...shall be without blemish, a male a year old" (12:5). And so, Jesus "offered himself without blemish to God" (Heb 9:14). Every home would need the blood of the innocent lamb upon the lintel and doorposts if death was to pass them by.
The faith of Passover. It would be an act of faith to apply the blood of the lamb to the doorposts and lintel of your home. This is a significant thing: it did not matter whether the family inside was rich or poor, healthy or sick, worthy or unworthy, living righteously or unrighteously, having great faith or little faith... just, did they have enough faith to place the blood upon their door? If so, they would live! It's as simple as that. The destroying angel did not inquire as to the the quality of the people inside the house. He just looked for the blood on the lintel and doorposts. So too, we come to Christ and find refuge in his death, that is, we place his blood upon our lives, without any regard to our worthiness. It matters not how good or bad we've been (or think we've been), nor how much faith we have, but only, will I trust the Lamb of God for forgiveness and life?
The Feast of Unleavened Bread. This will be the first sacrifice, the first feast, and the first month of the new, soon-to-be-delivered nation of Israel. The unleavened bread, then and for many generations following, reminded the people that they were a people under God with a new identity on their way to a new land. With staff in hand, they ate their quick-baked bread, knowing they did not have time to wait for the dough to rise. This has become a symbol in Scripture of how God's people are to forsake every manner of sin: "Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Corinthians 5:7-8) And, "...let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith... (Heb 12:1b-2a)" We too, as followers of Christ, are a people under God with a new identity, a new way of living, on our way to a new land (2 Pet 3:13-14).
"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate." (Luke 15:22-24)
Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch; like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Lost and found (Luke 15). Jesus tells a three-fold parable of things lost and then joyfully found: a sheep, a coin, and a son. The first is an animal which wanders off; the second, a coin, something inanimate misplaced; and the third, a son, who willfully chooses to be lost. All three things are of value, and a child is of immense value. At the end of the parable there were actually two lost sons: one who left and returned, and the one who stayed, but remains outside, sulking, while the family celebrates the prodigal son's return. One took his inheritance and wasted it, but repented. He "came to himself" (15:17), admits his sin, and seeks to reconcile with his father. The other son was outwardly compliant, but seemed to be biding his time until he should receive his inheritance. He resents money being spent to celebrate the prodigal. At some point, it seems, neither son loved the father for himself, but only for his inheritance! The parable ends with the rebellious son returned, and the legalistic son now sitting outside the family circle. The parable is not only an encouragement for returning prodigals, but primarily a warning to the self-righteous not to resent those lost souls who return to the Lord (15:1-2).
Image credit. The oil painting above is the "Lamb of God" (Lat., Agnus Dei), by Francisco de Zurbaran (1635–1640), now located in the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain. From Wikipedia.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.