The Lord’s Passover
Through Moses, God gave instructions to His people to remember the Passover event. Every year, God’s people would celebrate the Passover in the same manner: selecting the lamb on the 10thday of Nisan; keeping it in their home for 4 days until the 14thday of Nisan; making sure there was no spot or blemish on the lamb; killing the lamb outside the door of their home and spreading the blood on the doorpost. This practice of lamb sacrifice later moved from the individual’s home to the temple in Jerusalem.
Exodus 12: 1-3 “Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
Exodus 12: 11 “And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.”
Exodus 12: 21 “Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb.”
Exodus 12: 27 “that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.” So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.”
Exodus 12: 43“And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover:”
Thus, Passover became a required ordinance each year. Jesus would celebrate the Passover throughout His life. But on this particular year at the “appointed time”, He would become the Passover Lamb.
We celebrate Palm Sunday as the Triumphal Entry of Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. But there is another name for this day that devout Jews called “Lamb Selection Day”. Lambs for sacrifice were raised in nearby Bethlehem, checked for blemishes and brought to the temple in Jerusalem for purchase by Jewish families. Each family came to the temple to choose a lamb free of spot or blemish for their Passover lamb.
After choosing a lamb on the tenth day of the month of Nisan, it would be taken home and brought into their house where it was given special care for four days. The lamb was then brought back to the temple as a Passover sacrifice. The lamb was slaughtered between the fourteenth and fifteen day.
When the lamb was offered on the altar and without breaking a single bone of the lamb, the throat was slit by the head of the family or by the priest. The blood was captured in a bowl/basin and was then sprinkled on the altar. The dead lamb would be placed on a hook with forearms spread out in crucifixion pose and skinned for roasting. Each family would then take their lamb and place it in one of the many ovens throughout Jerusalem. Once done, the family return home with the lamb in preparation for eating the Passover Sedar meal.
On this day, Lamb selection day, the Lamb of God came entering into Jerusalem on a donkey and the people recognized Him as the Messiah. The mass of people welcoming Jesus into the sheep gate, herald Him with shouts and praise repeating the word of the “Hallel “ (Psalm 113-118)
John 12: 12-19 – … the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!” Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
Zechariah 9: 9 – “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
A donkey was common for kings or important people. Riding into town on a horse was often used by kings in battle. A donkey represented peace and humility.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as King of peace and humility. Knowing full well what lay ahead of Him, He rode into Jerusalem as the Lamb of God spotless and blemish free of all sin in order to die as a lamb slaughtered before the whole world for the atonement of man. Jesus knew “the appointed time” was near when He would become the sacrificed for the redemption of sin.
The Passover ceremony is rich in symbolism of Jesus Christ the Messiah who became our Passover Lamb, a sacrifice for sin:
- The sons of Jacob became slaves and God brought them out of bondage using the final plague. His mighty Hand of deliverance protected them from death through the blood of a lamb. Jesus Christ became our Passover Lamb slain for our sins. His blood brought us out of the bondage of sin.
- God saved those who applied the blood of the lamb to the doorpost. God used the blood of the Lamb of God Jesus Christ to save those who believe in Him. Passover is a picture of the cross of Jesus.
- Man has always lived under the penalty of death because of rebellion against God. Only God could make the way for our relationship to be restored by applying the blood of the Lamb of God to the hearts of man.
- The Passover lamb was slain for the sins of the nation of Israel. The Lamb of God was slain for the sins for those who believe He is who He said He was.
- The Passover lamb was slain at 3:00 pm as the priest blew the shophar (ram’s horn). At precisely 3:00 pm as the shophar blew, Jesus declared “It is finished” and died.
- The Passover lamb was a “male without defect” and none of His bones were to be broken. Jesus was described as a lamb without blemish or defect and whose bones were not broken on the cross. 1 Peter 1: 18-19 “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or 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.” John 19: 33 “But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.”
Jesus, our Passover Lamb hung on a cross, took upon Himself the sins of the world, suffered in hurific pain and agony. And when He had accomplished what He came to do, He gave up His spirit and died after speaking these words: “It is finished”. He was laid in a rich man’s tomb and rose from the dead on the third day–just like He said!
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, would you accept “The Lamb of God” as Lord of your life now.