Monday, October 05, 2009

Redemption from Slavery

We pointed out this morning that Peter appeals to Jesus as our Passover lamb, who redeemed us with His precious blood. It’s worth pointing out that in the Passover and Exodus event, Israel was redeemed from Egypt. But the Passover itself was more specifically a salvation from the angel of death. We might remember that early in the plague narratives, there was a distinction made between Egypt and Israel in the land of Goshen. But this did not hold for all of the plagues, and in the tenth plague in particular, Israel was just as vulnerable as Egypt. And this suggests that redemption from Egypt was not merely a matter of slaves being freed. We know from Joshua’s exhortations to the elders of Isreal that many of the Israelites worshipped idols in Egypt and brought them along into the Promised Land. We sometimes think that the Israelites were minding their own business, being good neighbors and the new Pharaoh was just a psychopathic tyrant. But there are a number of indicators that the children of Israel embraced idolatry, forgot the Lord their God, and were sold into slavery for a whole host of sins. Redemption from Egypt included being granted freedom, but it was also a cataclysmic forgiveness as well. The sons of Israel, no less than the sons of Egypt deserved death for their sins. But God in His grace provided redemption, providing the blood of a lamb without blemish. But this explains why Peter describes redemption as being saved from an “aimless life.” Paul says something similar in Titus 2:14 where he says that were redeemed from every lawless deed. To be redeemed in the Old Testament was to be delivered from slavery. But biblically speaking, slavery is more than merely being owned or ruled by another person. Slavery is a way of life, a complex tangle of habits, attitudes, and first and foremost sin. This is why Jesus has given us this table. Here we celebrate redemption. Here we display the Lord’s death until He comes. We display the precious blood of Jesus and we remind God and one another that we are freed. But we also enact this freedom. We begin to live like redeemed people. We do that as bless one another in passing of the peace. We do that as we hear the Word read and declared. But centrally, we serve one another in this meal. We give ourselves to and for one another. As we take in that great sacrifice of Jesus, we turn and offer our bodies to God and to one another as living sacrifices. And that is what it means to be redeemed. That is what it means to be the armies of the Lord. So come, eat, drink, and rejoice.

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