They were locked in their homes in bondage. Plagues ravaged the land. Hope was almost dashed, and the way forward was uncertain. While this description could be the opening line of today’s news report, this in fact is a description of the scene facing the Israelites during their captivity in Egypt.
The Lord promised to rescue His people through a mediator named “Moses.” Although Moses had no physical prowess or intellectual quotient that approved him for the job, he did have a pedigree. He had been sovereignly chosen for this moment even before Pharaoh’s daughter drew him out of the Nile River.
Pharaoh, intoxicated with power and fearful of the growing population of Israelites underneath his cruel captivity, ordered all male Israelite babies killed. It was through this extreme act of death, narcissism, and darkness that the Lord shined a light and made a way through a little boy who caught the eye of Pharaoh’s daughter so many years before.
Moses would stand before Pharaoh 10 times threatening the wrath of the Lord unless Egypt’s noble would relent and let God’s people go. Over the course of nine destructive plagues, Pharaoh would relent over and over only to become once again intoxicated with power and recant his decision. Then on the 10th occasion, Moses went before Pharaoh and gave him the last and most severe threat. During the night, the Lord would usher in a plague of death that would take the life of every first-born son of every single family in Egypt.
This is the scene upon which we enter. It is a scene that feels a bit too familiar in 2020 as we watch lives being lost at the hands of a pandemic that we are powerless to stop no matter how far we distance ourselves from others. Yet, just as with today, there was a hope that was not clearly seen. The Lord made a way for His people to overcome the plague and have death literally “Passover” their homes.
Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 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 12:21-23
During the night, death passed over the house of the Israelites who had been obedient by sacrificing an unblemished lamb and spreading its blood over the door frames of their homes. The remedy to their epidemic of forced captivity was delivered, and hope came flooding in as they were finally free.
Today we are awaiting a cure for COVID-19 and from the captivity of our homes. However, just like the Israelites, we are looking for a cure to a physical problem while ignoring a greater spiritual one. For those of us who will still be alive on the other side of COVID-19, physical death will eventually find us as it eventually found every last one of the Israelites who survived the Passover. Our experience may not be the loss of a first-born son or the loss of life from the virus that ends our days. But one thing is certain: it is appointed once for man to live and once to die (Hebrews 9:27). We are all living lives marked out by an eventual death and, as Hebrews informs, a day of judgment.
Beloved, you may not be infected with COVID-19 this Good Friday, but all men, women, boys, and girls are infected by the plague and virus of sin. However, unlike the world today or the Israelites awaiting freedom, we already have the antidote to cure this pernicious virus of sin. Our cure was purchased on Good Friday and sealed on Easter.
In Galatians 3:13, Paul reminds us, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.’” Jesus shed His blood on Good Friday in order to cover us and cleanse us, so that once and for all, those of us who trust in Him will never taste the scorn of eternal death.
Paul goes on to tell us in Romans 5:6-8, “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
As the United States experiences the great loss of life from COVID-19 this Easter weekend, this virus may not pass over our homes, families, and loved ones — but there is still hope. The spotless and unblemished Lamb of God was sacrificed so that His death defying blood would cover over our hearts, our souls, and our lives.
Good Friday reminds us that for those of us who hope in Christ, we have freedom and everlasting life. The question that remains is: what will we do with that life?
Easter is about an exchanged life, because we draw near to remember that Jesus, God’s incarnate Son, took the wrath of God that we deserved on the cross of Calvary. He bore God’s wrath so that we could be right before that same holy and merciful God. God’s kindness and severity are not mutually exclusive. His severity is fully displayed through His lovingkindness to sinners at the cross.
Holy Week should never be the only time we look to the cross or celebrate the resurrection. It is a daily call to “take up your cross” and to ruminate on the richest majesty of Jesus who bore sin and conquered death. The cross and resurrection are the only hope for the Christian.
So beloved, preach the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ because He is the true hope that this pandemic plagued world needs. While death is on the mind of all people, use this time to remind them that physical death does not have to have the last victory. Use the opportunities afforded to you during this difficult and dreadful time to point people to the only true hope — Jesus Christ.
Good Friday gives us an exceptional perspective during a pandemic and every day.
Defending the fatherless.
Lifeline Children’s Services
Has the Lord put your family in a place where you could adopt or foster a precious child in need and in so doing, disciple them in the gospel of Christ? Has the Lord burdened you with His command in James 1:27 to care for orphans in distress? If so, partner with Lifeline today. Visit lifelinechild.org/donate to give to the cause; or lifelinechild.org to apply to adopt; to sign up for a trip through our (un)adopted® ministry by visiting orphans in need; to apply to be a foster parent for a child in United States foster care; to volunteer in one of many ways for the sake of orphans; or to ultimately partner with us as we seek to take the gospel to the fatherless.