The final plague that God brought upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh released the Israelites from slavery was to strike down the firstborn son of every Egyptian household, including the livestock (Exodus 12:29). This ultimately led to the Israelites being released from slavery to the Egyptians (Exodus 11:1; 12:30–42). God gave the Israelite households protection from this plague in the form of a sacrificial lamb.
What is the Passover Lamb? How is Jesus our Passover Lamb?
The Israelites had to sacrifice a blemish-free, year-old lamb, apply its blood to the doorframe of the house, and then roast and eat the meat while wearing clothes ready to travel in (Exodus 12:7–12). This event became known as the Lord's Passover. God told them, "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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12:13).
God established a precedent of blood covering the guilt of human sins in the Old Testament: "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life" (Leviticus 17:11). As we see with the first Passover, the sacrifice of a perfect lamb preserved the lives of the Israelite firstborns.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ became the final Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). Perhaps more accurately, the Passover lamb of the Old Testament was a foreshadowing of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. John the Baptist called Jesus "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). He was "a lamb without blemish or spot" for He lived a perfect life that was free from sin (1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 4:15). In the book of Revelation, John has a vision of Jesus as "a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain" (Revelation 5:6). Finally, Jesus was crucified during the season of Passover (Mark 14:12).
Jesus is our Passover Lamb; He was slaughtered so that we may be saved. His blood is the sacrifice that covered the penalty for our sins once and for all, removing any need for further animal sacrifices. According to Jesus' own words, His blood gave us a new covenant for salvation: "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:20). His blood provides us with forgiveness: "this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matthew 26:28). By applying the blood of Jesus to our lives through salvation, we are saved from eternal damnation and are granted everlasting life instead (Hebrews 9:12–14).
We have the right to be sons and daughters of God because the blood of His Son has purified us of our sins: "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Praise be to God for sending us Jesus, the perfect Passover Lamb.
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