By Rev. John Wilbur Chapman
In the twelfth chapter of Exodus, verses twenty-one and twenty-two, we find these words:
"Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning."
Paul connects this ceremony with us, for he says in the first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter five, verse seven: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
It is remarkable what light is shed on the New Testament by the stories of the Old Testament, and thus it is that the Passover of old sheds light on the doctrine of the atonement for to-day; for that ancient ceremony typifies the shedding of the blood of Jesus for us, making us both safe and sure.
It was while the Israelites were yet in Egypt that the Passover was celebrated, and it was while we were yet in our sins that Christ died for the ungodly. In Him we have redemption (I Peter 1:18,19): "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
In Him we have shelter from a doom so terrible that, when compared with that which fell upon Egypt, the trials of the children of Israel seem as nothing.
In Him we have a salvation, which, as John McNeill says, "speaks not only from night till morning, but all through Time's long night, till the eternal morning breaks. A salvation of which we get the beginning here through faith in the blood of the Passover lamb, but of which we shall sing throughout all eternity."
What did the passover mean to Israel? Moses said: "Draw out a lamb, and kill it"; and every Israelite must have thought: "If I am not to die because of my sin, then something is to die for me." Thus in the Old Testament sacrifice we surely get the foundation-truth of the atonement provided by the Son of God, namely, substitution.
If you take this thought from the scene on Calvary, you rob the atonement of its power, and make the death of Christ the most shocking thing the world has ever known.
The atonement of Jesus Christ is to be summed up in these words: "Christ died for the ungodly." He was as innocent, as gentle, as spotless as a lamb; "and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." But He was a willing victim, for we read He loved us and gave Himself for us. His work was not in vain, for "with His stripes we are healed." But as the killing of the lamb was not enough, for it might have been slain and the blood collected in a basin and a bunch of hyssop placed by its side, and Israel still have been in danger — the blood must be applied to the lintels of the door before the family is safe; so it is not enough that our Passover Lamb has been slain — we must by faith apply His blood to our own souls.
The bunch of hyssop corresponds to faith. Hyssop was a very common thing; it grew just without the door of every Israelitish dwelling, and all could secure it if they wished. Faith is a very common thing among men. Take the faith you have in your mother, your brother, your dearest friend, and turn it upon Christ, and it will become the first step towards saving faith.
Notice that God did not say: "When you see the blood, I will pass over you," but: "When I see" it. It is not our appreciation of the blood of Christ that saves us, but God's estimate of it. We may understand very imperfectly the atonement of Christ, but it was not meant for us to comprehend; it is for God to understand, and for us to accept. Dear reader, have you settled this question?
This is not all the Christian life. There is much land to be possessed, but alas! many stop here. But to continue here is to abide still in Egypt.