Summary: This message examines the foreshadowing of Jesus’ redemption on the cross through the Passover feast and how it applies to the Christian life.
Jesus – Our Passover
The Old Testament is the tutor that reveals to us God’s plan in the New Testament. The Bible teaches us that it is not possible for the Old Testament law to make us righteous (Hebrews 10:4) but rather that all the Old Testament law serves as our tutor to reveal God’s plan and point us to Christ (Galatians 3:24-25). The message of the Passover is not only an Easter message but it is the message of the Gospel of our amazing redemption in Jesus Christ. Everything in the Old Testament ultimately points ahead to the cross of Jesus Christ. Everything in the New Testament points us back to the cross of Jesus Christ as our foundation and the reason for all that is revealed in scripture.
The message of the Passover was preached in the Old Testament, though it was veiled until after Jesus was revealed. The plight of Israel teaches us the redemption of God in Christ. Let us begin by looking at Exodus 12:21-27
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 "And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 "For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. 24 "And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. 25 "It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. 26 "And it shall be, when your children say to you, ’What do you mean by this service?’ 27 "that you shall say, ’It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.’ " So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
Israel was in bondage for 400 years and served as slaves in Egypt. God sent 9 plagues against Egypt but Pharaoh would not release his captives. The passage above picks up just before the final plague God would send that humbled Pharaoh so that he willingly let God’s people go. In preparation for this great plague to come, God gave Moses instructions for the people of Israel. They were to quickly prepare a Passover lamb, slaughter it and take the blood of that lamb and strike it on lintel (or upper doorpost) and on the two side doorposts.
The Israelites did not know the meaning behind this command, but they were instructed to obey and make it into a tradition so their future generations would ask and be reminded of the deliverance of God. After the feast, God sent judgment into the land and the destroyer killed the firstborn heirs in every house in Egypt; however, God also promised that His judgment would pass over any house that had the blood on the door.
Jesus is the Lamb
The lamb slain by the Israelites was intended to be a symbol that pointed to Jesus Christ. Jesus was the Lamb of God and He alone is the only sacrifice for sins. The Bible tells us that it is impossible for the animal sacrifices to take away sin. Their purpose was to be a yearly reminder of the wages of sin and to point to the sacrifice that would eventually be paid in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament law was not a failed attempt to redeem man but was a teacher for the people so they would understand the debt to sin and salvation in Christ. Look at these two passages:
Isaiah 53:5-10 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked -- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.