Echoes of Exodus in the Gospel of John

There are many echoes of the exodus throughout Scripture. But the gospel of John brings the exodus theme to a crescendo in the person and work of Jesus.

The exodus is a central event to the Scriptures. Not only are there explicit references to it in both Old and New Testaments, but there are many stories and characters that allude to, or “echo”, the exodus. For those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, the exodus becomes central to the gospel and the Christian life.

In their excellent book, Echoes of Exodus: Tracing Themes of Redemption Through Scripture, Alastair Roberts and Andrew Wilson provide a scintillating analysis of these “echoes” of the exodus throughout Scripture. The book is broken into four sections corresponding to four sections of the Bible. The first section tells the story Israel’s deliverance from Egypt that starts in Egypt and ends in the Promised Land. The second moves back to Genesis and points out exodus motifs already present in the lives of characters like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph. The third section moves to the rest of the Old Testament, focusing on exodus allusions in Ruth, Esther, David, and the prophets. Finally, the fourth section looks to the New Testament where the exodus theme comes to a crescendo in Jesus, whose entire life is exodus-shaped. This last section also explains how the exodus characterizes the church post-Pentecost and comes to its completion at Christ’s return.

The following excerpt explains why they view the gospel of John as bringing the exodus theme to a crescendo in Jesus Christ:

Jesus is the provider of wine for God’s people so they can celebrate with him, behold him, and eat and drink (John 2; cf. Exodus 24). He is the preacher of the new birth, through the waters and by the Spirit, and the bronze serpent lifted up in the wilderness, that whoever believers may have life (3). He is the fountain of water in dry places (4; 7). He heals those who have been week and paralyzed, hopeless and lost—one man for thirty-eight years—and gives them rest (5; cf. Deut 2:14). He provides the bread of heaven and reveals his sovereignty over the waters (6). He is the prophet like Moses  and the source of true spiritual food and drink (6; 7). He is the light that leads Israel, the truth that liberates them from slavery, and the “I AM” of the burning bush (8). He is the shepherd who leads his people out and protects them (10). He turns Pharaoh’s plagues  on their heads, bringing fresh water to the thirsty, healing to those plagued with sickness, light in the darkness, and life to the dead, ultimately through his self-sacrifice as the King’s firstborn Son at Passover. He is the true tabernacle, in whom we see what God truly looks like; the true mediator, who prays that his people would be united in truth and holiness; the true lamb who takes away the sin of the world (Echoes of Exodus, 129).

echoes of exodus

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s an easy read, humorous, profound, and powerful at times. The chapter on a musical reading of Scripture is pure gold. The authors do a superb job of showing how all the stories of Scripture are connected and part of one single story centered on the triune God. Pick up a copy today!