Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but during the night He would go out and spend it on the mount called “of Olives.” And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was drawing near. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.
By Wednesday the Sanhedrin is plotting to find a way to kill Jesus. Matthew and Mark record that they wanted to do it after Passover because they were afraid the crowds would riot. Thomas and Gundry write:
“Their schedule of action was accelerated, however, when they received an unexpected offer of cooperation from one of the twelve…This enabled them to arrest Jesus privately…In this way God’s predetermined schedule for the Lamb of God to be slain on the Passover, and not after, (Matt. 26:2) was kept.”1
Exodus 11–12 describes the last of the ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt. The final plague is also the best known of the ten—the death of the firstborn of both people and cattle.
In Exodus 11 and 12, God gave explicit instructions for the first Passover: the Hebrews were to put the blood of a slain, unblemished male lamb on the two doorposts and lintel of their homes.
Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.
It is no coincidence that Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Passover, because the Passover lamb of Exodus was a type of Jesus Christ. Indeed, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Apostle Paul calls Jesus our Passover Lamb, and in Revelation Jesus is called the Lamb twenty-seven times!
If you’re unfamiliar with the terms type and antitype, Edmund Clowney explains them as anticipations of God’s final salvation in Christ in his discussion of Peter’s reference to Noah in 1 Peter 3:
“Peter continues to relate the time of Noah to that of the church by appealing to typology. The inspired authors of the New Testament find in the Old Testament history not merely instances of God’s saving power, but also anticipations of his final salvation in Christ. By providing the ark, God saved Noah and his family from the judgment of the flood. That deliverance, however, did not in itself give eternal life to the eight persons that were spared. Like the exodus liberation, it was a symbol of God’s final salvation from all sin and death. Peter uses the term ‘antitype’ to describe the relation of the new to the old. (3:21; NIV’s verb symbolizes translates the Greek noun antitypos). This use of ‘type’ and ‘antitype’ is itself figurative, drawn from the striking of coins or the impression of seals. ‘Type’ describes either a matrix from which an impression is made or an image created. In the letter to the Hebrews, the typology is vertical. That is, the heavenly realities are called the ‘type’ and the earthly symbolizes the ‘antitype’. The tabernacle in the wilderness was therefore the antitype of the heavenly sanctuary. In Paul’s letters and here in 1 Peter, the typology is horizontal in history: the Old Testament is the type, and therefore Christ’s fulfillment is the antitype.”2
The Passover lamb anticipated the Lamb of God. The Passover lamb was slain so that God would pass over the people of a house marked with blood and not visit them with a judgment of death. This week we remember the death of the Lord Jesus for His people and celebrate His Resurrection. God passes over those who believe in His Son and does not visit us with the judgment we deserve for our sins because Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, was slain for us.
James Tissot, The Signs on the Door.
J. M. W. Turner, First Born Plague
Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Death of the Pharaoh’s firstborn son (Ex. 12:29).
Francisco de Zurbarán, Agnus Dei.
LSB: Legacy Standard Bible New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (Steadfast Bibles, Irvine CA: 2021).
1Robert L. Thomas and Stanley N. Gundry, A Harmony of the Gospels (HarperSanFrancisco: 1978) 205.
2Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1988) 164–165.
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