Keys to Teaching Christ in Exodus
The book of Exodus is often viewed as an action packed narrative that recounts the story of a brutalized people who are saved from slavery, and saved to a life of obedience in response to their salvation. The story is instructive, because salvation is not complete without both parts.
However, Israel stumbles along in like a toddler often failing in their obedience. Their leader Moses is often depicted in his weakness rather than his strength. This is why it's important to read Exodus in light of the entirely of God’s word, culminating in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
From Chaos and Judgment to Order and Restoration
In Exodus 7-12, the plagues of Egypt represent the undoing of creation, and the horror of the plagues points forward to the warning for the wicked, when Christ returns and judgment will be released upon the earth. The plagues also function to point forward to the hope of the righteous, that God will establish a new creation, never to be plagued again.
From Passover to Lord’s Supper
In Exodus 12 Israel is instructed to observe the Passover meal in order to remember God’s saving work on their behalf in delivering them from Egypt. Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper at Passover, as a new covenant meal to remember his work in delivering them from sin and death.
From Faithless to Faithful
In Exodus 16, Israel proves to be faithless as they journey through the wilderness. But, Jesus Christ, is the true and greater Israelite who never doubted God’s provision. Where Israel failed in their 40 year wilderness testing, Jesus remained faithful in his 40 days of wilderness testing. In Exodus 20, God gives Israel the law to demonstrate what a faithful life looks like before him, and to serve as a witness to the world. As Christians we know that Jesus came to fulfill the law for us by living in perfect obedience to God’s law as the perfect son. He is our righteousness, and he is what we witness to as we are sent into the world.
From Concealed to Revealed
In Exodus 39-40, Moses was unable to see the glory of the Lord, because no one can see God and live. In Luke 9:28-36, you see that Moses’ longings to fully see the glory of God, are revealed in the transfiguration of Christ Jesus. One day, we will also see God face to face when Jesus returns and we see him as he is.
Jesus is Our Deliverer
In Exodus 3 God sends Moses to deliver his people from slavery in Egypt by exodus, foreshadowing the sending of Christ to deliver people from slavery to sin. In fact, Jesus death is called an exodus (departure) in Luke 9:31 indicating the inauguration of a new Exodus. The author of Hebrews not only refers to Jesus as the founder of salvation (pioneer), He also brings the new covenant people into glory (2:10). The imagery of Jesus pioneering our salvation hints back to the Old Testament of those who led the Israelites through the wilderness. Jesus is the true and greater Moses who delivers all of His people into God’s rest.
Jesus is Our Mediator
In Exodus 7 and 32, we see Moses function as a mediator between God and Israel. In the same way, Christ becomes the mediator between God and man. A mediator stands in the gap speaking on behalf of both sides. When Christ said he was greater than Moses, he was stating that He, like Moses stands in the gap – turning God's wrath away from His people.
Jesus is Our Passover Lamb
In exodus 12, Egypt is judged with death, and the spotless lamb is judged in the place of as death passes over Hebrew homes. Specifically, the blood spread on the doorway of the houses of Israel served as both a sign that they were the Lord’s beloved people and a seal of His protection from the last deadly plague. In the New Testament, Jesus is presented as our “Passover lamb”, who was without blemish. Thus, the New Testament teaches that “in Christ” the church is presented as spotless and without blemish.
Jesus is Our Manna from Heaven
While Israel journeyed through the wilderness in Exodus 16, God provided manna to sustain their lives. Jesus not only points to the manna like sign of provision after he feeds the five thousand (John 6:41, 43-58), he also applies this principle to himself by declaring that is “…the bread that came down from heaven”. The Israelites ate the manna and still died, however, those who feast on Christ will live forever (John 6:44-51).
Jesus is God Among Us
In Exodus 14, God is present with Israel as they journey through the wilderness. This points forward to his presence in Christ, who will never leave or forsake us. In Exodus 25 and 31, God gave Israel instructions to build the tabernacle. Remember when God promised that Israel would not leave Egypt empty handed? (3:21-22) In his divine provision, God provided these elements to build the tabernacle before Israel knew what they would be used for. God provided what they needed to build a suitable place for Him to dwell among them. And yet, the tabernacle and temples pointed to a greater reality: with the coming of Jesus, God had come to dwell, according to John 1:14 —to “tabernacle”—among us.
Exalting Jesus in Exodus by Tony Merida
The Unfolding Mystery by Edmund Clowney
According to Plan by Graeme Goldsworthy
New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, edited by Rosner, Alexander, Goldsworthy, and Carson
A House for My Name by Peter Leithart
Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy
It is vital that we understand the place given to certain key figures, such as Moses, and the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Their ultimate significance is not in their service as examples of godliness and faith, but rather as signposts revealing and foreshadowing the nature and work of Christ.
This is why Jesus was often described as a prophet greater than Moses (Acts 3:22, 7:37; Hebrews 3:3). Jesus, was also God’s perfect son who accomplished what Israel (God’s son, Exodus 4:22-23) failed to do.