Jesus: Our Passover Lamb
Things I’m learning: there are a lot of details involved in the feasts! I feel like I’m just throwing a lot of information out at y’all (and I feel like a lot of information is being thrown at me). But it also feels necessary so that when we get to the actual celebrations of the feasts we will have a good frame of reference for what’s going on. So we’re gonna roll with it. K?
Today we continue to look at the Passover. We will focus on the way that Jesus fulfilled the promises of Passover. Later, as we study and celebrate the feast itself, we will see how the elements of the feast point to Jesus, but for now we will stay more general, setting the stage for what’s to come.
The Lamb of God
Today, we turn our eyes to the crucifixion of the One that John the Baptist referred to as “the Lamb of God” who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
As we saw last week, the feast of Passover looks back on Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The feast also came to look forward to the deliverance that the awaited Messiah would bring. For those of us who recognize Jesus as the Messiah, the feast looks back on the cross—on the shed blood of the Spotless Lamb, which secured our deliverance from the bondage of sin and death.
As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:7: “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us.” Today, I hope we’ll see some of what Paul meant. May any understanding we gain cause us to turn in wonder toward a God who would do whatever it took to invite us to His table.
A Willing Sacrifice
Throughout His life, Jesus would have celebrated the Passover. During the last week of His earthly life, Jesus delivered the feast’s foreshadowed freedom.
The Last Supper (the dinner that Jesus ate with His disciples before He was crucified) was a Passover Seder Meal. Jesus acted as the head of the family and the meal proceeded in the traditional way until Jesus introduced the New Covenant toward the end of the meal. [We’ll see that in the feast itself—it’s my favorite part!]
After dinner, Jesus was betrayed and arrested. On the next day, which was still Passover (because their days went from sundown to sundown), Jesus was crucified.
The Lamb of God delivered us from bondage on the very day that the Jewish people were remembering and anticipating their deliverance!
Please don’t tell me God doesn’t care about the details.
The God who delivered the Israelites from their bondage always had in mind our deliverance from sin.
Jesus travelled to Jerusalem for the Passover feast that year, knowing full well that He was walking toward His death—toward the very reason He had come.
Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of Nissan, which was the same day that the Hebrew people had been instructed to bring the Passover lambs into their homes (Exodus 12:3). During the four days that the people kept the lambs in their homes, they would have been confirming that the lambs were without spot or blemish, as was required (Exodus 12:5). In the same way, Jesus was tested by the religious authorities, questioned and challenged by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the chief priest and a myriad of others. Pilate, the Roman governor who would send Jesus to His death, said plainly: “I find no guilt in Him” (John 19:4). (Booker, 40-41)
On that Passover day all those years ago, the Passover lambs were led to the Temple for their sacrificial slaughter, and the sinless, spotless Lamb of God carried a humble cross up a Judean hillside.
Jesus walked willingly to the slaughter, having said of Himself: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:7-8).
A willing sacrifice. Born to die.
The bonds of death are broken.
Sin loses its chokehold on a people bent toward rebellion.
As you reflect on and thank Jesus for His sacrifice, take some time to read through Isaiah 53.
On the night before their deliverance from Egypt, the blood of countless lambs was shed that it might be applied to the doorpost of the people’s homes. Fifteen hundred years later, the Lamb of God shed His own blood that it might be applied to the captive hearts of men.
By the power of His blood, we are set free from the death that sin demands to find new life in Christ (Romans 6:23).
Redeemed from death. Freed from sin. Passed over because of the One who came down.
We have been redeemed with the precious, imperishable blood of Christ—our Lamb without spot or blemish. (1 Peter 1:17-21)
Christ, our Passover, has surely been sacrificed for us.
Filling in the Chart
If you’re following along with the study by filling in the chart about the feasts, here are your three points for the Passover:
- Agricultural Significance: None.
- Historical Significance: Write out Exodus 12:27 and 12:51. The feast commemorates the Lord’s deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt.
- Redemptive Significance: The crucifixion of Christ. Write out 1 Corinthians 5:7. The feast celebrates our deliverance from sin and death by the blood of Christ, our Passover Lamb.
Celebrating Jesus in the Biblical Feasts by Richard Booker. (Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image Publishers, Inc., 2016.)