“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7
Travel back in time with me for a moment. We’re likely in Bethany by the Jordan River the day after John the Baptist baptized hundreds of people (likely Jewish), who had placed their trust in the coming Messiah (John 1:28). All of a sudden, John the Baptist sees this man walking by and proclaims, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
As Gentiles, the phrase would’ve seemed confusing to us. We probably would’ve asked why John identifies a man as being the Lamb of God. But for Jews, this bold statement would’ve turned heads and shocked many. We often forget the context behind certain phrases in Scripture, but what John the Baptist proclaims is profound. John likely identified Christ as the “Lamb of God” [Passover Lamb] because he knew that he is the fulfillment of Exodus 12 and Isaiah 53. Not only does John the Baptist see this fulfillment, but also the Apostles. In fact, Paul clearly identifies Jesus as the “Passover Lamb” (1 Cor. 5:7). I will present to you the three most important blessings we see in Scripture of Christ being our Passover Lamb.
The Lamb Delivers His People from the Bondage of Sin (Exodus 12)
The first blessing is that Jesus delivers his people from the bondage of sin. Associate Professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary James M. Hamilton Jr. describes typology as when “the biblical authors [draw] attention to people, events, and institutions where the divine author [God] has caused actual resemblance. To examine biblical typology is to examine the orchestration of the sovereign God.”
The physical Passover Lamb in Exodus 12 points to Christ as the Lamb of God, the physical sacrifice in our place. The requirement that the lamb must be unblemished points to Christ being perfect in every way. Ultimately, the result of Israel being delivered from slavery to Egypt points to the day when Christ delivered his people from the bondage of sin for all eternity on the cross.
The Lamb Atones for Sin (Isaiah 53)
The next blessing is that as our perfect sacrifice, Jesus atones for sin. Some of the most powerful verses in the Bible come from Isaiah 53, which describes the Deliverer as the Suffering Servant, the one who would take on sin and impute his righteousness to his people.
Consider Isaiah 53:4-5:
Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Christ was brought to death like a lamb brought to the slaughter, yet he didn’t resist (Isaiah 53:7). All of this he did to atone for our sin. For those of you that may not understand what atonement means, I’ll give you a helpful way of understanding the term. Basically, atonement means “at-one”ment with God. This means Jesus reconciles us to God by shedding his blood on the cross. Isaiah 53:12c, which says, “Yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors,” portrays this image of Christ bearing our sins as the sacrifice in our place, and the one who reconciles us to God.
The Lamb Blesses His People with Worship (Revelation 5)
The final blessing is that in his sacrificial death on the cross, his resurrection and exaltation, he blesses his people with worship for all eternity. I would imagine that there were a few Jews who wept tears of joy in hearing the Baptizer announce Jesus as the Lamb of God; they personally and intimately knew what that meant. They knew that John just announced their Deliverer has come. He heralded that the One who would be the sacrifice in our place has entered into the story of redemption. Our hope in redemption, however, would’ve all been lost if Christ is not risen.
If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. – 1 Cor. 15:19
The glorious plan of redemption finds its rest in the resurrected and exalted Lamb, whom Revelation 5 describes as the One who receives all “power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). By his blood he has ransomed a people for himself “from every tribe and language and people and nation,” and this beautiful people he has made “kingdom and priests to our God” to reign with him and worship him for all eternity (Rev. 5:9-10). Ransomed people of the Lamb of God, let us worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24).