We had technical issues recording this sermon so there is no audio file. But I don’t want to just skip past it and go on to the next sermon either, so here is a written synopsis.
In the first half or so of Exodus 12 God explains what the Hebrews need to do in preparation of the Passover. First, he tells them to make a new start. They are about to leave Egypt and put everything about that culture behind them. The night they leave Egypt will be the first day of a new month and a new year. Then he tells them about choosing a sacrificial lamb from the sheep or goats. They are to put it up on the tenth day of the month and watch it until the fourteenth. Finally, they are to be ready to go on the night the sacrifice is eaten; belt fastened, sandals on feet, staff in hand. They will be leaving in a hurry.
I spent very little time talking about the displaying the blood on the doorposts or God’s judgement passing over the Hebrews. We will do that on the fifth Sunday in a sermon focusing on communion and baptism. On April 22nd we will continue with the death of the firstborn and the actual Exodus beginning.
Without the resurrection Christianity is just another religion, the Bible is just a book, and believers have nothing but false hope. But since Jesus has the power to lay down his life and the power to take it up again, he is alive and lives forever more!
Jesus described himself as the Good Shepherd, noting that the sheep know the sound of his voice. John the Baptist called him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” before his public ministry even began. Jesus is the sheep, the shepherd, the bright and morning star, the pearl of great price, he is the Way, the truth and the life, our great high priest, and more still. All of these symbols and metaphors help us to understand but fall short in describing a love that surpasses our understanding.
On the cross, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. Matthew 27 describes his death and burial.
Jesus said that he humbled himself so that God could lift him up. He was exalted as he entered Jerusalem but oddly humble, as he rode in on a donkey, at the same time. It had the outward appearance of being his finest hour.
We often say “Moses and the Burning Bush” but I would like to focus on the fact that God was present. God told Jacob he would go down to Egypt with his family. God answered the cry of the Hebrews by calling Moses to lead them out of Egypt. And for each objection Moses raised God had a response that involved his person, presence and protection.
Note: I had a lot of trouble with this quote in the introduction. If you are willing to suffer through it a really good sermon follows. “Some men are born great, others have greatness thrust upon them.” -William Shakespeare
We’ve spent the past couple of weeks looking at how Jacob and company got into Egypt. We being this morning, and it will awhile, considering how the children of Israel will leave Egypt. There can be no mistake in either case: God did it.
We are just getting going well in our “God is Near” sermon series. We will take a break from that series for Palm Sunday on March 25th and Easter Sunday on April 1st. Well… not so much a break as simply jumping to another part of the story. God was never more near than when he walked the earth as incarnate deity, robed in flesh as Jesus the Christ.
Celebrate the resurrection with us! There will be a community sunrise service at BB&T Park in Calhoun beginning at 7 on Easter morning. Sunday School will begin at Unity at 10 am and our worship service at 11. There will be no evening services as we spend time with family and enjoy the day.
Moving Jacob and his family to Egypt was part of God’s plan. God told Jacob not to fear going to Egypt for He would go with him and He would bring him up again. Joseph understood that what his brothers had meant for evil God meant and used for good. Sometimes we understand what God is doing and how our circumstances fit into his plans, yet often we do not. We can join in what God is doing, we can sit on the sideline, we can oppose God; and in the end God gets what God wants. Choose wisely.
When we look at the big picture, Joseph played a pivotal role in God’s plan. The descendants of Abraham would serve in a foreign land 400 years (per Genesis 15) then return to claim the land of Canaan. But Joseph was too close to the events of his own life to see the big picture. His story looks like a hard luck case, a series of events of bad things that happened to him. God was near in Potipher’s house, in prison, and on the throne of Egypt. Joseph prospered in every situation because God’s Spirit was on him. And in the long run it was all part of God’s design, like a large puzzle of which Joseph was an important piece.