Family Movie Nightmare: Jesus & The Passover
Family movie night in the Resch household is a thing. When it happens, we clear out the living room, lay a blanket on the floor, eat dinner in front the TV while we guard our plates from our preying 1 year old who will consume any food in sight that is NOT on his own plate.
Recently we decided to watch the Prince of Egypt for a family movie night. Before you think the Resch family is more righteous than we are, let me say most of our family movies are not quite so biblical. To the best of my memory the last three have been Homeward Bound, Flipper, & the Lion King (notice the strong animal themes).
This time however, I came across The Prince of Egypt on some streaming service or another and my 5 year old daughter was on board. She just so happens to be learning about Exodus in her school curriculum, this really couldn’t be more perfect.
And man, this movie really stands up well after 25+ years. The animation is excellent, the storyline is both creative and biblical (not always a given when Hollywood is involved), the songs are meaningful and catchy and the voice actors do an amazing job, shout out to Val Kilmer and Sandra Bullock.
Everything is going swimmingly in the Resch household on this Friday night. There’s just one small issue: sometimes stories in the Bible (and apparently Bible related movies) are more intense than I remember.
I’m specifically talking about THIS SCENE. (To be fair, it is pretty scary).
If you are familiar with the story of Exodus, you know what this is depicting. Here, Moses is discovering through the Egyptian art that Pharaoh had ordered the death of Hebrew baby boys, they were to be thrown into the Nile river.
We are now 15 minutes into the film and suddenly my daughter has both arms wrapped around me and is bawling her eyes out while she asks between sobs “why would they kill babies?” as she throws a look at her 1 year old brother, the “baby” of our family. Our daughter has a tender heart and deep love for her younger brother who she has seen grow from a baby to a toddler (or as we like to call him currently, a Master of Disaster).
“I think maybe I picked the wrong movie,” she says between sobs. I try to be a good parent, so I encourage her. I tell her it is really sad, but it’s part of the story of how and why God rescues his people and if she just waits a little longer we are going to see some really cool things in this movie and God is going to free his people and the good guys will win.
We finish the movie and have a great time as a family. She loves it. I love it. Our son sits mostly still and watches, which is a major win. I mean the Red Sea scene at the end? Goosebumps.
Family movie night success.
Good job Mark.
Fast forward to 11:30pm. Family movie night has turned into family movie nightmare.
I’m down in my daughter’s room trying to get her to stop crying as she says over and over “I can’t get that sad thought out of my head. Why would the babies die.” She’s fixated on the image above, specifically the crocodiles. Which is fair. It’s pretty messed up.
I try to be a good parent.
Plan A: “It’s okay. I love you. I’m sorry you’re scared. Let me pray with you and I bet you’ll be able to fall asleep.”
11:45pm. I’m back in her room.
Plan B: “I know that part was scary. But did you know God saved so many babies?”
I proceed to read her the section in Exodus about the Hebrew Midwives hiding the boys from the Egyptian guards so that many children were spared. God protected babies, God loves you, you’re tired, let’s go to sleep.
I’m 0-2 now and losing the battle quickly. My daughter now says: “I’m also afraid of the white mist.” The white mist in the movie is the angel who slays the firstborn son of the Egyptians. She keeps talking, “it killed all the firstborn sons” and she throws a glance toward her brother’s bedroom door.
Total parental heartbreak. What have I done to my sweet, sensitive, sibling and animal loving daughter. Why didn’t we just watch the Emperor’s New Groove!?
Eventually children were comforted (I can neither confirm nor deny the use of sleep aid gummies), tears were dried, and most of the family slept. Everything is good. This really got me thinking.
Violence in the Bible: Sin’s Stronghold
The Bible really is at times dark, violent, and uncomfortable. Because of Adam’s sin in the garden, sin and death have spread throughout the entire creation (Romans 5:12). The world is really a broken place. So broken that things like genocide happen. As much as we may be tempted to sugar coat some things, the Bible never gives an unrealistic picture of our world.
Mankind is just as broken and desperate and troubled today as it was when Pharaoh ordered the mass execution of Hebrew boys. Sin is rampant, evil is widespread, and our world is utterly ravaged by the effects of sin and death.
The Prince of Egypt (and the news today) can be a sobering reminder that we are not okay. That this world needs to be rescued from the clutches of sin and death.
Jesus & The Passover
As intense as the story of Exodus is I couldn’t help but watch the Prince of Egypt and think about the rest of the story.
The stories in the Bible are intended to be seen in light of the whole thing. Let’s look at it:
- God’s people are enslaved by the Egyptians.
- God’s people need saving.
- They are unable to rescue themselves.
- God sees the need of his people and he acts.
- God sends Moses.
- God brings judgement on the Egyptians.
- The firstborn of the Egyptians dies.
- God’s people are set free (passed over by the blood of the lamb on the wooden doorposts)
Where else do we see these themes?
- People are enslaved by sin and death.
- We need to be saved.
- We are unable to rescue ourselves.
- God sees the need and he acts.
- God sends Jesus.
This is where we begin to see a beautiful departure from the previous story. In Exodus, God sends judgement upon the Egyptians but this time around God steps in and takes the judgment upon himself.
- God steps in and takes the judgment on himself.
- The firstborn of God dies (and rises again!)
- God’s people are set free (passed over by the blood of Jesus on the wooden cross)
Why is this? You see the Egyptians were the enemies of God’s people, but they were not the ultimate and final enemy. The enemy is inside of us, it is the sin we are infected with, it is the nature we have and the choices we have made that are contrary to God.
James 4:4 – Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
You and I have befriended the world. By our desires, our thoughts, our actions, we have all chosen things in the world over God and therefore made ourselves enemies of God. You see when we compare ourselves to the story of Exodus we are equal parts the Israelites AND the Egyptians.
Jesus came to rescue God’s people and defeat the enemies of God. But how could he defeat the enemies of God without destroying you and I?
In Exodus God struck down the firstborn of his enemy, to free his people but one day he would send his firstborn, to be struck down, to make his enemies his own people.
You see the only way Jesus could defeat the power of sin and death and evil without defeating us is by taking our place as an innocent substitute. He paid the price to free us, he took the punishment we deserve, he paid the price of freedom for us, slaves not of Egypt but of sin. And then he conquers the grave and disarms all the powers of evil and darkness by rising again from the grave as our victorious champion (Colossians 2:13-15).
All who believe and hope in Jesus are raised with him to new life. If we read the gospels and the story of the crucifixion, it is no accident that the biblical authors make note of the time of year.
John 19:14-16 – Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Passover was the holiday celebrated and remembering the rescue of God’s people from the Egyptians. The Jews would pause and remember that God had passed over them and brought judgment against their enemies to rescue them. The Passover was always meant to point to something greater. Moses is not the ultimate hero of the Prince of Egypt, instead he is a picture of the truer and better Prince, the Lamb who would be slain. We are now safe and secure because of Christ, our Passover Lamb.
1 Corinthians 5:7 – Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.