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We is Greater than Me!




We is Greater than Me!

Matthew 18:15-21

Exodus 12:1-14


God’s people, the people of Israel, had been slaves in Egypt for over 400 years. And 400 years is a very long time... it’s nearly half a millennia... if a new generation emerges every 25-years (or so) we’re talking 16 generations (by modern standards)... do you know your family from 16 generations ago? Very few do.


And all this time, for four long centuries, God’s People were crying out to God for deliverance. Generation after generation, came and went, and the Israelites were still slaves.


But God heard their cry and called Moses, and methodically and deliberately placed Moses in just the right place, at the right time... to demand that the Pharaoh "Let my people go!" When Pharaoh refused God sent a series of plagues against Egypt. Each plague was worse than the last, yet Pharaoh refused to let the people go. The last plague would be the worst and would be the one that would break Pharaoh's will so that he would release the Israelites.


Of course, this was the plague against the firstborn of all Egypt. God would take the first born of every Egyptian family, but would not touch the Israelites. This was the pattern God had followed with the other plagues. For example, when darkness came on Egypt there was light in the land of Goshen where the Israelites were. When hail had fallen on Egypt there was none in Goshen where the Israelites were.


But this time, the pattern would be different. With this plague, God required participation from His People. God commanded the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb. Then to take the blood of that lamb and paint it on doorframes... as they feasted on the roasted lamb. The blood would be a sign that they were God's people. And God would pass over their houses and spare their firstborn.


But why did they need to give a sign? I mean God knew where they were. It's not like God needed someone or something to tell him who the Israelites were and who the Egyptians were. God had already numbered the hairs on their heads. He was intimately acquainted with all their ways… So why? Why the sacrifice and sign on the doorposts?


Maybe, just maybe, this sign was intended more for the Israelites than for God. Could it be that the people of God needed to demonstrate their dedication to God. Maybe it was all intended to be a sign of faithfulness… a sign of loyalty… a sign of devotion. A reminder that the Israelites were in fact, God’s People. A bold statement that they still believed in, and had faith in, God’s power to redeem His own…


We may think it strange, and a foreign thing to spread the blood of a lamb on a doorpost as a sign of faithfulness, and unity, and dedication. But we still need “signs” in our daily life and faith.


The fact that we gather together in fellowship and worship is a sign, in-and-of itself! We profess that were two or three are gathered together, in God’s name, He is here! God’s presence and power and glory are revealed in community. When people of faith unite in the Spirit and purpose of God, honoring Him in obedience, and glorifying Him with our prayers, presence, gifts and service… God moves. God delivers. God redeems.


Notice: God didn’t require just one of the Israelites to paint their doorposts red. He called all of his people to join in.


And He still calls all… God still call us, as the redeemed, to remember… to gather… to serve… not only as individuals, but as a community of faith… the Body of Christ… the Church.


The Israelites needed a reminder that they had been redeemed, bought out of slavery… and set free to be God’s Chosen People. And we need reminders, too.


That’s why we sing hymns, and retell the “old, old, story” week in, and week out. For as the old hymn says, “I love to tell the story… for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest!”


There’s life, and power, and hopeful assurance in remembering who and Whose we are.


And even though we no longer have the need to mark our doorposts with the blood of a sacrificial lamb… we do need to be marked.


We’re called to be marked by Christ. To take up the Cross, our cross, and follow in faithful obedience… sharing the Good News of forgiveness, and freedom from sin and death, with a world that would offer us slavery. Slavery to the ways of the world, sure! But even more than that… the world simply offers us slavery to self. And when we fall for it… when we take the bait... when “me, myself and I” becomes more important than serving the “least of these.” When “me” becomes more important that “we” = or when “I” become the focus of our happiness and fulfillment... when my personal preference or opinion takes priority over the Word and Will of God... I know without a doubt... I’ve missed the mark.


Jesus said that in order to find life, one has to lose it. Right? That in order to be first we must become last.


Jesus was stressing that in the Kingdom of God, which has already begun, “we” must be stronger than “me.” We can have our opinions and, Lord knows, God created us as individuals…


But if we ever hope to truly honor and glorify God, we have to learn the importance of community. The necessity of community. Both for edification and accountability and encouragement. God still calls everyone to mark the doorposts of their hearts with the blood of the perfect sacrifice, Jesus. And once we’re marked as his, we’re called to join together, in communities of “2 or 3, or more” to honor and serve our Lord, bringing praise and glory to his Name...


We is Greater than Me!


Amen.

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