The Passover Lamb

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.
And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, who belonged to the number of the twelve. And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. And they were glad and agreed to give him money. So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd.
Luke 29:37-30:6 LSB

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

The Signs on the Door

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Bring out and take for yourselves lambs according to your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the doorway of his house until morning. And Yahweh will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and He will see the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, and Yahweh will pass over the doorway and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you. And you shall keep this event as a statute for you and your children forever.”
Exodus 12:21–24 LSB

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.

“And I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments⁠—I am Yahweh.”
Exodus 12:12 LSB

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.

“And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and I will see the blood, and I will pass over you, and there shall be no plague among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Exodus 12:13 LSB
Now it happened at midnight that Yahweh 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.
Then Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.
Exodus 12:29–30 LSB

It is no coincidence that Jesus’ crucifixion took place at Passover, because the Passover lamb of Exodus was a type2 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!

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.

On the next day, he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
John 1:29 LSB

Agnus Dei

The Signs on the Door: James Tissot. Public Domain.
First Born Plague: J. M. W. Turner. Public Domain.
Death of the Pharaoh’s firstborn son (Ex. 12:29): Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Public Domain.
Agnus Dei: Francisco de Zurbarán. Public Domain.
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.
2If 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. Edmund Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter (InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove IL: 1988) 164–165. See my post on Noah for a complete quote: Genesis 8–11: Flood & Fire.

Copyright ©2014–2023 Iwana Carpenter

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