- How has God’s judgement been revealed so far?
- How has Pharaoh responded?
- Imagine yourself as an Egyptian, watching this story unfold. How would you respond?
Boils, hail, locusts, and three days of pitch darkness in Egypt. The four plagues recorded in Exodus 9-10 left Egypt devastated physically, economically, and psychologically. But none of them would compare to the final plague threatened by Moses and ignored by Pharaoh: the death of all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.
As this threat looms over Egypt, Moses is instructed by God to inaugurate a ritual meal that would not only shelter the Israelites from the plague to come, but would also become central to their story and identity as a people. More than a millennium later, it becomes our story as well.
- Read Exodus 9:14-16. What do these verses reveal about God’s power? About God’s intentions? What does the statement by Jethro the Midianite in Exodus 18:10-11 contribute?
- Many of the plagues are said to have not impacted the Israelites or the areas where they lived (Exodus 9:4, 26; Exodus 10:23). What message does this send? What might the Egyptian people have done in light of this? Exodus 9:20-21 gives an interesting example.
- In the above examples, and in many of the prior plagues, God spared Israel without requiring any action on their part. Why do you think the final plague is different?
- In Exodus 12:11, God describes the manner in which the Israelites are to eat the Passover meal. What does this symbolize?
- In Exodus 12:24-27, God commands that the Passover meal become a perennial part of the Israelite calendar. What purpose would this serve in the ongoing life and developing culture of Israel?
- What regular rhythms do you, your church, or your family have to be reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of God, and to teach them to your children or other loved ones? If these are absent, what are some already present recurring holidays, rituals, or celebrations that could be used in this way? As a group, share some ideas for new ones that could be added.
- Read Luke 22:14-20. Jesus and his disciples are celebrating the Passover meal on the very night that he is betrayed. Once again, it will be the blood of a slain “lamb” that will save the lives of God’s people. What other areas of symbolic overlap do you see between the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and the first Passover?
It is easy to read the ancient stories of Israel with a feeling of disconnection. After all, this took place thousands of years ago, in a faraway land. But the story of Passover gives Christians the opportunity to see our own story foreshadowed in dramatic fashion.
As a group, take communion together. Take this opportunity to hold, taste, and see the great price of our own Exodus from slavery to sin and death, and to remember the night on which the God who graciously spared the firstborn sons of Israel gave his own precious Son to save us.