Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

Passover or “Pesach” in Hebrew is a feast celebrated by Jews all around the world commemorating the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. But Passover and the story of the exodus have great significance for Christians too. The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Origin of Passover

The origin of Passover is outlined in the book of Exodus. God promised to deliver His people, the Israelites, from Egyptian bondage and slavery (Exodus 6:6). God sent Moses to Pharaoh, the King of Egypt with the command to “let the people of Israel go” (Exodus 6:10-11).

When King Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt: 1) plague of blood, 2) plague of frogs, 3) plague of gnats, 4) plague of flies, 5) plague against livestock, 6) plague of boils, 7) plague of hail8) plague of locusts, 9) plague of darkness and 10) the death of all the firstborn in Egypt. The night of the tenth and worst plague was the night of the first Passover.

God instructed every Israelite household to select a year-old male lamb or a young goat without blemish for a sacrifice (Exodus 12:5) and keep it in their house for four days. They are to slaughter the lamb on the night of the “pass over,” making sure that none of its bones are broken, and sprinkle some of its blood on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat them (Exodus 12:7, 22).

Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb

The Israelites were also given specific instructions on how to eat the lamb, “with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You should eat the meal in urgency for it is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11). In other words, the people had to be ready to travel because God will set them completely free from the Egyptians.

On that fateful night at midnight, God passed through the land of Egypt and struck down all the firstborn, both man and beasts to execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:29), and there was a great cry in Egypt for there was not a house where there was not one dead (Exodus 12:30).

But when the Lord passed through the nations to strike the Egyptians, He “passed over” every household that has the lamb’s blood on its door and did not allow the destroyer to strike it (Exodus 12:23). The blood was a sign for the Israelites on their houses for God to “pass over” them and not be destroyed. So in a very real way, the Israelites were saved from death because of the blood of the lamb.

Jesus became the Passover Lamb

Going into the New Testament, the writers referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Passover Lamb several times (John 1:29, 35-36; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6, 13:8). The significance of the phrase “Lamb of God” as it refers to Jesus is that He is the sacrifice for sin which God Himself has provided.

Just as each Hebrew family was instructed to select an animal and keep it for four days in their home to make sure it was perfect before sacrificing it to the Lord for Passover; Jesus came and dwelt among Israel. Just before Passover, Jesus moved into Jerusalem where the Temple was built along with the rest of Israel (The Triumphal Entry – Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; John 12:12-19). Living in Jerusalem before Passover was like the lamb living in the family’s house.

In the story of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22:1-14), we see a foreshadowing of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. At the instruction of God, Abraham took his son Isaac to Mount Moriah to sacrifice him there as a burnt offering to God. When the boy asked where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:8).

Abraham was willing to offer his beloved son Isaac, but God stopped him and provided a ram to be sacrificed instead. On a greater scale, God provided the Lamb for us – His own Son. Two thousand years ago at Mount Calvary, God offered His beloved Son to be the sacrificial Lamb for us; a sacrifice that is truly sufficient for our atonement (Hebrews 9:12, 14).

*Read the story of Abraham and Isaac here: When God Tests Your Faith 

Abraham and Isaac

The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices because at Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the Temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. But while those lambs were brought by men to men, Jesus is God’s Lamb given by God to men.

The blood of the lamb in the Old Testament did not only serve as the protector of the Israelites but it is also seen as the atoner for them so that they could commune with God. It is because of the blood of the lamb that they were spared from death.

Jesus’ sacrifice does the same for us. It is Jesus’ blood that atones for our sins and restores our relationship with God. Just as the Passover lamb’s blood applied to the Israelites doorposts caused the destroyer to “pass over” each household, the blood of Christ applied causes God’s judgment to “pass over” sinners to give life to believers (Romans 6:23).

Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament sacrificial system when He became the “once for all” offering for our sins (Hebrews 10:1-18). It is by His sacrifice that our communion with God is restored and by His blood covering that we are spared from eternal death.

Conclusion

The Passover was instituted by God to protect the Israelites from the final plague, the death of the firstborn. A lamb without defect was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel of the house, as a sign for God to “pass over” them, sparing the firstborn of that house.

Today, Jesus is our Passover Lamb who was sacrificed for us. Jesus’ death was the fulfillment of the original Passover night. His blood not only saves the firstborn son’s life, but every person who trusts in Him. It is because of His blood that our sins are forgiven and we are spared from God’s judgment – everlasting death.

As the first Passover marked the Israelites’ release from Egyptian slavery, so the death of Christ marks our release from the slavery of sin and death (Romans 8:2). While the Jews celebrate the first Passover as an annual feast, Christians are to memorialize the Lord’s death in communion until He returns (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Holy Communion/Lord's Supper

6 Replies to “Jesus Christ is the Passover Lamb”

  1. Thank you for your detailed scriptural outline of Jesus is the Passover Lamb, for me the Old Testament is just as alive as the New Testament, as I believe the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, amazing all you have to do is point out the scripture, as you have done Alice, and Jesus is revealed as the pass over Lamb that took the sin of the world upon him, thank you for your amazing article, and have a wonderful Easter, sincerely, Jack

    1. Hey Jack, thanks for your comment.

      Indeed, the Old and the New Testaments or covenants are interconnected. The only way for us to fully  understand the central message of the Bible is by reading it as a whole. Some Christians argue that the Old Testament is no longer relevant today because we already have a new covenant and Jesus has fulfilled the Law. 

      But that’s not true at all because many of the passages in the New Testament are difficult to understand and interpret unless we go back to the Old Testament. Such is the case of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ that took place at Passover. 

      Have a blessed Resurrection Sunday Jack!

  2. Hi!! I just wanted to leave a comment here to let you know how much I loved your post. I am a follower of Jesus and everything you said was right on the money. I grew up in a strict legalistic church and we observed the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread every year. So I understood what you were talking about. I have since found God’s grace and what the blood of Jesus truly means.

    1. Hello Lynn, thanks for stopping by.

      When I first became a believer in Jesus, there were a lot of the Old Testament Scriptures that I did not truly understand, partly because I never thought they were significant to Christians and so I ignored them and did not take time to study them. I thought that the Old Testament was only for the Jews and the New Testament for Christians. 

      But as I continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, I came to learn that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. So I really thank God for opening up my understanding that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament Laws, including the blood sacrifice.

      Yes, it is because of the blood of Jesus that we have been spared from death. Jesus died on the day of Passover to become for us the sacrifice to atone for our sins and reconcile us back to God. Sadly, many Christians today still do not realize how important and powerful the blood of Jesus is.

      1. If you believe old testament is relevant why don’t you celebrate the feasts and the Sabbath as Yahshua and His disciples did?
        Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
        1 Corinthians 5:8
        Those are Paul’s words to the gentile believers in Corinth.
        If you are a true follower of Christ do what He did.

        Luke 4:16 King James Version (KJV)
        16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
        Praise Yahshua for truth!

        1. Hi Alicia, thanks for visiting and leaving a reply.

          Yes, I believe that the Old Testament is relevant because it is the word of God; it is God breathed or inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). However, in the context of 1 Corinthians 5:8, Paul is not really telling or commanding the believers in Corinth to observe the feasts the way the Jews do. Paul was actually rebuking them because some of them are still apparently practicing sin — the sin of sexual immorality — and the rest are kind of consenting to it.

          So Paul was telling them to purge the sin within them (by expelling the immoral brother). The image here is that of the Passover supper in Exodus 12 wherein one of the requirements was that no yeast (or leaven) be found anywhere in their dwellings. Yeast is a picture of sin; it is small but powerful, it works secretly and it spreads.

          Jesus is the Passover Lamb, the ultimate sacrifice for sin and that is why those who claim to be His followers must stop living in sin and cut their association with those who are practicing sin.

          Shalom!

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