The Passover Lamb; An Old Testament Picture of Christ
“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
In our passage above, John the Baptist saw Jesus approaching from a distance and described Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” And it is in this beautiful title that we find yet another Old Testament picture of Christ.
To begin with, the lamb chosen for the Passover meal was to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5). Each family was to choose a one-year old male lamb without any flaws. This meant that the lamb was not to be diseased, deformed, blind, or maimed. The lamb would be meticulously inspected by the head of the household for any flaws. If a lamb had any of these flaws, then it was not chosen; for only a lamb without blemish would be sufficient. And so it was with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is the sinless and spotless Lamb of God without any fault or blemish (Isaiah 53:9). He was even inspected by Pilate and Herod, yet they could not find any fault in Him (Luke 23:13-15).
Secondly, though the lamb was to be chosen on the tenth day of the first month of the year, it would not be slain until the fourteenth day of the month. This meant that after the lamb had been picked out, it was to dwell among the people for a period of time. Once again this mirrors the story of our Savior. He was chosen before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20), and yet came down from heaven to earth to dwell among the people for a period of time (John 6:38).
Thirdly, for the people of God to be spared from the plague of the firstborn, the blood of the lamb had to be applied to the doorposts of their homes (Exodus 12:7-8). And if the blood had been applied to their doorpost, they were “passed over” and saved from God’s judgment (Exodus 12:13). And so it is with Christ and the salvation that He alone provides; for it is His blood that must be applied to the door of our heart in order to be delivered from the judgment of God.
Finally, God gave the Israelites clear instructions that none of the bones of the lamb were to be broken (Exodus 12:46). The lamb was to be prepared whole for the Passover Seder. Likewise, this truth can be said of Jesus. Though Jesus suffered greatly on the cross, He did not receive any broken bones. In the Roman execution method of crucifixion, soldiers would usually break the legs of the victim in order to speed up the death process. And at Calvary, the soldiers did so with the legs of the two thieves. But when they saw that Jesus was already dead, they did not do so (John 19:31-36). This fulfilled the messianic prophecy penned in Psalm 34:20 when David wrote “He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.”
We who are on this side of Calvary do not have to make sacrificial offerings in order to atone for sin as our Old Testament descendants did; for when the Lamb of God was sacrificed at old Golgotha, He was the final blood sacrifice that completely satisfied and appeased the wrath of God (Hebrews 9:11-12).
There is an old hymn written in the nineteenth century by John G. Foote and Elisha A. Hoffman titled, “When I see the blood.” It says…“Christ our Redeemer died on the cross, died for the sinner, paid all his due. All who receive Him need never fear, yes, He will pass, will pass over you. Chiefest of sinners, Jesus will save; as He has promised, so He will do. Oh, sinner, hear Him, trust in His Word, then He will pass, will pass over you. Judgment is coming, all will be there. Who have rejected, who have refused? Oh, sinner, hasten, let Jesus in, oh, He will pass, will pass over you. O great compassion! O boundless love! Jesus hath power, Jesus is true. All who believe are safe from the storm, oh, He will pass, will pass over you.”
May that be our song! I pray that the doorpost of your heart has been smeared with the blood of the Jesus, the Lamb of God. If you have not received Him, do so today!
– Pastor Eric