The night before Jesus’ death, He and His disciples celebrated the Passover together. Though the anticipation was likely building amongst the disciples, as Jesus had days before foretold of His death to take place in Jerusalem, I wonder if they recognized that the “Passover Lamb” was sitting amongst them.
Do you remember the story in Exodus 12 when the first ever Passover took place? The Israelites had witnessed God’s mighty hand against the Egyptians, because of Pharaoh’s hardened heart and unwillingness to let the Israelites leave Egypt to go and worship their God, Yahweh. They had seen the nine plagues wreak havoc upon the Egyptians and now the most devastating plague of all was to come. God gave Moses specific instructions for the people so that the tenth and final plague would pass over them. They were to sacrifice a year- old, male lamb, without defect and given very specific instructions on how to eat the meat. The blood was to be put on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where the lambs were being eaten. That night, the angle of the Lord passed through Egypt and killed every first born, except for those who had the blood of the lamb as a sign upon their doorposts. The Lord said, “…when I see the blood, I will pass over you…” (Ex. 12: 13). That night the sins of the Egyptians brought great tears and anguish, but the Israelites who had trusted in the blood of the Lamb were pardoned from the punishment of sin. Today, this is still what those who celebrate the Passover are celebrating, God said, “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.” (Ex. 12: 17).
All of this foreshadowed Jesus – Jesus is the sacrificial lamb!
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew 26:26-29
When we put our trust in His perfect shed blood on the cross, the penalty of our sin and death passes over us and onto Jesus. He is the perfect Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). Tonight we celebrate the coming of our Passover Lamb and His willful obedience to the Father to entrust Himself to His captors, and stand trial, knowing that the events of tonight would lead Him to His crucifixion tomorrow.