As I said above, the Exodus and the subsequent Covenant are the outcomes of the plague stories.
A dear friend who is an Orthodox maharat explains the importance of the Exodus for Jews:
The memory of the Exodus is prevalent throughout Jewish ritual. For instance, when we bless the wine for Kiddush on Friday nights for Shabbat, we say, “It is the first among the holy festivals, commemorating the exodus from Egypt.” The Exodus is directly connected to being slaves [in Egypt], but has more of evoking the memory of suffering and the redemption from God than suffering and thus the call to protect others. Just about every holiday [Jews] have includes some reference to the Exodus.
Christians do not celebrate this holiday, but its meaning carries over strongly to Christian theology. As the lambs’ blood provided salvation for the Israelites from the angel of death, the blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God) provides salvation from death. Since the first Lord’s Supper was likely a Passover meal, our Eucharist contains theological elements of the Passover, as well as with the “blood of the Covenant” in Exodus 24:6-8 and Zechariah 9:11.
But Christians should seek to understand how the Exodus broadly informs their faith. The Bible scholar R. E. Nixon writes that the Exodus is "the great moment at which Yahweh is revealed as who He truly is....It is through this mighty deed of salvation that Israel came to know Him in his essential nature." Furthermore, he writes, the Exodus and the Covenant comprised the events that truly begin Israel's scriptural history, and by which everything earlier in the scriptures is understood. (3)
We find many references to the Exodus throughout the Old Testament. We also find many references and “typologies” in the New Testament: Zechariah's "Benedictus," Jesus' very name (Joshua) and parallels in his life to Moses (his endangered life as an infant, his parents' exile to and return from Egypt), Jesus' forty days in the wilderness (compared to the Israelites' forty years), the parallel between Moses and the mountain and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the parallel of the wilderness manna and Jesus' bread of life, and others. Even the preaching of Paul models the work of Christ upon the Exodus story; as N. T. Wright writes, "[In Romans 5-11] Paul has retold the story of the exodus, the freedom story, demonstrating that the Egypt of sin and death has been decisively defeated through the death of the Messiah, and that the Spirit is now leading God's redeemed people to their promised inheritance.” (4)
A look at Jesus’ ministry shows how his own “signs and wonders” proved his identity as the Christ—as the same God proved God’s identity in the signs and wonders in Egypt. Rather than signs of punishment, these signs were indicators of God’s compassion for the suffering. John’s Gospel, for instance, has seven signs of Christ: changing water into wine at Cana (2:1-11), healing the royal official’s son (4:46-54), healing the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda (5:1-15), feeing the 5000 (6:5-14), walking on water (6:16-21), healing the man born blind (9:1-7), and raising Lazarus from the dead (11:1-45).
Another connection to the Exodus is Passover (Pesach). The meal contains elements that recall the Egyptian experience. Because the Israelites could take only unleavened bread, Jews celebrating Passover remove all traces of leavened bread from the home. On the table, a vegetable dipped in salt symbolizes the tears of the Israelites shed in their slavery. Bitter herbs also represent the bitterness of slavery. As part of the Passover, the story of the Exodus is retold.
To summarize: the plagues made the Exodus possible, and the Exodus is the great “model” of God’s power and salvation---which we, in turn, count on in our faith journey’s through health and sickness alike!
1.How much do you know about the Passover holiday? Look up the holiday and study the holiday’s aspects.
2.How might you incorporate the Exodus into your identity as a Christian?
3.What “signs and wonders” might God be showing in our contemporary world?