Alistair Begg Devotional

Alistair Begg Devotional Saved by Sacrifice

Saved by Sacrifice

Saved by Sacrifice

The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

What happens in Communion? Why do Christians eat the bread and drink from the cup?

As we seek to answer these questions, not many of us think to look back to Moses. If we stand too close to his story, all we’ll have is a truncated view of the bulrushes, burning bush, and plagues. But if we step far enough back, we will see and be able to share the glory of God’s big picture.

To set in motion the exodus of His people Israel, God, passing through the land in judgment, sent the last of ten plagues on Egypt, and every firstborn Egyptian was killed. The Israelite firstborns also would have died, for they were not innocent of sin, and sin leads to death (Romans 6:23). But God provided a way of escape for them through the Passover. When the Lord saw the blood of a sacrificed lamb on a doorframe, painted up using a hyssop plant (Exodus 12:22), He passed over that household.

In the Old Testament, this passing over was the great act of God’s salvation. In and through it, God taught His people a vital principle: God saves by substitution. He saved these people because animals were sacrificed in their place. As Moses records, that night in Egypt “there was not a house where someone was not dead” (Exodus 12:30). A son had died, or a lamb had died. God’s people deserved death for their sins, but because they trusted in the sacrifice of another, as God had commanded and that God had provided, they were delivered. Every year throughout Old Testament history, God’s people looked back to this event and remembered that great truth: God saves by substitution.

All those years and all those feasts underline the significance of the moment when, as John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Here was someone who was God’s provision to save His people from sin and set His people free, just like the Passover lamb.

Israel’s exodus is a foreshadowing of mankind’s great exodus: when men or women, deserving God’s judgment, trust in the blood that was shed on their behalf on the cross, they find freedom from sin. Every shackle is broken, just as the Israelites’ chains were shed when they were set free from slavery.

Next time you are thinking about Communion, consider the story of Moses, the burning bush, and the plagues. Then connect the dots and remember that the reason we take Communion is because Jesus is our sacrifice. He is the Lamb of God. He is your substitute. You have no judgment to fear, for it lies behind you, paid and dealt with at the cross. You are on the way to the promised land.

head heart hand Going Deeper

16So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

The Crucifixion

So they took Jesus, 17and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.4 But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them,

and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

The Death of Jesus

28After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Jesus' Side Is Pierced

31Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

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Footnotes
4 19:23 Greek chiton, a long garment worn under the cloak next to the skin

Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.

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