The eight-day festival of Passover, also called “The Time of Our Freedom”, is celebrated by Jewish people around the globe. The first Passover took place in the Mosaic era during the time of the deliverance of Israel from the wrath of God kindled against Egypt, and just preceding their exodus out of Egypt - the land of their bondage. Today, the Passover is still celebrated by believing Jews, amongst whom many are messianic believers who profess the Messiah as their Lord and savior. The following are a few scriptural references on the connections between the first Passover event during the time of the exodus, and the fulfilment event of the perfect sacrifice - the true Passover effected in the Messiah.
The instructions for the observance of the first Passover are found in the Exodus 12 –
‘Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household. If a family is too small to eat a whole animal, let them share with another family in the neighborhood. Divide the animal according to the size of each family and how much they can eat. The animal you select must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no defects. “Take special care of this chosen animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then the whole assembly of the community of Israel must slaughter their lamb or young goat at twilight.’ (Exodus 12:3-6)
‘Then Moses called all the elders of Israel together and said to them, “Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Drain the blood into a basin. Then take a bundle of hyssop branches and dip it into the blood. Brush the hyssop across the top and sides of the doorframes of your houses. And no one may go out through the door until morning. For the Lord will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the Lord will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down.’ (Exodus 12: 21-23)
The Messiah is the true lamb who fulfilled the guilt offering, the complete atonement for sin. His authority was questioned by the Jewish leaders at the time.
‘When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” (Matthew 21:23)
The Messiah is the true lamb ‘with no defects’ – no sin was found in him.
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime”. (John 18:38)
He was declared as the lamb of God by true witnesses:
‘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)
‘For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.’ (1 Peter 1:18-19)
The prophet Isaiah spoke of Him ahead of his time:
‘He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.’ (Isaiah 53:7)
‘Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply.’ (Mark 14:60-61a)
Our perfect Passover lamb declared:
‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s beloved.’ (John 15:13)