Jesus Christ was the living fulfillment of every legal requirement of Passover. He was the Passover lamb, the Lamb of God that God had chosen. What Christ accomplished as the Passover Lamb is so magnificent, so breathtaking and so monumental that is will transform and revolutionize our lives if we understand and believe it. I pray that God opens the eyes of your heart that you see and understand these truths as never before because they are a treasure in Scripture and foundational to us being set free from every bondage and prison to live life in the glorious liberty of the children of God. Jesus Christ is seen in every detail of the Passover. He perfectly fulfilled the law regarding the Sacrificial Lamb. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ replaced once and for all the sacrifices of the Old Testament Law and his death was the complete atonement for sin and the consequences of sin. It also signifies the victory over the power of sin that has crouched at the door of every heart ruining people, communities and nations throughout all of history. To understand the significance of Jesus Christ as our Passover is to come face to face with God’s magnificent plan of all ages.
To understand the greatness of the Passover, we must understand the historical context of the Passover. Joseph brought his father Israel, his eleven brothers and their families to Egypt during the severe famine in Canaan. Joseph was the second in command to the Pharaoh who graciously welcomed Joseph’s family into Egypt. After the famine was over, they did not leave and go back to the Promised Land. They stayed, and multiplied greatly. Eventually the Egyptians, particularly Pharaoh, became suspicious of them, so he enslaved them. What had started out as a wonderful provision for the safety of Jacob’s family ended in slavery.
Exodus 1:12b: And the Egyptians were in dread of the people of Israel. 13 So they ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves. Exodus 2:23b,24: The people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. Exodus 12:40-42: The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughouttheir generations.
Israel was physically and spiritually enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. They were in bondage in every way from their status as slaves to being enslaved to the Egyptian gods. While in Egypt, the Israelites served and worshipped the Egyptian Gods and were reluctant to abandon them. But the chains of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual slavery became too much for their burdened souls and they cried out for rescue. The oppression of their enslavement of body, soul, and mind was so great they groaned and cried to God for deliverance. They cried out for a savior, a rescuer and a redeemer who could set them free from the chains of physical, mental and spiritual slavery. It was only by God’s mighty power in the Exodus that they were ever able to leave Egypt; they could not have done it on their own. In their minds, they were half-Egyptian by that time, perhaps even more. They really did not want to leave. Sure, they loved the idea of freedom, but as soon as they left Egypt, they wanted to go back. It is ironic how hard it was for them to return to Canaan because they had forgotten that their real homeland was in the land of Canaan, not in Egypt. They had taken the place of their exile as home. They had become so enmeshed in the culture of Egypt that they considered it their own. We see this when, only a month out, they forced Aaron to bring some of that culture back into their lives in the form of a Golden Calf. Let us look at Exodus and God’s ordaining this wonderful festival of the Passover.
Exodus 12:1ff: And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you (up until now the first month of the Hebrew year was Tishri, but the Passover was so important that God wanted it commemorated in the first month and He literally rotates the calendar 6 months and makes Abib the first month).3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: (This month was called Abib and it was in the spring of the year during our March or April. It was called Abib until Judah was taken captive by Babylon and then the name was changed to Nisan. On the 10th of Nisan the Passover lamb was selected).4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.(The Passover Lamb was kept until the 14th of Nisan. From the 10th of Nisan to the 14th of Nisan was a period of preparation for the Passover meal and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which began on Passover. The 14th of Nissan was known as a day of preparation for it was on this day that the lamb was slain and prepared for eating. We must also realize that the Jewish day didn’t begin at midnight like our modern days. It began at sunset which was the start of a new day. The Passover lamb was slain in the evening but this is not an accurate translation from the Hebrew. Ben ha-arbayim literally means “between the evenings.” This is an expression according to evidence from the Talmud, the central text of Rabbinic Judaism, refers to the period between 2:30 and 3:30 in the afternoon. According to historian Josephus, the practice in the first century AD was to begin slaughtering the Passover lambs at the ninth hour which is roughly our 3:00pm. This is collaborated by Deuteronomy 16:6 where the Passover sacrifice is to take place “at evening, at the going down of the sun” which is when the sun is declining from its highest point at noon in the sky. This timing of the death of the Passover lamb is very significant later when we study the time of Jesus Christ’s death. The Passover lamb had to be slain on the 14th of Nisan before sunset because sunset began the 15th of Nisan, a new day. 2 Chronicles 35:1: “They killed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month”; Leviticus 23:5: “In the fourteenth day of the first month at even [Hebrew: “between the evenings”] is the Lord’s Passover.”) 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover. (The Israelites were to eat with their cloaks on, their sandals on their feet, and even their staff in their hand. Do you know what this says to me? It speaks to me about faith because the Israelites had been in slavery for decades. They had prayed about freedom. They had talked about freedom. They had hoped for freedom. They had cried for freedom. Now, God says, “Tomorrow, you will be free.” The Israelites could have approached that with doubts such as, “Oh yeah, we have heard that one before.” They could have crossed their legs, crossed their arms and looked kind of sideways and said, “We will believe it when we see it.” God said, “Do not act that way with Me and My promises.” God said, “You are going to be free tomorrow, and I want you to eat this Passover lamb, and I want you to be dressed, and I even want you to have your staff in your hand.” Be ready to go!)12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever.25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
There were three major feasts celebrated in Israel each year by the Lord’s command. Passover was the most important feast of all was to be observed as a sacred feast and memorial forever.
Deuteronomy 16:16 and 17: Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost] and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (17) Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the LORD your God has blessed you.
The “Feast of Unleavened Bread” was the seven day feast that began with the eating of the Passover meal. Because of its association with the Passover meal, it was also known as “the Feast of Passover. The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the 15th of Nisan and continued through sunset closing the 21st of Nisan-a seven day feast. The first day and the last days of the Feast were to be days of holy convocation, special Sabbaths in which no servile work was done. Leviticus 23:6-8: And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God instructed Moses to declare to them the procedures for subsequent Passovers, including some changes.
Deuteronomy 16: 1ff: Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there.3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there anything of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
Let’s review some of the details of the Passover we have learned:
1) There are two significant aspects of the Passover lamb, the flesh and the blood. In eating the lamb’s flesh, the believing children of Israel were literally eating physical health and wholeness to themselves as when they left Egypt. Psalm 105:37: He brought them forth also with silver and gold and there was not one feeble person among their tribes. It was the lamb’s blood sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels that caused death, the destroyer, and the wrath of God to pass over them, saving their lives. The shedding of the lamb’s blood was representative of the atonement or covering for sin. By the shedding of blood the children of Israel were spared from the consequences of their sins.
2) The Passover lamb was chosen on the 10th of Nisan.
3) The Passover lamb had to be a male of the first year, without spot or blemish and it was taken out from the sheep or the goats.
4) The Passover lamb was kept until the 14th of Nisan and then it was killed “between the evenings” at 2:30-3:30 in the afternoon (Jewish days began at sunset) and at the time of Jesus it was killed at 3:00 in the afternoon. The ram’s horn would sound around 3:00pm signaling the time to slaughter the Passover Lamb.
5) Not a bone was broken of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12).
6) The Passover Lamb was to be sacrificed in the place where the Lord chooses to place his name. 2 Chronicles 6:6a: But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there; 2 Chronicles 12:13b: The city the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel in which to put his name.
7) The Passover lamb could not be slain within the gates that the Lord thy God has given thee. The Passover Lamb was slain outside of the camp or the gates of the city of Jerusalem.
8) The Passover was to be eaten in haste with loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand indicating they trusted God’s promise that they would be delivered from slavery that evening.
9) The Passover meal was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Leaven was an agent added to a flour mixture or liquids to produce a state of fermentation. The ancient Hebrews always kneaded with their bread a piece of fermented dough reserved from the previous baking. Leaven produces fermentation and is the result of the natural process of decay. It is a symbol of death, sin and decay. Leaven spreads rapidly and has a corrupting influence like the impulses and fruit of sin. It symbolizes the corruption that takes place from wickedness. It is referred to as “the bread of affliction” which represents the affliction they had to endure during their captivity. The bitter herbs represented the bitterness of the bondage of Egypt that had afflicted their souls. Egypt’s wickedness and idolatry was like a little lump that had corrupted all of Israel and its leaven had to be not eaten or digested any longer for God was going to deliver them from it.
10) The 15th of Nisan was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and was a holy convocation or special Sabbath where no work could be done.
11) The Passover ushered in the deliverance from Egypt, the land of bondage and the release from the slavery of body and soul to the cruel taskmasters of Egypt. It was all by the hand of God Almighty.
Let’s look at Jesus Christ and how he fulfilled every one of these requirements of the Passover lamb.
1) Jesus Christ instituted the new covenant of communion right before his crucifixion. I Corinthians 11:23-26: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb had two significant parts, his body which was broken and crushed for our physical healing and wholeness and his blood which was shed as a complete atonement for sin and the consequences of sin. His blood protected from the wages of sin which is death. His blood made reconciliation to God available and he paid the price for our eternal salvation. John 1:29: The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! Hebrews 9:12-15: He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
2) Jesus Christ was chosen by God as the Passover lamb and he was chosen or accepted by the children of Israel as the Passover lamb on the 10th of Nisan. In Genesis 22 God commanded Abraham “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah; and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” On the way to the mountain, Isaac asked his father “Where is the LAMB for the burnt offering?” (Gen 22:7) to which Abraham replied “God will provide for Himself the LAMB for the burnt offering, my son.” (Gen 22:8). As Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac whom he loved, he “raised his eyes and looked and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of (as a “substitute” for) his son.” (Ge 22:13) “Abraham called the name of that place the LORD WILL PROVIDE, (JEHOVAH JIREH) as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.” (Ge 22:14) JEHOVAH JIREH is more literally “Jehovah will see,” which conveys the idea that Jehovah sees the need before it arises and provides for the need! The Omniscient One sees your need beloved. The amazing God of all grace (1Peter 5:10) not only foresaw Abraham’s need for ”A” lamb, but even more amazing, foresaw our need for “THE” LAMB OF GOD to be our Substitute. Matthew 21:8: Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”
3) Jesus Christ was a male in his first year of ministry and without spot or blemish. Although I do not have time in this article to examine in detail, but the ministry of Jesus on earth was only one year, not three years as tradition teaches. He had to be a male of the first year. I Peter 1:18,19: Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. Jesus Christ also was to be one from the flock, or as Deuteronomy 18:15 says, one “…from among your own brothers….” Jesus also had to be taken from the sheep or goats which emphasizes his humanity. Jesus was a man as the Passover Lamb, the second Adam, (I Timothy 2:5: For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus). He was taken out from “the flock” of humanity, and humanity is composed of those of us who believe (the sheep) and those who do not (the goats). Hebrews 2:14-17: Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same (Jesus only took part of the flesh and not of the blood. That is why his blood was sinless); that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
4) Jesus Christ died between the evenings at about 3:00pm on the 14th of Nisan at the exact same time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered in Jerusalem. This is breathtaking and explains one of the reasons why Jesus endured on the cross for 6 hours. Matthew 27:45,46,48,50,51: Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent. As the ram’s horn was blowing across Jerusalem to signal the Jews to kill their Passover lambs, Jesus Christ gave up the ghost and died as the Passover Lamb. The Veil of the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom, eliminating the separation between God and man. Hebrews 4:16: Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
5) Throughout the torture of the crucifixion, as the Passover Lamb none of Jesus’ bones were broken. John 19:31-36: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the special Sabbath on Thursday the 15th of Nisan) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
6) Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb was crucified in Jerusalem, the city that God chose to place His name. It is estimated that there was over 200,000 people in Jerusalem celebrating Passover.
7) Jesus Christ, as the Passover Lamb, was crucified outside the gates of the city of Jerusalem on a place called Golgotha, the place of the skull. It is interesting that Jesus was prophesied to crush the head of the serpent in Genesis 3:15 and on Golgotha at the cross on the place of the skull, this was accomplished. John 19:17b,18: So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. Hebrews 13:11,12:
For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.
8) When the new covenant of communion is partaken, the believer should be ready to leave all the bondage and sin of Egypt and walk in God’s deliverance. They should not look back to the things of the world or their past sins, but remember Jesus’ death and renew themselves to live in His lordship.
9) Jesus Christ is our unleavened bread of life. Now Christ is in us and we are to rid our lives of any remnant of leaven, the influences of our old fallen nature and live pure lives, uncontaminated from the corruption in the world. I Corinthians 5:6-8: Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 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. 8 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. Titus 2:11,12: For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Colossians 3:8: Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
10) Jesus Christ as the Passover lamb was dead and buried before the 15th of Nisan (sunset on the 14th of Nisan) because this began the Feast of the Passover or Unleavened Bread.
11) God gave His only begotten Son to redeem us from the curse of sin and death and the bondage of our spiritual Egypt. He lead captive according to Ephesians 4:8 every sin, every prison, every addiction, every lust and every oppression that held us in bondage. Colossians 1:13,14: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins. I John 3:8: The reason the Son of God was made manifest (visible) was to undo (destroy, loosen, and dissolve) the works the devil [has done].
I want to go into more depth into the sufferings of our Lord for us and what He accomplished by them.
Isaiah 53: 4-6: Surely he hath borne our griefs (sicknesses), and carried our sorrows (pains): yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. On Jesus was laid every sickness, sin, pain, oppression and bondage of the human race. He bore them all for us. How big is this truth?
John 19:1-3: Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe,3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. The Greek word for “scourged” is mastigoo meaning “to scourge with a lash or rod, to whip or to flog.” The soldiers stripped Jesus, tied him to a post and brutally flogged him. The whip consisted of stone beads or metal balls spaced periodically along the length of each strand. At the end of the thongs of this whip there were jagged pieces of metal, or bone. The wielder of the whip is an expert in his ghastly craft-trained to inflict maximum pain and damage without killing his victim. The effects of such punishment are described by the Psalmist. Psalms 129:2,3: Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.3 The plowers plowed upon my back: they made long their furrows. When being whipped in this way, the condemned man would be stripped and tied to a stake. He whipping on his bare back would hideously gouge the flesh, literally plowing it loose from the ribs and vertebrae. Bleeding would be profuse. The legs and buttocks were brutally whipped too making it extremely difficult to stand or sit without excruciating pain. The soldiers plaited or braided the first crown of thorns and put it on his head. As they continuously beat on him, the pain Jesus was suffering is impossible to describe or fathom. He was ruthlessly mocked and taunted as a King. They continued to brutally bead him with these rods. The torture and suffering was indescribable.
John 19:4,5: Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him (lamb without spot or blemish). 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! What a man! Behold the second Adam, the Lamb, the Redeemer, the Savior and the greatest man that ever lived at the focal point of all history. We see the picture of our Savior’s endurance, love and obedience in the face of unparalleled evil. Behold the man who went through all of this for each one of us, for our redemption and our salvation. Mutilated beyond recognition, wearing a garb by its color implied royalty, Jesus was brought out again for public display. Isaiah 53:7: He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. John 19:6-16:6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.14 And it was the preparation of the Passover (13th of Nisan), and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
Upon leaving Pilate, Jesus was not immediately crucified. He was taken again by the Roman soldiers into the Praetorium to be tortured, beaten and mocked by the Roman soldiers over the next 18-20 hours. Scholars have estimated that this was a cohort of about 480 soldiers. The strength of the Roman soldier was beyond comparison often able to kill a human or animal with a single blow. Matthew 27:27-31: Then the soldiers of the governor (Pilate) took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet (crimson or deep scarlet) robe (a wide course military cloak).29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!30 And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote (to beat repeatedly with hand, fist, staff and whip) him on the head.31 And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. These about 480 whole band of soldiers gathered for one purpose to mock, humiliate and torture Jesus. But there was no law to protect the Savior from these soldiers. Every man’s heart seems to have been steeled against Him. They said by their actions, if not in words, “He shall not only die, but He shall be stripped of all His honor. He shall be robbed of every comfort. He shall become the butt and target of all the cruel arrows of contempt that we can shoot at Him.” Think of this lot of howling dogs around this one gentle Lamb of God, the Christ who had never even a hard word for them, whose mightiest weapon was silence and patience! Think of Him surrounded by all these men of war from their youth up, these Roman legionaries with their imperial eagles! It was a cruel shame. The more there were of them, the meaner it was of them thus, as a whole band, to gather together to mock the Savior. They stripped off the purple robe that Pilate put on him in mockery of Jesus being a king and put on him the crimson military cloak in mockery of him being a great conqueror. Each time his garments were stripped from him, the dried blood and scabs sticking to them, would be painfully ripped off. They thrust into his head a second crown of thorns, mercilessly pressing it into his scalp causing intense pain and profuse bleeding. They stuck a reed in his hand as if it were a royal scepter, taunting and bowing before him in a laughing contempt as they hailed him as King of the Jews. They spit on him and took the staff and repeatedly beat him on the head driving the thorns deeper into his skull causing agonizing pain. These thorns were as hard as nails. When the Roman soldiers rammed down the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus, the thorns went the two major nerves that covered the entire head. When the crown of thorns came down upon Jesus, he experienced “trigeminal neuralgia” There would be agonizing pain all over the front and sides of his face. There would also be agonizing pain on the insides of his ears. It would have been the equivalent of having someone come up with a knife and stabbing a person all over the face. This is unimaginable suffering. Thorns were a product of the fall of man, a consequence of the entrance of sin into the world. God cursed the ground, declaring that it would forever produce thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:18). The crown of thorns represented that part of the curse that Jesus took upon himself in his crucifixion. There truly was no part of humanity and its ruin that he did not experience. He wore a crown of thorns so we may receive a crown of glory. The Bible is silent as to how this torture and mockery took place by the soldiers but with that many it probably lasted an excruciating long time up to 18-20 hours. Jesus was without rest had already been up over 48 hours. He had been up all day Monday. He was arrested Monday night and beaten. Tuesday he went back and forth between Pilate and Herod. Then he was up Tuesday night being beaten by the soldiers. Being tired like this intensifies the pain. He was completely dehydrated and his tongue was swollen. Then he was dragged out to be crucified with malefactors and thieves. Jesus is hurled to the ground after the long walk to Golgotha and a five inch long spike is struck by a hammer driving it crashing through sinews and flesh. As his nerves contort in horrible spasms as the nails are driven in each wrist just below the base of the hand. This causes unimaginable pain and suffering in this ultra-sensitive spot full of nerve endings. Then with the aid of ropes and pulleys, the beam is hoisted up and the force of it dropping into place immediately jerks both arms out of their shoulder sockets. Then the spikes are driven sideways through the thickest portion of the ankle bone and into the post. One of the horrors of crucifixion was the inability to breathe while hanging in that distorted position. One would have to push upward on the nail pierced feet in order to relax the chest wall enough to permit exhalation. This caused excruciating pain to simply breathe. Most died by asphyxiation on the cross and this is why they would break their legs if they were not dead. Jesus hanged on the cross for about 6 hours like this. Matthew 26:53: Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? At any time he could have had 72,000 angels come and rescue him but he chose to hand there for you and me. Can we even fathom this kind of love?
Isaiah 52:14: Just as there were many who were appalled at him—his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness—
Psalm 22 is a prophecy about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was a common practice among Jews in the first century citing a Psalm, a whole psalm, by referring to its first few words. It is to remind the listeners of this Psalm. Jesus cried from the cross the first few words of the first verse of Psalm 22 (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” which is a bad translation and more literally means, “My God, my God for this purpose was I spared!”) to bring to attention to all Israel that Psalm 22 is literally being fulfilled before their eyes. Jesus so loved people that he was reaching out to them on the cross even while hanging in agony and pain beyond belief. Psalm 22-24 were well beloved by the Jewish people. By quoting a few words the minds of Israel were directed to this Psalm as Jesus was showing Israel he was indeed the Messiah. It was a cry of vindication and victory not abandonment. God did not abandon Jesus on the cross, He was with Him every minute. God doesn’t forsake people because of sin or we would all be in trouble. That is tradition not truth. Matthew 16:32: “Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Listen to these words to feel what Jesus was going through for you prophesied by David some 900 years before Christ). Psalm 22:6ff: “But I am a worm (same word in Hebrew as “scarlet” so used as both a color and the worm that made the scarlet die. Jesus was scarlet, beaten beyond recognition, like crimson mass of flesh, but also treated as a worthless worm, hung out to die) and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan (the largest, best, strongest and most fit cattle came from an area known as Bashan. These are power animals and figuratively compared in this verse to the powerful Roman soldiers) surround me;13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion. 14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint (as the Passover lamb none of his bones were broken but they were all out of joint); my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; 15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death (he had little physical strength left and was literally living on faith alone.)16 For dogs (Gentiles-the Romans) encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet (this is a phenomenal prophecy as 900 years before the Messiah was crucified they did not crucify people. It was invented by the Romans. How amazing is God’s Word!).—17 I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me; 18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Read this amazing Psalm and hear the heart of Jesus in his suffering. What is even more astounding is his last breath he quotes the last few words of Psalm 22. Psalm 22:31: “They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn (that is you and me)-for he has done it.” In the Aramaic “He has done it” is “It is finished!” Jesus Christ was not a victim, he was in total control and knew exactly what he was doing as he sacrificed his life as the Passover Lamb for us. Think of his commitment, his steeled mind, his focus in the worst pain and torture imaginable to quote the first and last verse of Psalm 22. He was thinking I wonder how many would believe if they really knew what was going on and had their eyes opened to the 22nd Psalm. Psalm 22 was referring to no one else but the Messiah and God inspired David to write this wonderful Psalm by revelation to show Israel without doubt who the Messiah is. The only reason God forgives sin today is because of the death of Christ. Do you realize what it cost God and what Jesus went through to redeem you. Isn’t that the God that we want to devote our lives too?
The only sin could be overcome and forgiven is through the agony of the cross and the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb. The only ground of salvation is the enormous cost of the Cross of Christ. There is no other way. Isaiah 53:6-9: We all have wandered off, like shepherdless sheep, scattered by our aimless striving and endless pursuits; The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer, the sins of us all.7 And in the face of such oppression and suffering—silence. Not a word of protest, not a finger raised to stop it. Like a sheep to a shearing, like a lamb to be slaughtered, he went—oh so quietly, oh so willingly.8 Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away. From this generation, who was there to complain? Who was there to cry “Foul”? He was, after all, cut off from the land of the living, Smacked and struck, not on his account, because of how my people (my people!) Disregarded the lines between right and wrong. They snuffed out his life.9 And when he was dead, he was buried with the disgraced in borrowed space (among the rich),Even though he did no wrong by word or deed. I Peter 2:21-25: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Freedom is what Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread are ultimately about. God’s freeing Israel from bondage in Egypt is the object lesson for us to apply spiritually. Truth and freedom go hand and hand. This is one of the reasons why the Christian world is in the condition that it is in. They do not really mark the death of Jesus Christ in the way that God commanded us to observe. John 8:31,32
We also fail to understand the Power of the blood of Jesus: Spurgeon comments on the precious blood of the Lamb of God: “Standing at the foot of the Cross, we see hands, and feet, and side, all distilling crimson streams of precious blood. It is “PRECIOUS” because of its redeeming and atoning efficacy. By it the sins of Christ’s people are atoned for; they are redeemed from under the law; they are reconciled to God, made one with Him. Christ’s blood is also “PRECIOUS” in its cleansing power; it “cleanses us from all sin.” (1Jn 1:7) “Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isa 1:18) Through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, no wrinkle nor any such thing remains. O precious blood, which makes us clean, removing the stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting us to stand “accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6), notwithstanding the many ways in which we have rebelled against our God. The blood of Christ is likewise “PRECIOUS” in its preserving power. We are safe from the destroying angel under the sprinkled blood. Remember it is God’s seeing the blood which is the true reason for our being spared. Here is comfort for us when the eye of faith is dim, for God’s eye is still the same. The blood of Christ is “PRECIOUS” also in its sanctifying influence. The same blood which justifies by taking away sin, does in its after-action, quicken the new nature and lead it onward to subdue sin and to follow out the commands of God. And “PRECIOUS,” unspeakably precious, is this blood, because it has an overcoming power. It is written, “They overcame through the BLOOD OF THE LAMB.” (Rev 12:11-1Jn 5:4-5) How could they do otherwise? He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus, fights with a weapon which cannot know defeat. The blood of Jesus! Sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! We shall march on, conquering and to conquer, so long as we can trust its power!”
We must never forget the Lamb of God is coming back to earth as King of Kings.
Revelation 7:9-17: After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 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, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 19:11-14,16: Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. Revelation 17:14: These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Revelation 1:5-9: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Hebrews 12:1-4: So since we stand surrounded by all those who have gone before, an enormous cloud of witnesses, let us drop every extra weight, every sin that clings to us and slackens our pace, and let us run with endurance the long race set before us. We may feel alone, but we aren’t. We are surrounded by an army of witnesses. They have run the race of faith and finished well. It is now our turn.2 Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.3 Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. 4 Among you, in your striving against sin, none has resisted the pressure to the point of death, as He did.
The question in the OT was “WHERE IS THE LAMB?” The answer in the NT is “BEHOLD THE LAMB!” Our cry throughout eternity will be “WORTHY IS THE LAMB!” And all God’s children said “Hallelujah! Amen!”
We come to the Passover empty-handed. Everything God has blessed us with we dedicate to the Lord. Everything. Our lives, families, jobs, money, goals, possessions. He is our Lord, our Passover and He deserves everything. He deserves our utmost for His highest.