“‘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’” (Exodus 12:13).
Exodus describes nine plagues that came upon the land of Egypt because its ruler refused to let his Israelites slaves go free. At last, God warned of a terrible tenth plague: the death of the firstborn. God provided a way of escape from it for those who would choose to obey. It was simple: kill a lamb and spread its blood over the doorposts of the house, and those inside would be spared.
Exodus 12 takes 28 verses to describe what came to be known as the Passover meal and why it was important. This was the first of the numerous feasts God commanded the Israelites to keep. Each year, they were to take a perfect, spotless lamb into their homes for fourteen days. At the end of those fourteen days, each household would kill its lamb. In the first Passover, the people took the blood from those lambs and spread it over the doorposts of their houses. This simple act caused God’s judgement to pass over the blood-stained houses, sparing the lives of the firstborn inside.
There was nothing special about the blood of the lambs. Each lamb was a simple creature, with nothing magical in its blood to make God spare someone’s life. But God used this event as an annual reminder that the blood of the innocent can save the life of another. He put so much emphasis on this day because He wanted them to understand this crucial point. Their faith in obeying God by doing this unusual act is what saved them. It was a picture of what God would do thousands of years later, when He sent His Son, the perfect and spotless Lamb of God, to die for the sins of all people. There, the blood of the innocent covered the sins of all the guilty. They are saved when they choose by faith to come under the protection of His blood.