This week we read the story of the Exodus from Egypt and the victory at the Red Sea (Exodus 14), along with stories of the Resurrection and the Acts sequence. The Exodus is a long time ago – c1250BC, so 3000 years, when we find 300 a big gap. Can I convince you it still has something to say?
The Israelites were freed from slavery (still an issue), and given an identity as a people bound to God by a Covenant agreement. They had to learn – repeatedly – of God’s power, faithfulness, and ability to lead them. They might have learnt from the plagues which eventually convinced Pharaoh to let them go, but it seems they were always ready to complain!
So what is there for Christians in the old story? Well
- Easter is very much about celebrating freedom from slavery to sin and death. We have a Christian identity, and are part of a Christian family, because of the victory God has won without our help.
- Sadly, we often forget – who we are, what God is like, what we are to be like. We have Christian stories to tell, but they are sometimes left out, and sometimes we miss their relevance and significance.
- The journey through the Red Sea is sometimes compared to Baptism, or to the becoming Christian. In Romans 6 Paul talks about our dying with Christ to the old life, and rising to a new (quality and purpose of) life.
- Jesus last meal with his friends was a Passover (or very much reflected it – scholars argue the timing). Jesus took the story of the Passover meal the night of the last plague, when the Israelites were kept safe from the death of the firstborn in houses marked with the blood of a sacrificed lamb, and gave it new significance. Jesus gives the cup of wine the status of his blood – blood of a new Covenant.
So perhaps the Exodus story has something to teach Christians about Easter. The final point I find reassuring: the Israelites found it hard to learn, to keep the discipline, to follow their leaders. Perhaps Christians aren’t so bad!