At the first Passover (Exodus 12) a lamb was killed and its blood was placed on the doorframe of every Jewish home. This was so God would “pass over” the homes of his people and spare the lives of their firstborn sons. The day God passed over the Jewish homes in Egypt has been celebrated for thousands of years. It is a story that was meant to be told from generation to generation. Grandparents were to pass the story to their grandkids…parents to their children…and so forth from each generation to the next.
It was a Story of God’s Mercy
The passover was not a reward for righteousness. The Israelites didn’t deserve it. They hadn’t done anything to earn it. Rather it was a gift of Gods’ mercy. God’s mercy came through the blood of a lamb. They were slaves that were set free by the mercy of God.
It was a Personal Story
Each family was intimately involved. You could not experience passover from a distance. Each person HAD to participate. Five days before the lamb was to be sacrificed, each family was to chose a lamb without defect. They had to inspect the lamb, care for the lamb, and they each had to kill their own lamb.
It is Connected to a Bigger Story
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29
“It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.” – 1 Peter 1:19
The cross is THE story of God’s mercy. Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem five days before the lamb was killed in the temple as the Passover sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel. Good Friday was the day of the Passover celebration and the day that the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed.
For the previous 1,200 years, the priest would blow the shophar at 3:00 p.m. – the moment the lamb was sacrificed, and all the people would pause to contemplate the sacrifice for sins on behalf of the people of Israel. On Good Friday at 3:00,when Jesus was being crucified, He said, “It is finished”- at the moment that the Passover lamb was sacrificed and the shophar was blown from the Temple. The sacrifice of the lamb of God was fulfilled at the hour that the symbolic animal sacrifice usually took place.
At the same time, the veil of the Temple tore from top to bottom – representing a removal of the separation between God and man. Jesus is the Passover lamb for all of God’s people and His blood made the final atonement for the sins of the world. He was sacrificed so his people could experience God’s mercy and be saved from sin and death.
Yes, it is true that ‘God so loved the world’ – that Jesus died for the entire world. But the cross is also very PERSONAL. Just as each Israelite household had to kill their lamb, so my own personal sin was responsible for Jesus having to go to the cross for my redemption. Jesus died for me and He died for you.
That is why the life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)