Holy Thursday 2016 March 24 “The Cost of our Redemption” Exodus 12
Pastor Louis Prontnicki Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church
If you were in the market for a new car, would you ever think of buying a car without asking about the price of the car? Would you go shopping for a new dress or a new suit, and select one, bring it to the checkout, show them your credit card, and never bother to look at the price tag?
In a similar way, did you ever wonder what the price tag on your soul is? That is, what did it cost God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ to purchase your soul, to redeem you from hell? This evening, I want us to ponder what it costs God to save us, and then to consider how lavish and extensive that costly redemption is.
Let’s begin by considering the first Passover. When the Lord delivered Israel out of slavery in Egypt, God didn’t just whisk the Israelites out of Egypt on a magic carpet. No. A price had to be paid for their freedom, and it was a costly redemption. We can see that in two ways: (1) in the cost to the sinner: the deaths of the Egyptian firstborns, and (2) in the cost of the substitute: the blood of the perfect Passover lamb.
First there was the cost to the sinner: the required deaths of the firstborn sons of Egypt. The Israelites would see the high price tag for their deliverance in what each Egyptian family had to pay. Every Egyptian family would see their firstborn son die that same night, as the angel of death visited their home, as God’s judgment on their nation.
Can you imagine being in Egypt that night? You would have heard mothers screaming and fathers wailing, while the younger children in each family would be terrified. Not only that: keep in mind that in ancient societies, all the hope and dreams of a man and his family rested in the firstborn son. A father would give his life to spare the life of his firstborn son, because it was through that son that the father’s legacy would carry on.
Ps. 78:49-51 “(The LORD) unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility— a band of destroying angels. 50 He prepared a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death but gave them over to the plague. 51 He struck down all the firstborn of Egypt, the firstfruits of manhood in the tents of Ham.”
I submit to you that on that Passover night, the Israelites realized the high price tag that was being paid for the sake of their redemption. They said to themselves: “That could have been us.”
The cost of the firstborn shows us, the sinner, the high price tag of our redemption.
Second, there was the cost of the substitute sacrifice, that of the Passover Lamb. Though the Israelites were as sinful and guilty as the Egyptians, yet in God’s great mercy, the Lord allowed for the blood of a perfect and precious lamb (the best one they had) to take their place and to ransom their lives. They understood that the life of another would be paid as a ransom for their own. And every year, each Jewish family would sacrifice the best lamb to be offered up as a Passover lamb (Deut. 16:2). That precious and spotless animal would serve as a solemn reminder of the high cost of their own redemption. All that stood between them and death was the blood of a lamb.
So we learn from Exodus 12 of the high cost of redemption: it cost the firstborn son from every Egyptian family, and a perfect, spotless lamb from every Israelite family.
Now let us skip ahead some 1,400 years to Jesus and the Last Supper. Jesus and His disciples are observing this same Passover meal. For each of His disciples, this is a solemn occasion, because they are reminded of the high price tag for their redemption, the firstborn and a lamb.
But then Jesus says something which hyper-inflates the already high price tag for their redemption. He tells them “This (bread) is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup (of wine) is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor. 11:23-26)
Do you understand what Jesus was saying to them? He was telling them that “I myself am now your precious and perfect Passover Lamb. And I am the perfect first-born Son who will be sacrificed in your place. The price tag for your deliverance will be my own life; I will die in your place. And it will cost my Heavenly Father His own precious Son, for me to be your atoning sacrifice for your sins.”
The cost of your redemption is the death of God the Father’s firstborn Son and the sacrifice of the spotless Lamb of God.
Think of it this way:
The Israelites put the blood of a perfect lamb on the wood of their door frames so that God’s wrath would pass over them;
But God the Father would put the blood of the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus His Son, upon the wood of the cross, so that God’s wrath would pass over us.
Jesus gave His life as a ransom for ours. See 1 Peter 1:18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
The price tag of our redemption for both the Father and the Son was of far greater value than all the gold and silver in the universe.
Therefore, let us never take such costly forgiveness for granted. Let us never see our sin lightly. We need to feel its weight… before we have Jesus take it from us. For only those who have felt the oppressive weight of their sins can truly appreciate the redeeming work of the Savior.
Do you feel that weight? Do you feel the cost that the Father and the Son paid, to secure your redemption?
But how do you make Jesus our Passover Lamb? The same way the Israelites did – by faith. Just as they had to trust that God would see the blood and spare them, so we too have to trust that the Father will see Christ’s blood and spare us.
Can you picture your family, as Israelites in Egypt, on the night when the angel of death was sweeping over the land? Egyptian parents are wailing and screaming as they see their firstborn sons die, but there you are in your house, and the only thing standing between you and the angel of death killing your firstborn son… is some blood on your doorframe!
Imagine you are camping out in the woods in a nylon tent, and outside your tent there is a hungry 800 pound bear, who is looking for something to eat. But you’ve sprayed bear repellent on your tent… and that repellent is all that stands between you and that bear. That gives you a sense of what it would be like to be an Israelite, trusting in the blood of a lamb, on your doorpost!
Because you are trusting in God’s provision of a lamb sacrificed in your place, you can remain calm and peaceful! Faith in God’s perfect lamb makes all the difference.
Note that this was not just a mental assent to the blood atoning for them… they had to put their faith to work, by “painting” the blood of the lamb on their door. By grace, through obedience, they received God’s provision for their protection. And as they did, so we must do.
You need to tell yourself, “My soul and my heart are painted with Christ’s atoning blood; therefore I do not fear death nor hell nor anything that man can do to me.”
How deep and effective is this protection of Christ’s blood for us? Think of it this way:
- Imagine your worst moment of guilt and shame, a memory that, when you allow it, haunts you and cripples you; stuff that you never want anyone else to know about. In light of sin like that, you may have a hard time imagining how God could possibly forgive you, right?
Yet it was for that moment and that sin that Christ died for you. When you and I were at our worst, God gave us His best. While we were still sinners, of the worst kind, Christ died in our place (Rom. 5:8).
The Lord’s Supper teaches us that no debt of sin, no horror of shame, no guilt of our crimes against God are too great to be forgiven, because God has provided His prefect and precious sacrifice, Jesus, the Lamb of God, to pay it all, in our place. Do you believe that?
2. Now imagine your finest hour, your best day, when you are really feeling spiritual and worshipful, when you are enjoying your spiritual disciplines and you are sharing the gospel with other, in love and boldness, and you are serving others and forgiving people… in other words, when you are in fifth gear as a Christian, cruising along, enjoying God and loving others.
At moments like these, we might think, “Of course God forgives me… I’m on His team; I’m serving Him; I’m His child!”
But the Lord’s Supper teach us that we don’t deserve God’s forgiveness; we never could deserve His pardon. For He needs to save us not only from our worst sin; He especially needs to save us from our good works, because we think they will get us somewhere with Him! (Isa. 64:6)
Our debt of sin to Him is so immense that we could never pay Him the debt we owe Him… not in a trillion years’ worth of perfect performances on our part, even if that were possible.
Even on our best days, our sin would still make us God’s enemy, and therefore requires Christ’s sacrificial death.
And so we confess and cry out with the psalmist:
Ps. 41:4 “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
Ps. 51:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.”
Ps. 57:1 “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”
And so, realizing the high cost of our salvation, the infinite price tag that God paid for our redemption, we cry out with blind Bartimaeus, and with the sinful tax-collector, and with John the Baptist: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Jesus, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me! Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!”
Yes, the cost of our freedom was priceless, and Jesus paid it all to redeem you and me. Hallelujah!