Colossians 1:20 “It pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself by Jesus, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”
The Jewish people can explain their faith without Christianity, but Christians cannot explain our faith without Judaism. This is true in the Jewish Passover, which is an important component in understanding Christianity. As a Jew, Jesus celebrated Passover the day before He went to the cross (Matthew 26:18).
We explained last week that the Passover seder celebrates how God gave life to everyone who, by faith, sacrificed a spotless lamb and applied its blood on their doors (Exodus 12). At the sight of that blood, the angel of death “passed over” that house. To our Jewish friends, Passover commemorates Israel’s freedom.
After 1,500 Passovers, it was now Jesus’s turn. He took the wine, symbolizing the Passover blood, and said, “This is My blood” (Matthew 26:28). He broke unleavened bread, a symbol of sinlessness, and said, “This is My body” (Luke 22:19). The next day, on a criminal’s cross, Jesus became the Passover Lamb.
While the Passover lamb symbolizes God saving the Jews from Egyptian slavery, its deeper meaning is Jesus, the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). His sacrifice moves all of us by faith from death to life. He saves us from sin’s death sentence into the true Promised Land – heaven.
Last week, we how requirements 1 & 2 for the Passover lamb are fulfilled in Jesus Christ: 1) it must be “without blemish”, and 2) you must not “break any of its bones”. This week, we examine requirements 3 (the Lamb’s blood must be offered by each household) and 4 (the blood must be on the doorframe).
Requirement 3) The Passover Lamb’s shed blood must be offered by each household: Throughout the Old Testament, God makes it clear that there is only one remedy for forgiving anyone’s sin – shedding the blood of an innocent, perfect animal. Why blood? Because, as He explained, physical life is in your blood: “The life of the flesh is in the blood; I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11).
God designed blood as the fluid to carry precious oxygen and nutrients to each of our cells. As important as the heart is, it is useless without life-giving blood to pump. To help limited human beings understand how He can be just and forgiving at the same time, God gave us a physical way to understand a spiritual truth: for a sinful soul’s life to be acceptable to God, sinless blood must be offered to account for that life.
This blood that atones for my sins must be perfect. ”Whatever has a defect you shall not offer; it shall not be accepted on your behalf – it must be perfect to be accepted” (Leviticus 22:20-21). At the first Passover, God commanded every household to offer this perfect blood for each of their souls: “Pick out lambs for yourselves according to your families and kill the Passover lamb” (Exodus 12:21). Over 700 years later, the prophet Isaiah predicted the future Messiah who would be “led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7). After another 750 years passed, John the Baptist identified the One who arrived as this perfect Passover Lamb – Jesus Christ: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29)
Requirement 4) The Lamb’s blood must be applied with hyssop to the household’s doorframe: “You shall take hyssop, dip it in the blood of the Lamb that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the 2 doorposts with the blood that is in the basin” (Exodus 12:22). The first thing to notice is the use of hyssop to apply the blood. It is no mistake that on the cross, Jesus is offered sour wine on a hyssop branch just before He dies (John 19:28-30). Why hyssop? Throughout the Bible, hyssop is associated with cleansing the soul from sin: ”Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7).
The second thing to notice is the blood must be applied to the doorframe. This is a picture of the Cross: “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, he is put to death; you hang him on a tree; he who is hanged is accursed of God” (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). The One whose perfect blood is shed for the forgiveness of all of mankind’s sins sheds His blood on a cross, just as King David predicted (“They pierced My hands and My feet” – Psalm 22:16), and just as Jesus Christ fulfilled: “It pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself by Jesus, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20). As we celebrate Good Friday (Jesus’s crucifixion) and Easter (Jesus’s resurrection), let us remember our Jewish roots in placing our faith in the Passover Lamb’s shed blood to give us freedom from our sin.