I know this post is lengthy. I wanted to give the background of the Jewish celebration of Passover since we are approaching the culmination of this Feast of the Lord. I hope you will take the time to read this post and see the significance of Jesus as our Passover Lamb. I haven't re-read it so excuse the errors.
This is a re-post written April 2011. Jesus, the Bread of Life, was without sin and became sin for sinners. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was celebrated after Passover and it was the feast celebrated where God commanded the children of Israel to eat only pure unleavened bread (made without yeast). Jesus often referred to Himself as the Bread of Life. Leaven or yeast represented sin. The parables of Jesus and the warnings given by Jesus often referred to this symbolism, and so Jesus, the pure unleavened bread, took on our sin or leaven and rendered us pure. Not only was Jesus our Passover Lamb who was worthy to be slain, He was also the Bread of Life, pure and undefiled by sin.
A Tale of Two Passovers
The Israelites were about to be set free from the heavy yoke of slavery. For 400 years Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, oppressed them. Exodus opens up with the king's order to throw all the baby boys into the Nile river. This he used as a form of genocide. Moses spared from death and rescued by the Princess was pulled from a basket in the Nile River. He was raised in the household of Pharaoh. He was God's chosen servant to set the people free and lead them out of Egypt. God sent 10 plagues to Egypt. With each plague, Pharaoh's heart was hardened.
Stephen's account of Moses documented in Acts 7
There arose another king over Egypt who knew nothing about Joseph. It was he who took shrewd advantage of our race and mistreated our fathers so that they would expose their infants and they would not survive. It was at this time that Moses was born; and he was lovely in the sight of God, and he was nurtured three months in his father's home. And after he had been set outside, Pharaoh's dauther took him away and nurtured him as her own son. Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds. But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered His mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel. And when he saw one of them being treated unjustly, he defended him and took vengeance for the oppressed by striking down the Egyptian. And he supposed that his brethren understood that God was granting them deliverance through him, but they did not understand. On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together and he tried to reconcile them in peace saying, ' Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?' But the one who was injuring this neighbor pushed him away, saying ' Who made you ruler and judge over us? You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?' At this remark, Moses fled and became an alien in the land of Midian, where he became the father of two sons.
After fourty years had passed, an angel of the LORD appeared to him in the wilderness of Mount Sinai, in the flame of a burning thorn bush. When Moses saw it, he marveled at the sight; and as he approached to look more closely, there came the voice of the Lord: 'I am the GOD of your fathers, the God of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob.' Moses shook with fear and would not venture to look. But the LORD said to him, 'Take off the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground. I have certainly see the oppression of my people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them; come now, and I will send you to Egypt. Acts 7:17-34
Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning. When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down. Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' then tell them, ' It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'At Midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt. Exodus 12:21-28,29. During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.
Passover is the annual remembrance of this divine deliverance. It was also a celebration commemorating the passing over of the angel of death. The blood on the door kept the destroyer from entering the home of the Israelites, sparing their firstborn. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated the Israelites sudden departure and was to last 7 days.
What was Israel's response to the deliverance? " This Moses whom they disowned, saying, ' Who made you ruler and a judge' is it the one whom God sent to be both ruler and a deliverer with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the thorn bush. This man led them out, performing wonders and signs in the land of Egypt and in the Red Sea and in the wilderness for 40 years. This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ' God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brethren.' This is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness together with the angel who was speaking to him on Mount Sinai, and who was with our fathers; and he received the living oracles to pass on to you. Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him, but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt. Acts 7:35-39.
AD33, Jerusalem During the feast of Unleavened Bread
The Triumphal Entry, When the crowd heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem to celebrate the feast, they took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel. Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, Fear not, Daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey's colt. John 12:12-15.
The statement above is a fulfillment to the prophesy found in Zechariah, Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah 9:9
When He approached Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it. Luke 20:41. Jesus spent his final week teaching in Jerusalem. The final four days became known as His inspection period.
Then came Preparation Day, the day before the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus tells his disciples to go and prepare the Passover Feast. When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table . And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes." And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. Luke 22:7,13-21.
After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives and then to the Garden of Gethsemane, which literally means "oil press", Matthew 26:30,36. When he arrived at the place, He said to them, " Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling upon the ground. When He rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, and said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation." While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, " Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest. Luke 22:40-48,54
Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward and said, " This man stated, ' I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.' The high priest stood up and said to Him, "Do you not answer What is it that these men are testifying against you?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, " I adjure You by the Living God, to tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of the God." Jesus said to him, " You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven." Then the high priest tore his robes and said, " he has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; what do you think?" They answered, "He deserves death!" Then they spat on His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said, "Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the the one who hit you?"
Isaiah 53 The Suffering Servant, written sometime between 739-686BC
Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; he has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the inequity of us all to fall on Him. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. By oppression and judgement He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgressions of my people, to whom the stroke was due? His grave assigned with wicked me, yet He was a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; BY His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and he will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with transgressor; yet He Himself bore the sins of many, and interceded for the transgressors.
Prophesy Revealed in Revelation, written by John sometime between 81-96AD
I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."Revelation 7:9-12