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Skip Heitzig: Lamb Of God Has Taken Our Punishment Upon Himself

Skip Heitzig

In the story of the Passover, most of us have no problem with God judging Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We do have a problem with another group God judged: His own people, the Israelites. Yes, the children of Israel were under a death sentence, and only blood could save them.
 
“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 not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you” (Exodus 12:23). Why did they deserve punishment as much as the Egyptians?
 
First, they were obstinate. God used Moses to answer Israel’s prayers for deliverance, and he confronted Pharaoh, telling him to free the Israelites. But Pharaoh just made it harder for them, so they rejected Moses (see Exodus 5:21). Second, they were guilty of idolatry. Some of the children of Israel were worshiping the false gods of Egypt. Joshua said, “Put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt” (Joshua 24:14).
 
God’s own people rejected His word, His prophet, and God Himself. They were not protected by their race or nationality. They weren’t exempt. This is the plight of all humanity. Romans 3 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (v. 23). That’s you, me, everybody. And in that condition we can expect to die, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
 
So, God established the Passover as an act of mercy (see Exodus 12). He provided an out—a substitute. Each family was to sacrifice a pure and perfect lamb as their substitute. It stood in their place. Go back to Genesis 3. After Adam and Eve sinned and covered themselves up with fig leaves, God gave them animal skins instead, which most scholars believe were lambs—one for Adam and one for Eve. By the time of the Passover in Exodus 12, it’s one lamb for a family.
 
When Jesus was baptized, John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Now, it’s not for one person or one family—it’s for everyone. This is the consistent message of the Bible: if you want to meet God, you must do so on the basis of the Lamb. That’s the only way God will meet with you.
 
Remember in Genesis 22, Isaac asked Abraham on Mount Moriah, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb?” (v. 7). That’s the only question God will ask you. If you think you can stand before Him and say, “I deserve to get into heaven because I was a good person,” or because your parents always went to church, you’re wrong. God will simply ask, “Where is the lamb?”
 
Jesus is often referred to as the Lamb: “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
 
It’s always about a lamb—a substitute. The blood on the doorposts was the sign that a death had already occurred in that house and the penalty for sin had been meted out, allowing the wrath of God to be turned away. The cross is the sign that payment has been made for sin, because the Lamb of God has taken our punishment upon Himself. And get this: He did it because He thought you were worth it.


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Skip Heitzig

In the story of the Passover, most of us have no problem with God judging Pharaoh and the Egyptians. We do have a problem with another group God judged: His own people, the Israelites. Yes, the children of Israel were under a death sentence, and only blood could save them.
 
“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 not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you” (Exodus 12:23). Why did they deserve punishment as much as the Egyptians?
 
First, they were obstinate. God used Moses to answer Israel’s prayers for deliverance, and he confronted Pharaoh, telling him to free the Israelites. But Pharaoh just made it harder for them, so they rejected Moses (see Exodus 5:21). Second, they were guilty of idolatry. Some of the children of Israel were worshiping the false gods