Christ our Passover Lamb

"Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it…For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord. And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and 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. Now this shall be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as an eternal ordinance". (Exodus 12: 5-5, 12-14).

"For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you." (Exod 12: 23).

"Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast…" (1Cor 5:7-8)

The account given of the inauguration of the feast of Passover comes on the heels of nine devastating plagues inflicted by the Lord of hosts upon the land of Egypt. Still not humbled beneath the mighty hand of the Most High, Pharaoh, king of Egypt, has yet to behold the severest of the plagues. Indeed, to this day, nothing of the like has ever been seen by mortal man. God had given warning to Moses what He was about to do:

"…Thus says the Lord,’ About midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the first-born of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the first-born of the cattle as well. Moreover, there shall be a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been before and such as shall never be again." (Exod 11: 4-7).

It is this backdrop against which the Lord gives to Moses the instructions concerning the institution of the Passover.

As we continue to read in this same chapter, God did indeed make good on His threatened judgment. The destroying angel had left behind him such a path of misery, ruin and complete devastation, that Pharaoh was shattered and gave the order to free the people of Israel from captivity. It is important for us to note however, that even in the midst of this incredible deliverance and despite the fact that the children of Israel had been exempted from most of the previous plagues, they were under strict command to slay the Passover lamb and apply the blood to the doorposts and lintel of their houses. Failure to do so would have brought about their own ruin. It was only as God saw the blood upon their doorposts and lintels that He would spare them. Otherwise, the same ruin awaited them as well. Why was this?

The answer to that is found in the book of Exodus, chapter 34.

"Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations’." (Exod 34: 6-7).

By nature, the sons of Israel were just as guilty as the Egyptians who had held them in bondage. The apostle Paul makes this abundantly clear in the book of Romans:

"What then? Are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one…’" (Romans 3: 9-10).

This is an essential truth of the Christian faith. By nature all men stand equally on the same ground. There are none that are more promising than others. There are none that have any inherently righteous qualities that commend them to God above their peers. All stand on the same ground in the eyes of God’s justice. There is no exception. Paul, in addressing the saints at Ephesus is careful to remind them of this fact.

"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest." (Eph 2: 3).

And again in his letter to Titus:

"For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another." (Titus 3: 3).

God’s own witness concerning His holy and just nature will not allow Him to "leave the guilty unpunished". Someone must be punished if God is to be consistent with His own justice. The transgressor must be put to death. The wages of sin must be paid. God has already clearly spoken such. Then upon what basis was He able to pass over the sons of Israel and leave them unpunished? The answer - the blood of the lamb. That and that alone.

In His great mercy toward His people, God graciously provided them a substitute, i.e., one which would take their deserved place and bear the punishment that they truly deserved themselves. The death blow that fell upon the innocent and spotless lamb was in effect a picture of their own death beneath the sin-avenging hand of the Most High. The blood of that unblemished lamb upon the doorposts and lintels of their houses was a testimony that a death had already taken place in that home. Blood had been shed and thus remission had been made for sin. In other words, the only difference between the houses of the Egyptians and the houses of the Israelites was that of the blood that had been shed and applied.

It was the sacrifice of the Passover lamb therefore that had averted the destroyer from his grim task. God’s wrath against the sin of His own people had thereby been appeased. This is what the Bible refers to as a "propitiation". A propitiation is a legal satisfaction rendered unto God that averts His wrath by satisfying the claims of divine justice. In other words, all the claims of God’s justice are satisfied for those on whose behalf this propitiatory sacrifice has been made. The punishment has been meted out and therefore God has not left the guilty unpunished for indeed they have been punished but it has been by means of this propitiatory sacrifice that is offered up for them. Now God can freely forgive them without impugning His righteous character. This is the essence of what Paul conveys in the third chapter of Romans as it relates to the great and perfect sacrifice for sins, that of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true Passover Lamb.

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3: 23-26).

This is the glorious truth of the gospel of the grace of God. God in His marvelous grace has provided His people with the Lamb whose blood has made a perfect propitiation for their sins. Divine justice is now completely and perfectly satisfied on their behalf. God has not left them unpunished. They have been punished but it is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered what was due their own persons. The retribution that is due their sins has been meted out. God’s righteous nature has been fully vindicated and it is now consistent with that nature for Him to completely pardon their sins and "pass over" them. The blood of this wondrous sacrifice now "speaks better things than the blood of Abel" and cries aloud for mercy to be extended to them. Hallelujah!

It is this blood alone that marks the difference between the elect of God and the rest of the world. It is through faith that they apply the blood of this Passover Lamb to the doorposts of their own hearts. This is their safety in the midst of the destroying angel of the wrath of God. Anyone found without this shed blood sprinkled by faith upon his or her heart will certainly perish without hope and without remedy.

"Much more then, being justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:9).

Take comfort child of God and run often to this "fountain which is opened for sin and uncleanness" (Zech 13:1). Keep in mind that it is the statement of Him who cannot lie who has said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you". It is utterly and completely accepted by God. Perhaps you may be tempted to say, "I fear that I do not value the blood of Christ sufficiently enough. I do not feel as if I esteem it highly enough." Away with such thoughts! Seek not to measure the greatness of its merits by your own mortal conceptions. It is not your estimation of it which gives to it its value or worth. It is the value which God Himself places upon which is all that matters. God did not say, "When I see that you properly value the blood I will pass over you." Neither did He say, "When I see that you feel the true worth of the blood I will pass over you." No. He categorically stated, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." That statement is all that faith requires to cast itself upon. Feelings or religious sentiment are fickle things and are ever changing. God’ Word however is immutable and faith will lay hold of this sure anchor and remain immovable when the soul is tempted to be tossed about by the winds of doubt and uncertainty and the pangs of an overscrupulous conscience.

"And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." (1Peter 1: 17-19).

"For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified" (Hebrews 10:14).

Have you indeed found refuge in the blood of this Lamb of God’s providing? Have you by faith taken of this blood and painted it upon your heart? Have you seen the death blow falling upon Him in your place? Have you seen Him "who knew no sin to be made sin on your behalf that you might be made the righteousness of God in Him"? May you then experience the peace that comes from knowing that you are reconciled to Him who will never condemn you.

Or are you trusting in your tears, your mournings, your repentings, your resolutions, your law-keeping, your good deeds or anything of your own to shelter you from the destroyer? Do not be deceived. You will find no rest for your soul in these things no matter how spiritual them may seem. Without faith in the shed blood of the Passover Lamb, you will find God to be "a jealous and avenging God who takes vengeance on His adversaries and reserves wrath for His enemies" (Nahum 1: 2-3). As the old hymn reminds us:

"What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus."

May the grace of God be yours and may He lead you into an ever-increasing awareness of the virtue and efficacy of the blood of the Passover Lamb who "loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood" (Rev 1:5).

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Pastor Dan

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