In a time of need, Jacob (one of the many descendants of Abraham) had to move his entire family to Egypt. There he was received with open arms. One of his sons – Joseph – was an influential man in Egypt. That is why Jacob’s family was treated with utter respect and admiration.
Nevertheless, 400 years later all of this was distant memory. Feeling threatened by Israel’s explosive population growth, the Egyptian government sought to wipe them out by enslaving them.
Now it was definitely time to leave Egypt!
Israel’s exodus from Egypt was no minor event. In order to arrive at their destination – a region southeast from the Mediterranean Sea – they had to go through treacherous desert terrain and get past the Red Sea. With their former Egyptian slave-masters on their heels, the Red Sea quickly became a death trap. With their back against the wall, there was simply no way to go!
And Israel cried out to God.
All of a sudden, right before their very eyes, the waters began to recede. Bit by bit water levels decreased until they were able to safely cross over to the other side with their children, their flocks and herds. All of Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry ground! Well, so did the Egyptians, in hot pursuit of the Israelites, but they didn’t get very far. Soon after the last Israelite had set foot on the other shore, the waves of the Red Sea came crashing down; and as the water levels rose, the Egyptian soldiers drowned.
This was the day when the nation of Israel was born. A pivotal point in history for sure and an extraordinary miracle!
And yet, now the Lord says: “Forget this miracle at the Red Sea! This is nothing compared to the miracle about to happen.”
Can you see it? Sometimes we can’t see the forest from the trees. If every piece of information was a tree, we’d have a forest of information out there; thanks to internet access, all these pieces of information are at our fingertips. That’s great, but at the same time, that’s a ton of information to sort through.
To cut through this sea of data, I think it’s helpful to remember that there is one tree out there that matters most to humanity: the tree Jesus was nailed to. Looking to this one tree, Jesus’s death and resurrection pulls us all together and draws every human being to Him.
Regardless who we are and where we are from, we all seek our way through the wilderness of life, and in the end, we all die. The good news is that Jesus has passed through the impassable, and conquered the impossible: death – a crucial turning point for all people, since death enslaves us all! The tree Jesus was nailed to stands for victory over death and offers the fruit of Eternal Life.