Today's Reading: Exodus 12:1-51
Jesus says to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified’ (Matthew 26:2). He dies at the moment that ‘it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb’ (Mark 14:12). St Paul writes, ‘For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed’ (1 Corinthians 5:7b).
The blood of a lamb protected the people of God under the old covenant at the first Passover (Exodus 12:1–30). You are far better off now under the new covenant. The blood of Jesus (the Lamb of God) cleanses and protects you permanently (Hebrews 9:12–26).
At the first Passover we see how a lamb had to be sacrificed. The lamb had to be ‘without defect’ (Exodus 12:5), pointing forward to the innocent Jesus we read about in today’s New Testament passage. There is great emphasis on ‘the blood’ of the lamb (vv.7,13,22–23). The blood of the lamb without defect was to be shed as a sacrifice (v.27). When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, ‘Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). The blood of the lamb gave the people protection from God’s judgment. It was the ‘Passover sacrifice’ (Exodus 12:27). This foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus.
It is interesting to note in passing that God’s instruction, ‘Do not break any of the bones’ (v.46) was specifically fulfilled at Jesus’ death. Breaking a person’s legs was a way of speeding up death through crucifixion. They broke the legs of two men crucified with Jesus, ‘but when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs’ (John 19:33).
Where there was blood on the door-frames of a house, it indicated that death had already taken place in the household. Those who obeyed God’s word by putting blood on the door-frames were spared. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has been shed for you and me. The Passover points forward to how Jesus died as a sacrifice on our behalf.
I like Joyce Meyer’s prayer:
Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name and I apply the blood of Jesus to my life, to all that belongs to me, to everything you have given me to steward. I put the blood of Jesus on my mind, my body, my emotions and my will. I put the blood on my family, my co-workers and my friends. Thank you for protecting me with your blood. Amen.