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A Blood Bath

A Blood Bath

Exodus 12:29

At midnight, the LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on the throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.

Speaking of firstborns, my seven-year-old son Micah has a really sensitive heart. Last spring, a house wren made her nest as per usual in the wreath outside our front door, laid a few eggs, and, in time, we watched one of them hatch. It was pretty cute, but after a couple days, we went outside and discovered that the baby bird had died. Now—as an aside—when I was a kid, I lost a pet parakeet named Runaway, and it crushed me. We held a burial for Runaway and I wrote a two-page poem in her honor. But this wren wasn’t Runaway. We’d barely known it—hadn’t even given it a name in fact. So, to me, it was just like every other dead animal on the side of the road. But not to Micah. He cried and cried and cried as if he’d lost his favorite pet. Every time he looked at the empty wreath, even days later, the thought of death still filled him with sadness.

That’s why I can’t really read Scriptures like Exodus 12:25 to him without being willing to roll up my sleeves and offer consolation for his grief. He knows that ‘the wages of sin is death,’ and he embraces the fact that ‘it is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment,’ but it still stings his little heart to see it. And I’ve learned something from both my son’s sensitivity and my wife’s tender comfort for him; I’ve learned that the shortest verse in all the Bible, ‘Jesus wept,’ is the deepest. Because even though our Lord knew He was about to raise His friend Lazarus from the dead, the pain of death still broke His heart. Which leads me to marvel: does death hurt God more than it hurts us?

Friend, I could preach from this passage how God is no respecter of persons, how kings in palaces can’t buy Him off and slaves in dungeons can’t play the victim; but I’m struck more by the thought that tears can’t save sinners—not even God’s tears. But blood can. And there’s enough blood in our Redeemer’s heart to bathe the whole world.