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Jesus: Our Passover Lives!

All the Gospel accounts record that Jesus’ betrayal, crucifixion, and death coincided with the Passover feast:

“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, drew near. And the chief priests and scribes were seeking how to kill Jesus, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve. He went and discussed with the chief priests and captains how he might betray Him to them. They were glad and agreed to give him money. He fully consented and searched for an opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowds. Then the Day of Unleavened Bread came, when the Passover lamb must be killed. He sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat it.’… They went and found it as He had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When the hour had come, He and the twelve apostles with Him sat down. And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will never eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ And He took the cup and gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ Then He took the bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.’ In like manner, He took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you.’” Luke 22:1-8, 13-20

“When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement (which in Hebrew is Gabbatha). It was the Day of Preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, ‘Here is your King!’ But they shouted, ‘Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!’ Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar!’ Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away. He went out, carrying His own cross, to a place called The Place of a Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the middle.” John 19:13-18

Paul takes it a step further by identifying Jesus as our Passover:

“Therefore purge out the old yeast, that you may be a new batch, since you are unleavened. For even Christ, our Passover, has been sacrificed for us.”1 Corinthians 5:7

And although John in Revelation doesn’t use the precise term, he also describes Christ as the Passover lamb:

“I saw a Lamb (arnion) in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, standing as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of saints. And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests unto our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:6-10

The word employed here, arnion, refers to a little young lamb. The fact that John depicts Christ as a slain young lamb is clearly meant to portray the risen Lord as the Passover of a new Exodus of a (re)new(ed) covenant community consisting of both ethnic Jews and Gentiles.

The significance of Jesus’ being likened to the Passover becomes clear when we examine the reason why YHVH God ordered his people to observe it:

“Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying: This month shall be the beginning of months to you. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: On the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a household. And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to what each man shall eat, divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be WITHOUT BLEMISH, a male of the first year. You shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats. You shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month, and then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses in which they shall eat it. They shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire, its head with its legs and its entrails. And you shall let nothing of it remain until the morning, but that of it which remains until the morning you shall burn with fire. In this way shall you eat it: with your waist girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the LORD. THE BLOOD shall be to you for a sign on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt… You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. For on this very day I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an ordinance forever… Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Draw out and take for yourselves a lamb according to your families and kill the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin, and none of you shall go out from the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to kill the Egyptians. AND WHEN HE SEES THE BLOOD upon the lintel and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not permit the destroyer to come to your houses to kill you. And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance to you and to your sons forever. When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised, that you shall observe this service. And when your children shall say to you, “What does this service mean to you?” that you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our households.”’  And the people bowed down and worshipped. Then the children of Israel went and did so. Just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did… Now the sojourning of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, on the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be observed to the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night for the LORD to be observed by all the children of Israel in their generations… And that same day the LORD brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.” Exodus 12:1-13 17, 21-28, 40-43, 51

The sacrifice of a young unblemished male lamb, whose flesh is to be eaten, and whose blood was to be placed on the lintel and sides of the door, protected the firstborn in the house from death and resulted in Israel being freed from their enslavement, from their bondage to the Egyptians.

The Israelites were commanded to commemorate this event as a reminder of how YHVH their God ransomed them from being slaves in Egypt:

“Then Moses said to the people, ‘Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.’” Exodus 13:3 New International Version (NIV)

“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’” Exodus 20:1-2 NIV

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves, and I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk upright.” Leviticus 26:13

“But it is because the LORD loved you and because He kept the oath which He swore to your fathers. The LORD brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you out of the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:8

“For I have brought you up from the land of Egypt, and from the house of slaves I have redeemed you; and I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam.” Micah 6:4

Here is where the connection with Christ’s death lies.

Like the Passover lamb, the Lord Jesus was slain on the cross at a young age for the specific purpose of offering his soul/life as an unblemished sacrifice to God:

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

“There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all. This was the testimony given at the proper time.” 1 Timothy 2:5-6

“For you know that you were not redeemed from your vain way of life inherited from your fathers with perishable things, like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He was foreordained before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for you.” 1 Peter 1:18-20

And similar to the Passover lamb, those eating Christ’s flesh and drinking his blood are redeemed from their bondage to sin and Satan, having escaped death, since death will pass over them and they will live forever:

“Truly, truly I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has eternal life and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life.” John 5:24

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life. And I will raise him up on the last day… As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on Me also will live because of Me.’” John 6:53-54, 57

“As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you remain in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.’ They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s seed and have never been in bondage to anyone. Why do You say, “You shall be set free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. Now a slave does not remain in the house forever, but a son remains forever. Therefore if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.’” John 8:30-36

“‘Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps My word, he shall never see death.’ Then the Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham and the prophets died, and You say, “If a man keeps My word, he shall never taste death.” Are You greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets are dead! Who do You make Yourself out to be?” John 8:51-53

“Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to Him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to Him, ‘Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’” John 11:23-27

“‘Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, you may be also. You know where I am going, and you know the way.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me… I will not leave you fatherless. I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more. But you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.’” John 14:1-6, 18-19

“Do you not know that to whom you yield yourselves as slaves to obey, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thanks be to God, for you were slaves of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which you were entrusted, and having been freed from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for just as you have yielded your members as slaves to impurity and iniquity leading to more iniquity, even so now yield your members as slaves to righteousness unto holiness. For when you were the slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness. What fruit did you have then from the things of which you are now ashamed? The result of those things is death. But now, having been freed from sin and having become slaves of God, you have fruit unto holiness, and the end is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:16-23

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” Galatians 1:3-4

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, we should live soberly, righteously, and in godliness in this present world, as we await the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for Himself a special people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14

“We also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various desires and pleasures, living in evil and envy, filled with hatred and hating each other. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward mankind appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of rebirth and the renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, being justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:3-7

“So then, as the children share in flesh and blood, He likewise took part in these, so that through death He might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who through fear of death were throughout their lives subject to bondage.” Hebrews 2:14-15

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love his brother remains in death.” 1 John 3:14

Another point of similarity is that, much like the Passover lamb,

“In one house shall it be eaten. You shall not carry any of the flesh outside of the house, nor shall you break a bone of it.” Exodus 12:46

“They will leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they will keep it.” Numbers 9:12

None of Christ’s bones were broken when he was beaten, whipped, and nailed to the cross:

“When Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. Since it was the Day of Preparation, to prevent bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath day (for that Sabbath day was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Therefore the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was dead already, they did not break His legs. However, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. He who saw it has testified, and his testimony is true. He knows that he is telling the truth, that you may believe. For these things happened so that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken,’” John 19:30-36(1)

Finally, God’s purpose in the slaying of the Passover was to force the Pharaoh to set the sons and daughters of God free, since YHVH God chose Israel to be his firstborn son that would worship him:

“You shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: Israel is My son, even My firstborn. So I say to you, “Let My son go, that he may serve Me. And if you refuse to let him go, I will slay your son, even your firstborn.”’” Exodus 4:22-23

You are the sons of the LORD your God. You shall not cut yourselves or make any baldness between your eyes for the dead. For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, treasured above all the nations that are on the earth.” Deuteronomy 14:1-2

Likewise, Jesus’ death procured the redemption of the sons and daughters of the living God:

“Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

“Then one of them named Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, that the whole nation should not perish.’ He did not say this on his own authority. But being the high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but that He might also gather together in unity the children of God who were scattered abroad.” John 11:49-52

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of slavery again to fear. But you have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God, and if children, then heirs: heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us. The eager expectation of the creation waits for the appearance of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but by the will of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now. Not only that, but we also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves while eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For we are saved through hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does a man still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:14-25

You are all sons of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, and there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born from a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth into our hearts the Spirit of His Son, crying, ‘Abba, Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a servant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4:4-7

There’s more to the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, which we will unveil in the next segment of our discussion (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/06/isaiahs-sacrificial-lamb-has-come/).

Endnotes

 (1) The fact that none of Christ’s bones were broken also fulfilled the Psalms, which states that YHVH will not permit the bones of the righteous to be broken:

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. A righteous one keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” Psalm 34:19-20

Since Jesus is perfectly righteous, being absolutely holy and pure from his virginal conception,

“Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One who will be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:34-35

“In their synagogue there was a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘Leave us alone! What do You have to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God.’” Mark 1:23-24

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.’” John 6:68-69 NIV

“He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory. But He who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:18

“So Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me. He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him… Which of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me?’” John 8:28-29, 46

“You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Creator of Life, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.” Acts 3:14-15

“Which of the prophets have your fathers not persecuted? They have even killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, of whom you have now become the betrayers and murderers,” Acts 7:52

“Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Just One and to hear His voice,’” Acts 22:14

“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, and is higher than the heavens.” Hebrews 7:26

“My little children, I am writing these things to you, so that you do not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” 1 John 2:1

“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure… But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin… Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.” 1 John 3:2-3, 5, 7 NIV

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens, says these things:” Revelation 3:7

It only makes sense that this Psalm would find its perfect fulfillment in Jesus seeing that he is truly the sinless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

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