Love on Display

“The Signs on the Door” by James Tissot

“But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever.” Exodus 21: 5-6

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day and she asked me “If God could say one thing to us, what do you think He would say?” There are many things that we hear different groups of people speaking in the name of God. The truth is God has written what He wants to say to us in a book. The book is the Bible and it has one main point, “I love you.” He does not discriminate or play favorites. Every tongue and tribe is included in His love. But the words written in the Bible are not merely words, they are a detailed account of how He displayed His love for us by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross.

This time of year Christians celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We believe this to be the fulfillment of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Firstfruits. I want to take a more in-depth look at Passover, more specifically at the doorpost.

Let’s do a little back tracking and work our way up to the doorpost. The people of Israel were held as servants and afflicted by the Egyptians for 400 years. The LORD raised up Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. On the night that Israel was to be freed, the 14th of Nisan (aka Passover), each family was to take a one-year-old male lamb without blemish and kill it at twilight. They were then to take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they ate. They were to eat fully dressed with sandals on their feet so that they would be ready to go at the proper time. The LORD would pass through (hence the name Passover) the land of Egypt that night and strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animals. But all those who had blood on their door would be spared. Exodus 12: 13 says, “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.”

Passover is a picture of what Jesus did. He was the unblemished lamb hung to die on a cross during the celebration of Passover and offered up as the once and for all perfect sacrifice to deliver us from bondage to sin. Isaiah 53 says, “he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”

The doorpost is a picture of the cross. As we put our faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we are covered by His righteousness and freed from the bondage of sin. As I study some of the Hebrew letters and words, the picture of Jesus that is “hidden” in them constantly amazes me. For instance, the Hebrew letter tav looks like a doorframe. Each letter is a letter, number, and a symbol. Tav is the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet and makes the sound like a T in the English alphabet. It has the numerical value of 400, and is a symbol for a mark, covenant, or sign.

In Ezekiel 9 there is a story of a man in linen passing through Jerusalem putting a “mark” on the foreheads of some of the people. These people with the “mark” on their heads were spared when judgment passed through, very similar to the Passover in Egypt except everyone- old, young, women, and children- were killed if they did not have the mark. The “mark” was literally a “tav” in Hebrew. Anyone who did not have a tav on his or her head was killed.

Now this is where it gets even cooler. The “tav” of today looks like a doorpost. The “tav” of ancient times looked like a lower case t and is described as “two crossed sticks.” It looks like a cross! Just to reinforce, the doorpost is a symbol of the cross. When we claim the righteous blood of our LORD Jesus over our houses and have the finished work of the cross on our minds, we are numbered with the righteous and judgment passes over us! Even more, we are brought into the family of God and counted as sons and daughters of the Almighty God of the Universe!

So why did He do it? Why did Jesus choose to leave the abundance of Heaven, become a human, a poor human at that, and finish His life by suffering and dying on the cross. I am reminded of a song I grew up singing before we partook of the LORD’s supper.

 

Why did my Savior come to Earth,

And to the humble go?

Why did He choose a lowly birth?

Because He loved me so!

He loved me so

He loved me so

He gave His precious life for me, for me

Because He loved me so

Why did He drink the bitter cup

Of sorrow, pain and woe?

Why on the cross be lifted up?

Because He loved me so!

 

The scripture at the top of the page speaks of a Hebrew servant who worked for his master, and while in service was married and had children. He had the option to go free when his work was complete, but because he loved his master, wife, and children he chose to be taken to the doorpost and pierced with an awl, remaining a slave forever. Jesus Christ, who was and is God, took on the very form of a servant and did the will of His Father in Heaven. According to Matthew 26: 53, He could have chosen to forgo the cross and be rescued from the horrific death facing him, but he didn’t, because he loved his master (His heavenly Father), his wife (the church), and his children (each individual person). He chose to walk the lonely road to Calvary and be pierced, to forever serve as our high priest. Our sweet High Priest and King was lifted up, on a cross, on a hill – high and lifted up, on display for the entire world to know and see that God so LOVES the world!

 

Till Jesus comes I’ll sing His praise

And then to glory go

And reign with Him thro’ endless days

Because He loved me so!

 

 

Erin Warford