I am not sure what age I was at the time. I was old enough to understand, yet young enough to be terrified. It was that in-between age when fear and curiosity vie within you, for all that will entertain and interest you is the stuff that makes us.
This wasn’t like the time my brothers were watching Stephen King’s Carrie on TV, and all I had to do was walk through the room in order to be scarred for life. This time I asked my parents to rent the film The Ten Commandments for me, so I could watch what I’d learned in Sunday School come to life. It may seem silly now, but that scene with the angel of death killing all those babies really did terrify me as a kid. Just knowing all those families were losing their sons was a horrific thought to me.
Whenever I read the story of Moses and the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, I think about how that had to be a real life horror scene for the Egyptians, especially, but also for the Jews.They had to have known what was happening, given the preceding plagues. Familiarity with the story may cause us to forget those voluminous cries from mothers and fathers and siblings as the angel of death took life from home after home. That night all of Egypt knew what it was like to hold their dead firstborn sons in their arms.
But not Israel. They were saved from that misery, though the instructions for their salvation were also grisly.
“Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you” (Exodus 12:21-23).
In other words, the blood of the lamb on their doorposts saved them from death.
That terror that I felt as a child did not feel like a good thing at the time. But even then I needed to know what I had been saved from. These are not pleasant and beautiful subjects, but the death we deserve for our sin needs to be known and named. The horror of hell is real.
But what is beautiful is how Jesus, the Lamb of God, has taken away our sins. Just as the blood of the lamb on the doorposts kept the angel of death from taking Israel’s sons, the blood of Jesus on the cross gives us life and saves us from our sin. And the terrors of hell are no more.
Written by Matthew B. Redmond