Jesus: Our Passover Lamb

From sundown yesterday to sundown today is Passover. (Note: For an additional seven days after Passover, the Jews were not to eat any leavened bread. The eight days together—beginning with Passover—were referred to as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In modern Jewish vernacular, the eight days are often all referred to as Passover.)

We read of the Passover in Exodus 12. As the tenth and final plague the Lord would send upon Egypt (Israel was enslaved there), he would put to death all the firstborn in the land of Egypt at one time, on one night. Through Moses, the Lord told his people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb for each of their households. They were to put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their houses. The people were to eat the flesh of the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The Lord called this meal “the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11). That night the Lord would pass through the land of Egypt, striking all the firstborn of man and beast. The blood on the doorposts of the Israelites’ homes was a sign for them, and the Lord said of it, “when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:13).

Exodus 12:14 reads this way: “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”

And so we do.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Bro, we don’t observe Passover. What do you mean?” (Sometimes people get worked up over this—thinking we’re not obeying the Lord by not observing Passover.)

Brothers and sisters, we do keep the Passover. Jesus has fulfilled it. He is our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). He is the lamb slain for his people’s sake (Revelation 5:6, 12; 13:8). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper on Passover (Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-20). That Supper is a fulfillment of the Passover meal. And so, every time we come to the Table, we are participating in the fulfillment of the Passover meal.

In addition, the Passover meal and the Lord’s Supper point to another feast we will all participate in one day—the marriage supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9).

In all of these ways, we will keep the Passover forever. It’s important to remember that the Passover happened—the way that it did—because Jesus was coming to accomplish the redemption of his people. It’s not that Jesus came and did what he did in order to fulfill the Passover, as though it is the point. Jesus is the point. The Passover was simply a shadow and a pointer to Christ.

The point of the book of Hebrews is that Jesus is greater than everything and that he is the fulfillment of everything that came before him in redemptive history. We don’t need to go back to the way things were before Jesus. It’s very clear in the context of the letter that when the author of Hebrews writes that his readers must pay close attention to not drift away from what they have heard and not neglect such a great salvation (Hebrews 2:1-3), he is writing about not leaving Jesus and going back to the law and the old order of things.

Jesus is greater. Greater than angels. Greater than Moses. Greater than Aaron. He has fulfilled the law. He has accomplished redemption. He is our Passover lamb.

Thank God for Jesus. Look to him today. Trust him. Rest in him.

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