Summary: Re-telling the story of the first Passover as the introduction to today’s lesson
“Behold the Lamb”
INTRODUCTION: March 24th we will be celebrating our annual Passover celebration with a Seder meal. Today I would like to begin by retelling the story of the first Passover as the introduction to today’s lesson
Illustration: “The story of the Passover” The nation of Israel had been under the bondage of Egypt since they arrived during the time of Joseph over 400 years earlier. They were held under the taskmasters who made life for them horrible and almost unlivable. Moses, a man called by God stood before the Egyptian Pharaoh and declared, “Let my people go!” Pharaoh agreed and relented nine times while countless plagues befell his land. God sent plagues of blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock disease, boils, hail, locusts and even darkness…all to which Pharaoh begged relief, bargained the Israelite release and then became hardened against and refused to keep his end of the deal.
Because of Pharaoh’s constant refusal to release God’s people, the Lord brought about the worst plague imaginable. He promised to strike down the first born in every household to show His power.
Exodus 11:5 “Then Moses said, "Thus says the Lord: ’About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; ’and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals.”
As a way to separate God’s chosen people from the Egyptians He instituted something called the Passover. The Passover was a feast wherein the people were to take a lamb and slaughter it and apply its blood to their door posts which would signify to the Lord that those inside were His people.
Exodus 12:12-13 “’For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike 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. ’Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”
Only by the protection of the blood on their doorposts could the Israelites escape this judgment. Afterward they were released by Pharaoh as his heart was torn by the loss of his child.
Exodus 12:30 “So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”
QUESTION: ‘What does all of this have to do with Jesus who died over 1600 years later?’
The answer: EVERYTHING!
This event was a picture of that which was to come in the New Testament.
When John called Jesus “The Lamb of God”, this was not just a phrase of affection or a nickname, but a reference to the time of the Passover when the blood of the lamb caused the judgment of God to Pass over the houses of His people
***We are going to look today at three ways Jesus’ death on the cross followed the commands of God concerning the Passover
God was specific in His commands pertaining to the Passover, and every command was to be followed to the letter.
God gave the commands of:
I. Which animal to choose
a. They were told to choose a lamb , “without blemish” (12:5)
i. This means the animal was to have no outward signs of imperfection
ii. God was saying that the Israelites were to take a healthy, unimpaired, lamb as their sacrifice
b. The term ‘without blemish’ also refers to being ‘innocent’
i. Jesus Christ was ‘without blemish’ because He was ‘innocent’ of any sin
ii. Judas Iscariot declared after betraying Jesus, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.”
iii. If anyone would have known Jesus was a sinner, it would have been the men who spent the most time with him – who Judas was one – and here he declares Jesus as innocent
iv. This is why not just anyone could be the sacrifice for the sin of man
1. God requires a sacrifice ‘without blemish’
2. And no one else in history has ever lived a sinless life
3. Illustration: “Evangelist Messiah” A well known TV evangelist once boasted that he could have been the one who died for the sin of man. But he was wrong, because God requires an innocent and spotless sacrifice, not one that is tainted with sin
4. And everyone, save Jesus, is tainted according to Romans 3:23 that says, “…All have sinned…”