Our Passover Sacrifice

Our Passover Sacrifice

Home Church Service 4/9/2022

Life & Light Community Church began in the early months of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. What began as an opportunity for me, my wife and step-kids to continue to worship together, has now evolved into a ministry that has expanded to include close friends, family and those who are simply hungry for the word of God. You can find us on Facebook, so please, feel free to reach out and join us.

When our small group meets for worship, we like to discuss what we are learning, in the moment. Sometimes that happens right after the message and at other times we will address something during the message. These messages are designed to be interactive, discussing what we are learning right after I have addressed each point of the message. You will find the questions at the end of each section. In most formats they will appear in bold. Use these questions as a guide to meditate on the points being discussed. Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and above all, be honest with yourself and the Holy Spirit. After all, He knows any way!

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.”                                     Exodus 12:3 & 5-6 (NASB95)

“Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.”                                                                         John 19:14–18 (NASB95)

I began my sales career, living in Elkhart, in the van and RV industry. More specifically, I worked at the largest distributor of van conversion accessories in the country. We sold a full line of accessories used to convert a blank van into a custom van – we had everything anyone would ever need to repair or customize their van. Back then, in the early to mid-80’s, competition was fierce, so naturally, we did everything imaginable to stay competitive. One of our biggest selling accessories was the continental kit, taking its name from the tire cover on the Lincoln Continental. The continental kits were a stainless-steel ring with a plastic or metal disc that could be painted or customized any way you wanted.

We were not the only ones who sold these kits – everyone who sold accessories sold them! So, we needed to find a way to beat the competition. What we found we named “Blems” because they had small blemishes somewhere on the ring or disc. Since most kits where dented within the first few weeks of being installed, most people didn’t mind a small blemish – the savings far outweighed any blemish and they sold out faster than we could get them in stock! A blemish might be fine on the back of a van – something so small you had to be right on top of it to see – but, as we will see in our message today, some things call for the unblemished – the perfect! Such is the case with Our Passover Sacrifice.

About the sixth hour on the day of preparation for the Passover, Jesus is presented as the King of the Jews! The Jews cried out to crucify Him after the chief priests declared they had no king but Caesar. Jesus went out with His own cross to the Place of a Skull, call Golgotha in Hebrew, where He was crucified between two men, becoming Our Passover Sacrifice.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “How does Jesus fulfill the requirements as Our Passover Sacrifice?”

As Our Passover Sacrifice, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

1). The first way Jesus fulfills the requirements as Our Passover Sacrifice is because He lived as the unblemished Lamb of God.

Even His place of birth points to Jesus as the Lamb of God, sent to take away the sin of the world.

According to Exodus 12:5-6, there are five requirements that must be met for an animal to be considered worthy to be a Passover sacrifice. The animal must be unblemished, a male, one year old, either a sheep or a goat, and it must be sacrificed at twilight on the day of Passover. Does Jesus really fit ALL five of these requirements to be Our Passover Sacrifice? The short answer – Yes! But we need to understand why so we can be prepared to answer those who ask this same question.

The first requirement is that the animal be unblemished. Miriam-Webster defines unblemished as “free from any unwanted marks or spots; having no fault or flaw.” In his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul reminds those in the church that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf.” Jesus lived a sinless life, a life without fault or flaw. In addition, John the Baptist twice declared Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Only an unblemished animal is adequate to be the Passover sacrifice and Jesus absolutely fulfills this requirement.

The second requirement is the animal is to be male. This requirement stands as a symbol of the first-born son in the households of Israel and those who are struck down in the tenth and final plague against Egypt. The first-born son is also the heir to the father’s business, money and kingdom. Christ is, obviously, male, the first-born son to Mary and Joseph and the only Son of God, heir to His Father’s Kingdom. The Passover animal is to be one year old and no more; it may be slightly younger but no more than a week or so.

To be a year old is for the animal to be mature enough to be full grown but not old enough to consume more resources than it will return. This represents a year of hard work and investment – hard work in providing the necessary food, water and shelter and an investment in keeping it without fault or flaw. For some this represents Christ in His prime, regardless, it is clear that God wants our best, not an animal, or something else, that was going to be sacrificed any way.

The fourth requirement is that the animal had to be from the sheep or goats. As mentioned earlier, Christ is declared to be the Lamb of God. Why the Lamb of God, a sheep and not a goat? The lamb is one of the most vulnerable animals, in fact, there is only one animal more vulnerable, the chick, for their parents will not defend them! When John declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God, his words could be understood to be saying, “Here is the most vulnerable One,” or “Here is the One making Himself the most vulnerable.” Jesus became the perfect human sacrifice for the restoration of God’s people, because He, like the lamb, did not resist nor protest.

Finally, the lamb had to be sacrificed at twilight. Twilight, as defined by Miriam-Webster is “the sky between full night and sunrise, or the sky between sunset and full night, produced by the diffusion of sunlight through the atmosphere and its dust. Matthew and Mark, both tell us it was evening when the body of Jesus was removed from the cross. Evening, in the Jewish day, occurs between 3 and 6 p.m., this would be the time of twilight in the Jewish day. Jesus died minutes before and His body is removed at twilight, meeting the final requirement to be Our Passover Sacrifice.

Questions for discussion/reflection:

What part of the requirements do you identify with most closely?

Is it Jesus being unblemished?

Christ in His prime?

The vulnerability of Christ?

Or the sacrifice of Christ?

As Our Passover Sacrifice, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

2). The second way in which Jesus fulfills the requirements as Our Passover Sacrifice is because we apply His shed blood to our lives.

Though we continue to commit sin, we stand, before God, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

For Christ to be the Passover sacrifice adequate to apply to our lives, there are four steps or requirements, each foreshadowed in the first Passover in Egypt. The first step, or requirement, comes after the sacrifice of the animal at twilight, when the Hebrew families were to spread the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintels of homes where the Passover was eaten. However, the blood on the doorposts and lintels was not limited to just the Hebrew people – anyone who placed their faith in God could put the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintel and be saved. This is a public commitment to God in a hostile land. Only those who are convinced God will be victorious can make such a public declaration.

So too it is for the Christ follower, as Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus, we have redemption in His blood. In Revelation 1:7, John the Apostle tells us we have been released from our sins by His blood, and in Revelation 7:14, we learn the saints have their robes washed white by the blood of the Lamb. Christ clearly meets this first requirement as a adequate sacrifice to apply His blood to our lives – His blood has covered our sins and washed us clean!

The second step in the original Passover, eating the flesh of the Passover sacrifice with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The original instructions for the Passover meal require the animal sacrificed to be roasted, not boiled or eaten raw. It was to be eaten, entirely, that night, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs – leaving nothing leftover. The roasting of the lamb creates a sweet aroma before the Lord, clearly seen throughout the Old Testament sacrifices and is also a foreshadowing of the sweet aroma of the prayers of the saints before God. The unleavened bread is to remind the Hebrews of their deliverance from Egypt, while the bitter herbs remind them of the oppression and hardship of slavery. Nothing is to be leftover, what cannot be eaten is to be burnt – utterly destroyed.

For the Christ follower, we find the “flesh” of Christ represented in the bread we take when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper or communion. In Luke 14, Jesus gives instructions at His final Passover meal with His disciples. Jesus takes bread, blesses it, and then He breaks it. Holding the bread – the broken bread – before the disciples, He says, “This is My body which is given for you.” Jesus then takes a cup saying, “The cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” The unleavened bread symbolizes the removal of sin from our lives, while the shed blood symbolizes the cleansing we receive from the oppression and bitterness of slavery to sin.

Jesus was buried before sunset, and in the eyes of Satan, He has been utterly destroyed. Jesus has promised us He will not eat this meal again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God, but He also said to do this, taking the bread and the cup, whenever we remember Him. In our remembrance of Jesus and in the celebrating of His broken body and shed blood, it is the works of Satan that are utterly destroyed! This is the very reason that Jesus came – to destroy the works of Satan!

Finally, the blood was a sign to pass over the house on which the blood of the lamb was found. It was a sign of life inside, covered by the blood of the Lamb. God did not check to see if the house contained Hebrew people or Egyptian people, the sign of the blood of the lamb was enough! God does not look at a person’s nationality, status, money, possessions or any other personal accomplishment – He looks for one sign, the sign of life found in the covering of the blood of the Lamb!

Questions for discussion/reflection:

As a Christ follower, what do you most closely identify with in applying the blood of the Lamb to your life?

Is it the covering and cleansing we receive?

The broken body and shed blood that destroys the works of Satan?

The sign of life found under the covering of the blood of the Lamb?

As Our Passover Sacrifice, Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Christ offers Himself as the perfect, unblemished offering, a one-and-done sacrifice for all sin. Ancient priests stood at the same altar, morning after morning, making the same offering – every morning exactly like the last. God, through Christ, reconciled all things in heaven and on earth to Himself – thus bringing a deep shalom, a holy peace, through the blood of the Lamb of God.

Through the body of Christ, the Son of God knows what it is like to be betrayed by friends, crushed by the powers that be, and the feeling of searing pain. Thus, Jesus – the Lamb of God – is more than adequate to be Our Passover Sacrifice. God the Father, knows what it is like to watch a Son be misunderstood, mocked, and deserted by His friends, and worse yet, to lose a precious child. God has experienced what all of us have experienced living in this sin riddled world – pain, rejection, betrayal, loss, and grief. Thus, God can offer His children what no other religion can – He offers His children not just sympathy but empathy.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord,

Amen and amen.

Next week: The Feast of Unleavened Bread – Exodus 12:17 & 1

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