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Exodus: The Backstory of Redemption in Jesus
Jesus is your redemption.
How is it that we can hear the words that define hope and yet not hear the hope they offer? I think it’s partially due to a lack of context. You can hear the climax of God’s story — “Jesus is your redemption” — but a climax without context just doesn’t pop.
Know the backstory to know the meaning
Consider the movie The Return of the King, based on J. R. R. Tolkien’s book by the same title. Imagine you knew nothing of the story and all you saw was a clip with some hobbits clawing their way up a volcano to destroy a gold ring in its fire. A friend tells you that this is the part where they save the whole world, and you’re thinking, “What does a gold ring have to do with the fate of the world?” Well, it’s all in the backstory. If you knew the story, you’d be on the edge of your seat. When it comes to understanding redemption, the key backstory in the Bible is the Exodus.
Redemption from Exodus
When the New Testament authors wrote about Jesus as our redemption, the Old Testament story they had in mind was the Exodus, the prototype of redemption.
Christopher J.H. Wright, in his book The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative, says:
If you had asked a devout Israelite in the Old Testament period “Are you redeemed?” the answer would have been a most definite yes. And if you had asked “How do you know?” you would be taken aside to sit down somewhere while your friend recounted a long and exciting story—the story of the Exodus. For indeed it is the Exodus that provided the primary model of God’s idea of redemption, not just in the Old Testament but even in the New, where it is used as one of the keys to understanding the meaning of the cross of Christ.
Read Exodus expecting fresh insight into the truth that Jesus is your redemption.
Exodus is more than one story of redemption; it also points to the larger story of redemption. Wright also says in his book Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament:
[The Exodus] points beyond itself to a greater need for deliverance from the totality of evil and restoration to relationship with God than it achieved by itself. Such a deliverance was accomplished by Jesus Christ in his death and resurrection.”
Read Exodus looking for Jesus
Read Exodus expecting fresh insight into the truth that Jesus is your redemption. Immerse yourself in the drama as you would with any good story. Identify with the characters and the situations they faced. Encounter your Redeemer—not an abstract religious concept but a compassionate, powerful, steadfast, loving, and personal God who pursues and redeems his people.
Taken from Redemption by Mike Wilkerson, copyright © 2011. Used by permission of Crossway, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org. Redemption applies the Bible’s exodus story to the urgent need we all have for redemption in the midst of all kinds of life-dominating struggles, especially addictions and the wounds of past abuse.