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This is one of my all time favorite pictures of my kids when they were little. Not all of these are ours, only two. The rest were friends who lived in the neighborhood. I think the thing that makes this photo so endearing is all of the smiles on their faces. They’re having such a good time swinging on the front porch.

The girl in the pink is my firstborn child, Aubrey. The little guy in the striped shirt is my son Brad. Both are married now; Aubrey has two children of her own. Brad is expecting his first child in August.

Exodus 12:21-27 (NIV)

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.

Talking about death during one of the most alive seasons of the year seems out of place. But let’s face it; the Easter story is about death. It coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover, which is what Jesus and his disciples were celebrating at The Last Supper, the Passover meal.

The whole story of Passover is shrouded in death. It goes back to Moses and a few days before the Israelites left Egypt. The final plague that Pharaoh brought down on himself and his whole country was a plague of death. The firstborn of every household was taken by the Angel of Death ………. except for those who followed the instructions of Moses. They were commanded to kill a lamb and paint the doorposts of their homes with its blood. Any home that had the blood on the doorpost was passed over by the Angel of Death. Thus where the name of the holiday is derived.

So every year afterwards, the Israelites celebrated by sacrificing a lamb to remember how God had not taken their firstborn children. The lamb was roasted and eaten at the meal.

It’s hard to miss the symbolism in this celebration. The Passover lamb – a sacrifice whose blood spared them from death. Jesus died during the Passover feast; the Jews killed the sacrificial lambs for the Passover feast. Coincidence?

I know how much I love my own children. The thought of losing my firstborn is hard to imagine. Yet that is precisely what happened to Jesus. He was the firstborn of His Father; he suffered and died. God sacrificed his own firstborn Son in our place, so that the Angel of Death would pass over us.

My mug is hot and full. As you begin a new day, be reminded of God’s goodness to his people. Let’s be thankful that death has passed over.

All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com