The text for this lesson is Exodus 19–20
- God commands that we love Him and others. He gave us the Law, and He gave His only Son to keep the Law perfectly in our stead.
- Law: Like Adam and Eve and the Israelites, I reject God’s Law, written on my heart and in the Ten Commandments.
- Gospel: In grace, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to keep the Law perfectly in my place and to pay the debt I owe for my sins by suffering and dying in my place and rising again.
- God delivered the people of Israel from centuries of slavery under the pharaohs in Egypt. Through plagues of blood, frogs, gnats, boils, hail, and darkness, the Lord worked to liberate His people, finally breaking Pharaoh’s will in the Passover plague of death. Freed and under the leadership of Moses and his brother, Aaron, the Israelites ventured into the wilderness. God further demonstrated His relentless power and love by dividing the Red Sea to give the Israelites safe passage and by bringing the waters together again to crush the pursuing Egyptians. Always faithful, God led the people by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. Patient with their grumbling, God met their physical needs through water from the rock and with manna and quail. Now, at Mount Sinai, God would tend to them spiritually, giving them His Law in the form of the Ten Commandments.
At Mount Sinai, God provides a clear parallel to Adam and Eve’s experience in the Garden of Eden. In Eden, God gave the first man and woman unmistakable instructions. He wrote the Law on their hearts, telling them what they could and could not do, so they would be righteous and have life to the full. As Adam and Eve had boundaries, so did the Israelites at Sinai. When the Israelites arrived at the mountain, God instructed Moses that the people were by no means to ascend the mountain or even to touch it, on pain of death. Like the Law itself, these boundaries were given for the benefit of the people.
Our Lord’s expectations regarding the Law are the same for us today as they were for Adam and Eve and the Israelites—keep it perfectly in every way and at all times. This expectation is not in place to rob our lives of freedom or pleasure. On the contrary, God gives human beings His good Law to protect us from the consequences of sin and to guide us in the rich, full life He intends. Our sinful nature is apparent in reaction to God’s Law: we grumble, chafe against God’s rule over us, and daily fail to keep it in our thoughts, words, and deeds.
In Jesus Christ, God’s Son and our Savior, we see the embodiment of God’s Law and its perfect fulfillment. The carpenter from Nazareth not only taught the Law perfectly, but He also obeyed it without failure or flaw. Jesus obeyed His Father before all others. He took time from His daily work to pray. He honored His earthly parents, never spoke falsely against another, and lived in perfect contentment with what His Father gave Him. Yet Jesus is more than a mere example; He kept the Law flawlessly in our place in order that God would count His life in place of our sin-filled lives.
Yet there was still the problem of our debt of disobedience. Here we see most poignantly Jesus’ submissive love for sinners. Having no debt of His own for which to suffer, Jesus went to the cross. Having a spotless record, Jesus took our sin-soaked record to the Roman cross, bearing its shame and death. Harkening back to the Passover lamb of Egypt, Jesus did indeed die for the sins of Adam and Eve, the Israelites, and all people. In His resurrection, we see that God has accepted His payment. Through faith, we receive the benefits of His perfect life and all-atoning death.