Sunday, July 24, 2011

Passover Pictures

Today's passage:  John 19
     I am really glad that I am not a Jew living during Old Testament times.  I don't know about you, but the thought of butchering a lamb for Passover each year, makes me queasy.  The smell of blood on my doorposts makes me shudder.  It's a beautiful picture, but pictures are for the eyes, not for the nose and other senses.  I've had the misfortune of coming across dead animals, and they do not smell good.  Maybe lambs have no smell when they are dead, so that is why God chose it, but if they are like any other animal, the carcass stinks. Envisioning the father of each family swiping the blood across the doorposts is pretty in my head, but in real life, he would be covered.  The blood would have dripped like wet paint, and anyone who traipsed in or out would trudge though it and bring it into the house.  Blood spatters everywhere, it is not easy to contain.  This was messy work.  Flash forward to the day of Christ's death.
Jesus' Death on the Cross--Taken from Standard Bible Story Readers, Book Six
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1929
       It is the beginning of the Sabbath day during the week of the Passover, the first day of unleavened bread.  John says, "(for that sabbath day was an high day)."  There are numerous parallels between the Passover and Christ's death.  Books have been written about them.  I've known many of them, but one I hadn't remembered before was the use of hyssop. When Jesus expressed that he was thirsty, a sponge of vinegar was offered to him.  This sponge was atop a hyssop branch.  I've read two or three explanations for what hyssop is.  One said it was a small bush similar to marjoram, another said it was like a caper plant with long branches.  For me, the second makes more sense, for how would a little bush be able to reach Jesus on the cross?
     When I was reading about preparation for the Passover in Leviticus 23, I had not realized that the way the Israelites were to apply the lamb's blood to the doorposts of their house was with a hyssop branch.  Accident?  No way.  Jesus was the Passover Lamb.  His blood was about to be applied so that God could pass over our sins.  The hyssop branch was extended to Him and I'm guessing the sponge came down with some blood on it, since by this time, Christ's blood was everywhere.  It had been dipped in blood, just as they had done in the Old Testament.  The blood had been applied, not to doorposts this time, but to the hearts of all who would believe. 
     Another thing I had never really thought about until I was reading the verses about John and Mary becoming a new family, was the fact that Christ was indeed the firstborn.  Jesus had brothers and sisters, but He was Mary's first child.  At the original Passover, the firstborn lamb (without blemish) was offered up as the sacrifice.  It's blood would spare the firstborn of every family that applied it.  Those families who did not apply the blood (Pharaoh included) found their firstborn sons dead the following morning.  Jesus took the place of that lamb.  He was the Lamb.  When God looked down and saw the blood flowing from the cross, it was acceptable to Him, and He would pass over all those who applied the blood of His Son.  He still does that today.  Christ's blood was enough, it IS enough.  All we need do is accept His death as our substitute. 
     I'm so glad I am not living back in Old Testament times.  I am thankful that I do not have a bloody mess to deal with each year at Passover.  I have a Passover Lamb that shed His blood.  He did all the work, I only had to apply it.


  1. Reminds me of a song we sang in choir:


  2. I'm not familiar with that song, but I love the lyrics! Jesus paid it all!


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