Why Is Jesus Christ Called "Our Passover"?

You are here

Why Is Jesus Christ Called "Our Passover"?

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up

×
Downloads
MP3 Audio (5.36 MB)

Downloads

Why Is Jesus Christ Called "Our Passover"?

MP3 Audio (5.36 MB)
×

Events in ancient Egypt

We find the Passover instituted in Exodus 12. The nation of Israel was enslaved in Egypt, and events were building rapidly to the horrifying devastation that would finally force Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery.

Through Moses and Aaron, God commanded Israel to set aside a lamb for each household in the nation. Before nightfall, the Israelites were to kill the lambs and put some of the lambs’ blood on the sides and top of the door frame of each house. Each lamb was to be eaten that evening by the members of the Israelite household that offered it (verses 1-10).

A profoundly significant event was to take place outside the homes while the Israelites were inside eating this Passover meal: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now 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 the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (verses 12-13, emphasis added throughout).

This terrifying event occurred just as God said. “And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (verses 29-30).

The dead likely numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Pharaoh, having ignored earlier serious warnings and plagues, learned the hard way that the God of the Israelites was not a God to be trifled with. The Israelites were set free.

Important lessons for us

There are vital lessons for all of humanity in these events. God called the sacrificial lamb “the Lord’s Passover” and “the Passover sacrifice of the Lord” (verses 11, 27). It was so named because God promised, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you” (verse 13).

Some 1,500 years later, the apostle Paul used this same term to describe Jesus Christ. Why?

In the setting of the original Passover, the sacrifice of the lambs signified that those partaking of that sacrifice would be spared from God’s judgment. If the Israelites ignored or disobeyed God’s warning, they would suffer the death of their firstborn along with the Egyptians. This sacrifice was required to spare them from death and great sorrow.

Paul and the other New Testament writers understood that the Passover lambs slain at the time of the Exodus foreshadowed the later sacrifice of Jesus Christ. “Walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma,” wrote Paul (Ephesians 5:2 Ephesians 5:2And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling smell.
American King James Version×
).

The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus Christ “has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” and “offered one sacrifice for sins forever” (Hebrews 9:26 Hebrews 9:26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
American King James Version×
; 10:12).

Like the ancient Israelites and Egyptians, all humanity has had sin’s penalty of misery and death hanging over it. We have earned it because of our sins (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×
; 6:23). But, just as the sacrifice of the Passover lambs at the time of the Exodus spared the obedient Israelites, Jesus Christ’s sacrifice has removed that death penalty from us (Romans 5:9 Romans 5:9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
American King James Version×
; Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 1:7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
American King James Version×
; Colossians 1:14 Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
American King James Version×
).

John the Baptist, when Christ came to him to be baptized, exclaimed: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 John 1:29The next day John sees Jesus coming to him, and said, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.
American King James Version×
). Thanks to Jesus Christ, we are able to be freed from sin’s penalty.

Passover lamb symbolic

The Passover lamb also foreshadowed Christ in other ways. It was to be “without blemish,” or with no deformities (Exodus 12:5 Exodus 12:5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
American King James Version×
). This was symbolic of the spiritual purity of Jesus Christ, “who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22 1 Peter 2:22Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Peter pointed out that we have been redeemed, or bought back, by God—not with material wealth, “but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19 1 Peter 1:19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
American King James Version×
).

Even some aspects of how the Passover lambs were to be killed were symbolic of Jesus’ death. The Israelites were told not to break any of the lambs’ bones (Exodus 12:46 Exodus 12:46In one house shall it be eaten; you shall not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall you break a bone thereof.
American King James Version×
). Although a common practice in crucifixions was to break the legs of the suffering criminals to hasten death, Jesus Christ was already dead when the Roman soldiers came to break His legs, so His body was spared further desecration. “For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken’ ” (John 19:36 John 19:36For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
American King James Version×
).

The prophet Isaiah, describing the coming Messiah’s sacrificial death, wrote, “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” (Isaiah 53:7 Isaiah 53:7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.
American King James Version×
). This, too, was a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s death (Acts 8:32-35 Acts 8:32-35 32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus.
American King James Version×
).

These and many other scriptures help us understand the wonderful truth that, as the Lamb of God, “Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.”

You might also be interested in...