Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5:6-8)
Jesus died to serve as our Passover lamb. When Paul wrote those words, more than a millennium had passed since the monumental night in Egypt when the LORD had said to Moses and Aaron:
“This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
“Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.” (Exo 12:2-13)
Year after year, the descendants of Abraham remembered the LORD’s Passover. Decade after decade, the blood of an untold number of lambs was shed at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. Century after century, Yahweh’s hope-giving words in Egypt continued to echo in the minds of those who remembered. “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”
More than a thousand years after the Exodus, rugged John the Baptist pointed at a ordinary-looking man on the banks of the Jordan River and proclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This Lamb was a man. This Lamb wasn’t Abraham’s lamb, or Moses’ lamb, or David’s lamb. He was the Lamb being provided by Yahweh himself. For a specific reason. That his blood might be shed, not for one person or one nation, but for the entire world.
Jesus Christ has been sacrificed for us. He serves as our once-for-all Passover lamb. Because of him, our holy heavenly Father is willing to “pass over” us–sinful as we are–and if he sees the blood of Jesus applied to our hearts in sincerity and truth, he recognizes us as redeemed.
As those who have been washed in blood, sanctified by sacrifice, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, “let us therefore celebrate.”
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