Last night all over Israel, families sat together at Seder meals remembering God’s miraculous salvation of his people at the original Passover. Those thousands of years ago in Egypt, lambs were slain. Blood was applied. Sons lived. Slaves were led to freedom. That was not the end of the story, however, because around 1400 years later, Israel’s Messiah, the Lamb of God, was led to a cross. The Lamb was slain. Sinless blood was spilled. It was finished. The bondage of sin and death was broken.
In our modern day, most of us don’t have any experiences with sacrifice, with blood. We don’t fully relate to the Passover story. But, there are still a people who do. The Samaritans. Samaritans are a dwindling remnant, written of in both the Old and New Testaments, who are related to Israel from ancient times. They still celebrate the Passover as it is described in the book of Exodus. Each family, about 50, takes in a year-old lamb. Then, several days later these families all congregate, and at the appointed time the lambs are slain. There is blood. The blood is applied to their foreheads. Somberness turns to rejoicing for the forgiveness that they feel they have received.
I’ve attended this event for numerous years, and each time I witness it something new stands out to me. This year I observed how these lambs go to their deaths. Isaiah gives us a prophetic picture,
“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter.” (Isaiah 53:7)
With this verse in mind, I watched. Honestly, most of the sheep did not fit Isaiah’s description very well at all. They were greatly agitated, somehow sensing what was about to happen to them and resisting it. These lambs were not silent, bleating again and again as they were carried along.
There were a few lambs, though, who were different. In the picture below, you can see the first lamb being dragged forward by a handful of wool, but not the second lamb. No one is touching him. He walks towards the place of sacrifice freely. I’ve seen this kind of Passover lamb before. While I have no idea why, they seem at peace as they silently walk themselves to their death. These are the lambs that represent Jesus, our Passover Lamb.
The original Passover required the obedience of the people to sacrifice their lambs and apply the blood to their doors so that death would Passover them; but, the real fulfillment of Passover was about the obedience of the Lamb of God himself. At peace and with humble purpose, He strode forward in silence to accomplish the task he had been born to do. Obedience to his Father’s will is what led our Passover Lamb to his ultimate sacrifice.
“The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17-18)
Historically, there has been much debate and accusation about who is responsible for killing Jesus. The answer is–no one. No one took the life of the Lamb of God. He gave it! He gave it as a gift that demonstrates his love for all people. He submitted to a judgement he did not deserve, so that he could bring a deliverance that we don’t deserve. This is grace!
This Passover, let us greatly rejoice beneath the covering of his redemptive blood!
“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)