By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
The tenth plague was the death of every firstborn male in Egypt. So that this plague would not strike the Jewish firstborns, God told the Jews to do a most unusual thing.
Each family was to kill a lamb and then smear its blood around the front door of their home. What a messy, bloody activity! Why did God want such a bloody act?
Because God was teaching his people about sin and sacrifice and substitution. He was teaching his people that sin is serious to a holy God and that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22).
God was teaching his people about sacrifice. Sin required a sacrifice. The penalty for sin was death (in the Bible, bloodshed symbolizes death). If sin was to be forgiven or atoned for, then a sacrifice must be paid. There had to be death, bloodshed.
Finally, God was teaching his people the spiritual truth of substitution. Because of our sin we deserve to die. But God in his mercy allows a substitute, a lamb, to die in our place.
But the sacrifice of a mere animal could never really atone for human sin. So the sacrifice of countless animals in the Old Testament was to foreshadow a Substitute who would come one day and really pay for sin. This Substitute was God himself, God in the flesh. Every lamb sacrificed in Egypt, along with every animal sacrificed in the Old Testament, alluded to the Substitute. No wonder that when Jesus begins his ministry, his anointed prophet John calls out, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus, our Substitute, dies in our place so that we won’t have to die for our sin.
All of this truth, about sin and sacrifice and substitution, was inherent in the bloody doorframes back in Egypt.
That blood, the blood on the doorframes, was the only hope for those Jewish families. The blood of Jesus, the blood on the cross, is the only hope for you and me. Precious blood indeed!