On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, 13 men ate the Passover supper. During the meal Jesus gave them a glimpse into his impeding death through the institution of His own memorial supper. Ironic! He who ate the Passover was about to become the Passover! Smitten. Slain. Sacrificed. His blood was shed.
The Bible says, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7)
The history of the Passover goes back to the 10th and final plague God brought on Egypt before Pharaoh released the Israelites. The blood of the lamb was shed and put on the two doorposts and lintel of the house. God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
That night God passed over the land. When He saw the blood on the door post of the Hebrews’ home, the first born were spared. But the idol-worshiping Egyptians scoffed and the next morning awoke to the stench of death in every home
In Exodus 14 God describes the specifics of the feast that would be celebrated annually. It was a tradition passed down from father to son to remind future generations the story of Israel’s deliverance from bondage. To remind them that they were God’s holy people.
Now, for the last time under Moses’ law the Passover was being celebrated. Jesus knew His time was near. The apostles were instructed to make preparation. Jesus was about to become the anti-type of the Old Testament Lamb. Consider these five similarities.
(1) The lamb was a substitute.
If you were an Israelite, and you wanted your household to escape death when
the Lord passed by, you had to kill an innocent creature. The Lamb died in place of the firstborn.
In the same way, Christ gave his life as our substitute. As Peter writes, “it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” – 1 Pet. 1:18-19
(2) Like the unblemished lamb, the Lamb of God was unblemished by Sin.
God said, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. (Ex 12:5)
When our Lord Jesus was upon this earth, men observed Him, studied Him, tested Him, and even accused Him. But when it was all over, they had to admit that the Lamb was without blemish. (1 Pet. 1:17-19)
(3) In order to escape judgment; in order to receive the saving benefits of the lamb’s death, the Israelites had to exercise faith.
They had to place their confidence in the Word of God, as it came to them through Moses. And they had to demonstrate that faith by doing what God instructed them to do. “By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them.” (Heb 12:28)
Because of our sin, we owed a debt we could not pay. But Christ paid a debt he did not owe – by going to the cross, and enduring the wrath of God in our place. He was, and is, our Passover lamb.
(4) The Passover Signaled a Deliverance from Bondage.
They were told to be ready to journey. They were to trust God. Depart from their homes, Leave what was familiar to them, and journey into the land of the unknown wilderness.
Likewise when we come to Christ, our Passover, we are delivered from sin. And we begin a journey from the bondage of sin to freedom in Christ (Rom. 6:14-23)
(5) Our Lives Are Not to Be Leavened By Sin
At the Passover, the Jews were to purge their houses of leaven to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread. It was symbolic of the new lives they were to lead as they left Egypt.
Holy. Sanctified. Consecrated.
It is not a mere coincidence that Jesus instituted the supper during the feast of unleavened bread. It is a symbol of our sanctification. In 1Corinthians 5 Paul uses the metaphor leaven for sin that can spread, not only in our lives, but throughout the whole church.
So remember Sunday when you eat and drink of the memorial, you do more than “take communion.” You share communion. Fellowship. Intimacy. And don’t forget the “Sunday of our Salvation” has been made possible through the “Friday of our Passover” Christ Jesus.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman