REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in God who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him and so your faith and hope are in God (1 Peter 1: 18-21).
Was Peter specifically addressing Jewish believers when he made this statement?
Every firstborn son and every firstborn of the flocks and herds belonged to God. In the old order, all firstborn sons were to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels of silver to the high priest. Firstborn of the flocks and herds were to be sacrificed to the Lord.
God chose the tribe of Levi to take the place of the firstborn when the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt.
The Lord also said to Moses, ‘I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine (Numbers 3:12)
God instructed Moses to count the Levites a month old or more and to take them in the place of the firstborn of all the tribes and the firstborn of their stock in place of the firstbor n of the Israelites’ stock.
The Lord also said to Moses, ‘Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their stock. The Levites are mine. I am the Lord (Numbers 3: 44-45).
When the Levites and the firstborn of Israel were counted, there were 273 more firstborn that Levites. To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs 20 gerahs. Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons (Numbers 3: 46-48).
In Adam we are all firstborn sons of God. As His firstborn, we belong to Him. To save us from being sacrificed as was the fate of the livestock, Jesus paid the price for our redemption by taking our place as the sacrifice.
Every firstborn son had privileges and responsibilities in the family. He represented his father in the family . He was heir to a double portion of his father’s estate but he was also responsible to be the mediator in family disputes, take care of any deceased brother’s widow and family, and to take the rap for a brother’s sins. He got the judgment while the second-born got mercy.
Peter used this aspect of God’s Law to show his readers that, as the firstborn of the human race in Adam, they all needed redemption, but not the redemption prescribed in the Torah. Torah’s sacrificial system was a picture of the redemption which Messiah would bring, not only the redemption from being sacrificed by the payment of a sum of money, but redemption from the problem of sin itself that was the cause of death.
Jesus’s death on the cross paid the price for sin, once and for all, and did away with the necessity for believers in Him to die. By dying, he conquered sin and death. He took away the penalty of death and bought us for God for all time and eternity.
Jesus said to her (Martha), ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11: 25-26).
Now we have every right to have the hope of being raised again from the dead, even though we will die, because Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and we are alive in Him.
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.