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Wednesday - the Lamb in the House

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 • 12:38 am


We’ve been working through John’s gospel at Church this first term of the year and, as we approach Easter, I’ve been amazed at the level of detail that John pours into his text. At the surface level these are simple statements of fact but, on closer inspection, we find them laden with theological meaning.

Take, for example, Jesus’ identification as the Passover Lamb. From the beginning of the gospel this theme is quite striking. So, for instance, John’s first words on seeing the Christ:

John 1:29 On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Of course, this does not mean that the Passover is the only understanding of Jesus’ death that is required of us, but it certainly points in that direction. As we approach the death of Jesus the mention of Passover increases. So,

John 11:55 Now the Jewish feast of Passover was near, and many people went up to Jerusalem from the rural areas before the Passover to cleanse themselves ritually.

John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom he had raised from the dead.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. Pilate said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”

John is keen that we understand Jesus’ death in this context. And he provides other clues as to what is going on.

Immediately after the last text above (where John, yet again, reminds us that it is the day of preparation (i.e. killing and cooking) of the Passover) we see this exchange:

John 19:15 Then they shouted out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?” The high priests replied, “We have no king except Caesar!”


Jesus is, of course, their true King (as we shall see tomorrow). Instead these leaders of Israel insist that their king is Caesar! They would rather acknowledge the sovereignty of their pagan overlord than the true king of Israel. They are, indeed, back in Egypt, under the rule of a foreign overlord and desperately in need of God’s saving action. Indeed, another Passover…

Which is what God gives them. Consider the original stipulations for the Passover:

Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel, ‘In the tenth day of this month they each must take a lamb for themselves according to their families– a lamb for each household.

The Lamb enters the house on the tenth day of the month.

Exodus 12:6 You must care for it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then the whole community of Israel will kill it around sundown.

The Lamb is killed on the fourteenth day.

Now, consider this little observation my John:

John 12:1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom he had raised from the dead.
...
John 12:12 The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.

So we have Jesus entering the city of Jerusalem on the fifth day before the Passover. Because of the way that Jews count days (including the origin as the ‘first’) this means that, the Passover being the 14th of the month, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 10th of the month, exactly replicating the time spent by the Passover Lamb in the house of those it was going to save.

Jesus is the true Passover Lamb.


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Comments:

Every scintilla of Scripture has deep meaning.  Thank you David for illustrating this point that I had missed all these years.

[1] Posted by physician without health on 03-19-2008 at 06:46 AM • top

David, there are times I think you kneel down to drink from the well spring of life & end up falling in, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing grin

[2] Posted by Hosea6:6 on 03-19-2008 at 07:17 AM • top

Lamb of God has an even deeper meaning in the words of those times - for those whose culture regularly involved animal husbandry.  If you have some orphan lambs (which inevitably happens - some die in childbirth, get eaten by wolves, etc.) you can take the lamb of another sheep, kill it and place the blood on the orphan lambs, and the mama lamb will then recognize the orphans as her own children.  Then, put that in the context of the cross.

[3] Posted by Brad Drell on 03-19-2008 at 07:46 AM • top

The depth of scripture is bottomless and unshakeable in it’s truth and meaning. Maybe the word should be “meanings” because of the way it continues to live and move with us.
The stories and illustrations are ancient, but man is the same.
We consider ourselves to be these intellegent and modern humans, but continue to commit the same old sins over and over again.
Lord . . . we need a lamb to wash them away.
Thanks for sending Him.

Thanks David for yet another view into the wealth of scripture.

Laytone

[4] Posted by Laytone on 03-19-2008 at 08:28 AM • top

Mark 14:12 & Luke 22:7 also make the connection, as the Last Supper is explained by allusion to the killing of the passover lambs.

[5] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 03-19-2008 at 09:35 AM • top

#3 Drad Drell,
That is a beautiful analogy! I didn’t know this! This is wonderful to comptemplate for the remainder of Holy Week and into the remaining year! Thank you!

[6] Posted by TLDillon on 03-19-2008 at 10:14 AM • top

I see it, I see it!  Maybe ya’ll could break-into 815 and teach them this!  If you could reach me, surely they would have a chance!  They just don’t know how BEAUTIFUL Scripture is!  Teach, teach, I am loving this sooo much!!

[7] Posted by rose on 03-19-2008 at 05:35 PM • top

good question, Sasha.
I’m not at all convinced, I’m afraid, that there was a “special” extra Sabbath for Passover. However, you are right in noting that the word “sabbaton” in Matt 28:1 is plural but this is just a curiosity of the word itself. It literally means “the sevens” and so, even though referring to a “singular” day, is expressed as a plural.

[8] Posted by David Ould on 03-20-2008 at 06:38 AM • top

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