The Passover Lamb
I Corinthians 5 and Exodus 12
This is the week that Christians celebrate Resurrection Sunday and it’s also the week that the Jews celebrate Passover. Mary’s Lamb was a fulfillment of the prophecy of Moses’ Lamb.
The Jews were slaves in Egypt. God redeems them and frees them and brings them into the Promised Land that flowed with milk and honey. How will He deliver His people from the land of bondage and into the land of victory? He is going to do it with a Lamb.
A lamb is the epitome of weakness. When you slaughter a lamb, you almost feel guilty. A lamb just seems to present itself to death. As a lamb before its shearers is dumb, so Jesus opened not His mouth.
The lamb says, “Are you hungry? Eat me. Are you cold? Shear me.”
Pharaoh was a typology of Satan and Egypt was a typology of bondage. The emblem of Egypt was a serpent. Look in your history books at the crown Pharaoh wears on his head and you will see an adder…a poisonous serpent. But God delivers His people with a lamb…and it’s the lamb that will slay the serpent.
Look at I Corinthians 5:7. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” Passover was kept without leaven. I Corinthians 5:8 says, “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” Leaven, which is yeast, is a symbol for sin.
Now I want you to go to Exodus 12 where we’re going to look at the symbolic promise that was in Moses’ lamb, and the saving power that was in Mary’s Lamb. Look at Exodus 12:1-6. “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of the month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” Now look at verse 11. “And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.”
The first thing I want you to see is the character of the lamb. Verses 5 and 6 tell us about the character of the lamb. First, it had to be a male. Christ is the Son of God. Number 2, the lamb had to be without spot or blemish. It was chosen on the 10th day of April. It was examined for 3½ days. They would go carefully through the wool, they would examine the inside of the mouth, and they would even examine the eyelids of this little lamb. It had to be a perfect lamb…picturing the spotless Lamb of God.
Not only is there the character of the lamb, there is the condemnation of the lamb. In verse 6 it says that this innocent lamb is to be slain. The father of the family would pull back the neck of that little lamb and draw a sharp knife across its neck. The blood would be caught in a basin. This serves to remind us that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.
Some people say, “I don’t believe in this bloody Gospel. I just follow Jesus as my example.” Folks, salvation is not in learning lessons from the life of Christ…it is receiving life from the death of Christ.
There is the character of the lamb and the condemnation of the lamb, but then you see the confession of the lamb. Exodus 12:7 says, “And they shall take the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” They would take a common weed called hyssop and dip that weed in that basin of blood. Then they would strike the doorposts of their houses on the sides and on the top. In doing that, they would make the sign of a cross. Everyone that went into and out of that house did so under the blood. They were confessing that a lamb had been slain for that house. There was no way they could hide it and they were not to be ashamed of it.
Next, you see the communion of the lamb. Look at Exodus 12:8-11. “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.” Not only is the blood to be applied, but the lamb is to be consumed. It is to be roast with fire which pictures the Lord Jesus Christ who took the fires of hell for us. He did that for you.
Can you imagine what the Egyptians must have thought as a quarter of a million lambs were being roasted in one night? Can you imagine the aroma? While all of this is going on, a bunch of slaves are becoming a nation. They are feasting together on a lamb. The lamb that died for them is now the lamb that is in them.
And the scriptures said that they were not to leave any of it. So many times people want to leave a little of Jesus around. They say, “Well, I’ll take Jesus as my Savior….and later on I may make Him my Lord.” Oh, no! We are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ….we are to feed on all of the Lamb.
They would eat the lamb with bitter herbs. That speaks of the brokenness and bitterness over our sin. So many people strut down church aisles like they are doing God a wild favor…but they have never fed on the bitter herbs. They have never seen the hellishness of their sin.
Then it says that they are to eat of it with unleavened bread. Leaven is a symbol of evil. Not only are we to be broken over our sin…we are to be broken from our sin. Unleavened bread was a way of saying that they were done with the old way.
This is the first day of the new year for these people. They eat it with their staffs in their hands and with their clothes on. They are ready to travel. Why? Because when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ, that’s not the end of your journey; it’s the beginning of it.
When they walked out of Egypt and out of bondage, a lamb walked out inside of them. It was the beginning of a new life. That’s Moses’ lamb and all of this is symbolic.
But now let’s look at the saving power of Mary’s Lamb. The whole Bible is about Jesus Christ. Whether you’re in the Old Testament or in the New Testament, it’s all about Jesus. Moses’ lamb only prophesied Mary’s Lamb.
Jeremiah told the people that there was coming a day when God would make a new covenant with them. Jeremiah 31:31-32 says, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord.” He says, “I’m going to make a new covenant…not like the one I made with the old Passover in Egypt. Now I’ll write my law in your hearts. You’ll have an intimate knowledge of Me and I will remember your sins no more.”
The Jews kept this celebration every year. They’d take 3 pieces of unleavened bread and put them in a matzo tash….a bag that they kept the unleavened bread in. The middle piece was taken out and broken and given to the people at the table. There would also be a cup of wine there….and an empty chair. This cup would be Messiah’s cup. The empty chair would be for Elijah…the prophet who would prophecy the coming of our Lord.
They were hoping that Elijah would come and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” They would send a child to the door and say, “Go look! See if He is coming.” They still do this today. It breaks my heart that little Jewish children are still saying, “He is not yet come.”
John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah saying, “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.” He’s the Elijah who has announced that our Messiah has come 2,000 years ago.
There are several things I want you to notice with me about Mary’s Lamb. Remember that we had talked about the character of Moses’ lamb? Let’s talk about the character of Mary’s Lamb. He, too, was a spotless Lamb. I Peter 1:19 tells us that Jesus is a Lamb without spot or blemish.
By the time of Christ, the Jews had begun to raise Passover lambs in Bethlehem. That’s something, because God’s Passover lamb would be born in Bethlehem. In the fields of Boaz, they would not just be raising lambs for commerce, but lambs for Passover. A special breed of lambs would be raised right there. These were special lambs because they were born to die. They would bring those lambs to Jerusalem at Passover through a gate called the Sheep Gate. On the same day that the shepherds were bringing those lambs from Bethlehem to the temple to be sacrificed, God’s Lamb was coming through the Eastern Gate to the same temple area.
The people would be saying, “Hail Him! Hail Him!” But before long that same fickle crowd would be saying, “Nail Him! Nail Him!” Up on that temple mount they would be examining the Passover lambs to be sure they were spotless and perfect. At the same time they were examining God’s Lamb. Have you ever wondered why so much time was given in the Gospels to the last week of Jesus’ life? Almost a third of the Gospels are given to this last week. It’s the time of examination. He was examined by Herod, He was examined by Pilot, He was examined by Caiaphus and by all those who were there. They were looking for some fault, but they had to gather false witnesses because there was no fault in Him.
Pilot had to say, “I find no fault in Him.” They had to say, “Never a man spoke like this Man.” He was God’s spotless Man.
You see the character of the Lamb, but then you see the conviction of the Lamb. The people said, “Let Him be crucified.” The Jewish sundown begins at 6 p.m. The last old covenant Passover was conducted by Jesus Himself. He and His disciples are sitting at the table when Jesus took bread and broke it. Luke 22:19 says, “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
Jesus took the same bread that the Jews take today. He took the middle piece out of the matzo tash and broke it and said, “This is my body.” For centuries the Jews have held the Trinity in their hands without knowing it.
If you were to take a piece of matzo bread and look at it, you would see that it’s both striped, and pierced, and baked in fire. “With His stripes we are healed. He was pierced for our transgressions.” The fires of God’s wrath burned themselves out on the Lord Jesus.
They make matzo out of unleavened bread. With leavened bread there is always some of the old bread in the new bread. The woman of the house would always reserve a piece of the dough for the next loaf. Leaven represents sin. But when Jesus took that middle piece of bread and said, “This is my body,” it was unleavened. There was no sin in it.
All the way down from Adam, we have inherited the sin of Adam. But thank God there is a new Adam…a new Passover. There is a brand new start in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the New Covenant.
He took Messiah’s cup and said, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood, drink ye all of it.” The old Passover is finished.
When the New Passover was established He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, and from there He went to the temple mount. Do you know where He was crucified? It was Mt. Moriah. That’s where the Jewish temple was built.
Years before Jesus was born in the flesh, God came to the father of the Hebrew nation, Abraham, and said, “Take your son, Isaac, your only son…the son of promise, the son of miracle, the son of your love and all of your hopes and sacrifice him upon a place that I will tell you of.” It was the same place where Jesus died.
Isaac said, “Father, here is the wood and the fire, but where is the lamb?” He didn’t know that he was the lamb. But a broken-hearted father said in faith, “God will provide Himself a Lamb.”
When we see Jesus Christ go up there to Mt. Moriah, then we can understand what Jesus meant when He said,
“Abraham saw my day and was glad.”
There on Mt. Moriah at 3 o’clock in the afternoon…the lambs were there…and God’s Lamb was there. The priests took their lethal knives and cut the throats of those lambs and the blood began to flow. God’s Lamb is hanging on the cross. The sun hides its face and it becomes as dark as midnight. God’s Lamb cries out, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?” I’ll tell you why…it was because He was bearing my sin and your sin. God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity and He had to turn His face away from His Son who bears all our sin.
Jesus cries out, “It is finished.” Levites, you can go home now. Lambs, your job is over….we don’t need you anymore. That was all a picture. John the Baptist declared, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
We see the character of the Lamb, the condemnation of the Lamb and the confession of the Lamb. Did you know that in the old Passover, had they not openly confessed the Lamb, there would have been no hope?
Suppose they had said, “We are going to kill a little lamb, but we don’t want the Egyptians to know that we are believers. We are going to kill this lamb in a back room and not let anybody know.” You can’t do that. The Passover angel came through the land of Egypt. If there was a house that did not have the blood on the doorposts, judgment came to that house. Friend, you can’t bootleg a blessing. Jesus said, “If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of you.” You are openly and publicly to confess the Lamb.
Hyssop stands for faith. Take that faith and strike it on the doorposts of your heart. Jeremiah said, “This time I will make a new covenant and write it on their hearts.”
There is the confession of the Lamb. But do you know what they did then? There was the communion of the Lamb. They fed on the lamb in Moses’ day. What do we do? We feed on the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the Lord’s Supper. Passover has been transformed into a memorial feast where we remember God’s Lamb.
Are you ashamed of the Lamb? Have you confessed Him? Do you have communion with Him? Have you fed on Him? We are what we eat, you know.
You see, He doesn’t just forgive your sin. When you place your life under the blood, there is strength and power in this One who is heaven’s bread. And not only is there the shed blood, there is the shared blood. There is the power of the Lord Jesus Christ in us.
I want you to imagine 3 boys in Egypt under Moses’ lamb. First, there was Pharaoh’s son. He comes to his father and says, “Dad, do you know what people are saying? They say that everyone has to kill a lamb and put the blood on the doorposts. If there is no blood on the doorposts, then something called a death angel is going to come through our land and the firstborn of every family will die. Dad, I’m the firstborn. Don’t you think we ought to get us a lamb?” Pharaoh says, “Son, listen, I’m fed up with these Hebrews and their superstition. Son, we have the best religion that money can buy. We have thousands of gods. I myself am a god. Son, your daddy is very strong and powerful. Don’t you worry about this blood of the lamb business. Go to bed son, daddy loves you.”
There is another boy…a Jewish boy. He says, “Dad, did you hear what Moses said? I don’t want to die, dad.” The father says, “Son, we are going to do just what Moses said. Come with me.” They kill the lamb and apply the blood. The boy says, “Thank you, dad. I don’t want to die. Dad, do you think it’s going to work?” “Well, Moses says so.” “Dad, do you think I’m going to be saved?” “Yes.” “But, Dad, the death angel is coming.” “Son, we’ve done everything.” “Yes, Dad, but I’m just concerned.” All night long that boy tosses and turns…but the blood is on the door. The death angel passes over that house.
There is another Jewish boy who says, “Dad, are we going to make a Passover sacrifice?” “Yes we are, son. Here is the blood on the doorposts.” The boy says, “Dad, isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t it glorious what God has promised? Dad, thank you for obeying the Lord. Have a good nights rest, Dad, I’m going to bed.” He sleeps soundly.
The first boy perishes because the blood was refused. The second one worries all night…but he makes it. The third boy has a good nights rest.
Folks, it’s the blood that makes us safe and it’s the Word that makes us sure. Not only can we say that we are saved, but why should we go to heaven second class? There is power, power, wonder-working power in the precious blood of the Lamb!
When you get over to the Book of the Revelation, do you know what you will see on the throne? A Lamb as it has been slain. And do you know what the people in heaven are going to be doing? They are going to be singing throughout all the ages, “Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain!”
Everyone in this building will either walk out under the blood or over the blood. Either you will apply the blood of Jesus to your heart and be saved, or you will trample His blood under your feet. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me.” You cannot be ashamed of the One who died for you.
Would you confess Him today?