Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God

Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; Exodus 12:1-14

Scripture for this Sunday is: Exodus 12:1-14

You can read it here:  NIV2010

This is a third sermon in a series.

Link to the first sermon: Click here

Link to the second sermon: Click here

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The traditions and meaning of Easter go back for centuries and they are rooted in the enslavement of Hebrews in Egypt, the lives and ministry of Moses and Joshua, the transformation that happened among the Hebrews during their forty years of wandering in the desert, the conquest of Canaan, as well as the ministry, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus and subsequent ministry of his Disciples reaching all the way to our times, and our interactions with God and with each other.

As we prepare for Easter this year, I think that it is important to talk about the traditions and symbols of Easter and what they mean to us. It is imperative that we understand the connection between Easter and Passover. In order to understand that connection we need to understand the origins of Passover.  (This is a third sermon in a series)

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The reason we need to talk about this is because our minds have a way of making traumatic experiences seem like distant dreams. The more traumatic is the experience, the quicker the “paramedics” in our minds rush to dress the wounds, to resuscitate and to stabilize the victim; that victim being us as individuals and us as a community (Sheppard, 2014).

Passover is rooted in the traumatic experiences that the Egyptians and Hebrews shared in the land of Egypt, that the Hebrews experienced while in the desert for forty years, and the experience that the Hebrews and Canaanites shared during the conquest of Canaan.

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Let’s unpack all this. The last time we saw Moses, he was on his way to Egypt to face the Pharaoh and to win the release of the Hebrews.

I will not go into the minute details of everything that happened. We know that Moses and his blood brother Aaron (Exodus 4:27, Exodus 7:8) went to Pharaoh, and that Pharaoh refused to let the Hebrews go. We know that prior to the Hebrews leaving, there were ten plagues that fell on the land of Egypt.

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In the series of sermons that Jesus preached at the beginning of his ministry, that we know as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “He [God] causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45, NIV2010).

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From what I read in the Holy Scriptures, all inhabitants of the land (whether they were Hebrew or Egyptian) suffered the first nine plagues/disasters; the Hebrews were protected from the tenth. The plagues were as follows:

1. Water into blood (Ex. 7:14–25)

2. Frogs: (Ex. 7:25–8:11)

3. Lice: (Ex. 8:16–19)

4. Flies: (Ex. 8:20–32)

5. Deceased livestock: (Ex. 9:1–7)

6. Boils: (Ex. 9:8–12)

7. Storms of fire: (Ex. 9:13–35)

8. Locusts: (Ex. 10:1–20)

9. Darkness: (Ex. 10:21–29)

10. Death of firstborn: (Ex. 11:1–12:36)

To paraphrase Jesus, “Sun sends its light on the righteous and unrighteous, and rain falls on both as well.” Hebrews and Egyptians suffered during the disasters that fell on the land of Egypt.

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After the death of the firstborn, the Hebrews were told to leave. In Exodus 12:33 we hear, “The Egyptians urged [the Hebrews] to hurry and leave the country. ‘For otherwise,’ they said, ‘we will all die!’” Can you imagine the Hebrew’s terror when they found themselves between the marshes of the Reed’s Sea and Pharaoh’s chariots. They had just witnessed and survived the terror of the plagues. Now they had no idea whether they would live to see another day. I don’t know about you, but I am not used to seeing water parting and letting me to pass (Exodus 14:1-25). I am not used to seeing a wall of water on my right and on my left. Can you imagine the reluctance and the terror of the Hebrews as they crossed to the other side?

Sometimes I hear that Passover is a feast that commemorates the plagues of Egypt and destruction of the Egyptians. Usually it is told that God delivered the Hebrews.

The truth is that God did deliver the Hebrews. But that deliverance was not easy, nor was it pleasant. The events of that deliverance were full of fear, frustration and destruction for both Hebrews and Egyptians.

{Personal illustration of my “Exodus”}

The escape from Egypt was so traumatic to the Hebrews, that they needed to try to make sense of what they had lived through and what they saw. That is why God established Passover, to help the Hebrews draw meaning from their lives, to establish a common set of values and understanding, and to give them a common history, among other things.

Passover is also a reminder that the Hebrews were ordered to wander in the desert for 40 years, and of the Hebrews becoming something that they had forgotten how to be: a community with a common mission and goals.

What’s in it for us? What can we take out of all that and apply to our lives in 2014.

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Passover reminds us that God is the God of transformation. We see it in the life of Moses who was reared in privilege, and was willing to change in order to serve God and his people. We see it in the life of the Egyptians who were willing to go against their Pharaoh’s orders, and urge the Hebrews to leave. We see it in the lives of the Hebrews who were willing to leave their lives and their stuff behind to pursue a better future.

Last week it was said that the church community is like a strong tree whose beauty is derived from the continuous regeneration of its leaves, but whose strength comes from the old trunk, with solid roots in the ground. In the Passover story we see the community whose traditions and faith help it to create new leaves, new pages in the story that the community is telling to its neighbors.

{Illustration}

Works Cited

Sheppard, F. (2014, 01 24). I Traveled to Palestine-Israel And Discovered There is no ‘Palestinian-Israeli Conflict’. Retrieved 01 24, 2014, from Stop Being Famous: http://stopbeingfamous.com/2014/01/24/there-is-no-palestinian-israeli-conflict/_3308199.html

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7 responses to “Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; Exodus 12:1-14

  1. Pingback: Approximate Notes for Sunday Message; 2 March 2014; Exodus 32:1-14 | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

  2. Pingback: Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; Exodus 32:7-12,14 | Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

  3. Pingback: Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; Exodus 32:7-12,14 | Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown, MD

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  5. Pingback: Outline and Approximate Notes for the Sunday Message; 6 April 2014 | Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown, MD

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