John 1:29-42

the Baptist understood the Passover ritual as a picture of the sacrifice of Christ.
Seeing Jesus coming toward him John said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes
away the sin of the world!” (vs. 29). John repeated his prophetic proclamation
the next day to a pair of his own disciples as they saw Jesus passing by. He said,
“Look, the Lamb of God!” (vs. 35). Jesus Christ is our Passover Lamb.
Trusting Him, we experience forgiveness of all sin.

the Passover story. God prescribed that a lamb be selected from the flock and
kept under watchful eye for four days to make certain it was without blemish.
Then the family sacrificed the lamb on the prescribed day and sprinkled the blood
on both doorposts and above the opening. They feasted on the lamb that night and
stayed inside as God strictly charged. At midnight God passed through the land
of Egypt. The first-born of man and beast in every unprotected house was taken
by the death angel. But God promised his chosen people: “When I see the blood,
I will pass over you” (Ex. 12:13).

four parallels between the Passover ritual and Jesus the Lamb of God.

one: the Lamb is qualified.

Lamb that would satisfy Holy God must be without blemish. It could be from the
sheep or the goats, but it must be without disease or deformity. To make sure,
it was shut up from the tenth day of the month until the fourteenth and closely

the sacrificial lamb was without physical blemish, so our Lord Jesus was free
from all moral defects. When he stood trial before the Roman governor, Pilate
examined him and reported to the murderous mob: “I find no basis for a charge
against him” (John 19:4-6). What Pilate said of his brief examination could
be said as well of our Lord’s whole three and a half years of public ministry
and indeed of his whole thirty-three-year life. He was the only totally sinless
person; he was therefore the only one who could possibly be the Lamb without blemish.

two: the Lamb is sacrificed.

the appointed evening, each family slaughtered the lamb. The whole community of
Israel participated in the twilight ceremony. Christ, in his death, filled that
bloody ritual with eternal meaning.

Christian history theologians have struggled for the best way to interpret the
death of Christ. Origen explained the sacri-fice of Christ in term of a ransom
paid for captive souls. Anselm emphasized the satisfying of a debt. Peter Abelard
saw the death of Christ as more of a moral influence. Socinius spoke of the atonement
as an example. A Dutch teacher named Grotius stressed divine regard for the Law
of God.

there are elements of truth in all of these ways of looking at the atonement of
Christ, though most of them are very inadequate. All of them taken together cannot
plumb the depths of this divine mystery. Christ our Passover Lamb is the Sinless
One who is a substitute for the sinner. Paul said, “You see, at just the
right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom.

three: the blood is applied.

blood was applied on both doorposts and above the opening. It is not enough that
Christ died for our sins if we do not by faith appropriate that sacrifice to ourselves.
Not that our believing is in any sense a work of merit that pleases God. The death
of the Lamb is the satisfying sacrifice, but receiving Christ as our personal
savior is the way God chooses to apply that atonement to our souls. Have you by
faith appropriated the sacrifice of Christ to your soul?

four: Holy God is satisfied.

Old Testament Passover was only one of many periodic sacrifices in the Law. But
then Jesus the Lamb of God died for us, and “we have been made holy through
the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10b). Now
dear struggling sinner, if Holy God is satisfied with that sacrifice, can’t
you be satisfied?

H. Mackintosh was a Bible teacher and preacher among the Plymouth Brethren in
Ireland. God greatly used him in the revival that swept Ireland in 1859 and ’60.
We know him best, however, from his writing – especially his five little books
of Notes on the Pentateuch. About the Passover, he wrote: “The loftiest estimate
which the human mind can form of the blood must fall infinitely short of its divine
preciousness; and therefore, if our peace were to depend upon our valuing it as
we ought, we could no more enjoy settled peace than if we were seeking it by ‘works
of law.’” 2

ancient Israelites in Egypt were not saved by their thoughts about the blood but
simply by being under the blood. Our redemption from start to finish is God’s
work. If it is our work, it will never work. When the blood is applied, however,
the Lord is satisfied. (Austin B. Tucker)

Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. s.v. “glory.”
Mackintosh, C. H. Notes on Exodus. Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Bros., 1880, p.


brief provided by: Austin Tucker, a writer and adjunct professor
in Shreveport, LA

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