1Corinthians 5:7 “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”
This past week, Jewish people around the world joined in their most important annual celebration, to commemorate an historical event that occurred 3,400 years ago – God’s deliverance of Israel out of Egyptian slavery. In the Old Testament book of Exodus, God commands the Jews to always remember what happened that day in Egypt, when He redeemed them from Egyptian captivity: “This day shall be to you a memorial; you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:14). This holy day for the Jews is known as Passover.
Chapter 12 of the book of Exodus explains the elements of that first Passover meal. It begins with a perfect lamb:
Every man shall take for himself a lamb… your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year (Exodus 12:3-5)
The other two elements of that first meal, which are to be eaten with the roasted meat of the unblemished lamb, are explained in verse 8: unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
This first meal was eaten the same night, nearly 3,400 years ago, at the first Passover event. God explains this in Exodus 12:21-23: “Pick out and take lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the PASSOVER LAMB. 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”.
For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when He sees the blood on the CROSS PIECE at the top of your door, 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.’
God the Father, as He sees the shed blood of an innocent, perfect lamb smeared on the cross of the frame of a person’s front door, does not pay that household the wages they are due for their sin – death. Instead, that blood the perfect lamb is accepted by God as payment for their sin, and that household would live.
Jesus told the crowd, in John 5:39, that if they would carefully study the Old Testament that they so religiously followed, they would see that it pointed directly to Him as their only Source for eternal life: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
The New Testament has several main characters who proclaimed this same truth to anyone around them who would listen. In the very first chapter of the Gospel of John, when John the Baptist sees Jesus for the first time, approaching him as he is baptizing people, he cries out to everyone around him, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). John is pointing to the true Passover Lamb.
Then the apostle Paul, in the New Testament book of Romans, says “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This is the original Passover, where the Lord strikes dead those without the blood on the cross of their front door, but He passes over, giving life, to those whose door frames are covered in the blood of the perfect lamb. There can be no clearer picture of salvation through the achievement of Jesus Christ on the cross than this Jewish celebration which takes place every year just before the Christian celebrations of Good Friday and Easter.
Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples the very night before He, the true Passover Lamb, is arrested and then crucified on the Cross of Calvary. In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, He explains to His disciples the significance of that Passover meal in 32AD, which is unlike any Passover meal they have previously celebrated their whole lives – because at this meal the true Passover Lamb is present.
“He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is the blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:27-28). He is telling them that He will shed His blood, just as with the unblemished Exodus Passover lamb, on the Cross, just as the unblemished lamb’s blood was spread on the cross frame of homes, for the permanent source of forgiveness of all of mankind’s sins. This is the point of our verse for this week, where Paul tells us that “Christ, our (true) Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1Corinthians 5:7).
There isn’t a better way to summarize this week’s article than by Paul in Romans 3:25-26:
In His forbearance God has PASSED OVER the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
The Evidence of Faith’s Substance – Article #393