I am thankful for parents and churches who faithfully remind children that Easter is about Christ not a bunny rabbit. Several years ago, I saw a church sign that both amused and pleased me. It read, “Easter is not about eggs, you silly wabbit!” Easter is about the resurrected Christ. I am thankful for the blessed and certain hope Christians have concerning our own resurrection based on the resurrection of Christ. Praise God that death has lost its sting because Christ has overcome. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, tells us that the resurrection of Christ is central to our faith. If Christ had not been raised, our faith would be worthless and we would still be lost in our sins. It is worth remembering that without the Cross there would be no Resurrection; without Good Friday there would be no Easter; without the Easter Lamb there would have been no Cross.
Exodus 12 describes the Passover Lamb which is an awesome and terrible picture of the Easter Lamb to come. 1 Corinthians 5:7 verifies this truth, “Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (NASU) When Jesus approached John the Baptist who was baptizing many for the repentance of sins, John exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29 NASU) Exodus 12 tells us: the requirements for the lamb, the symbolism of the blood of the lamb, and how to eat the lamb.
The Passover Lamb was to be an unblemished male in the prime of its life. Christ, the Easter Lamb, was a male in his early thirties, in other words in the prime of His life. 1 Peter 1:18-19 speaks about the unblemished nature of Christ, “you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (NASU) Exodus 12 says that no bone of the Passover Lamb was to be broken. John 19:33 confirms that while it was usual to break a leg during crucifixion that was not done to Christ, “but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His leg.” (NASU) Exodus 12 says the Passover Lamb was to be killed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Matthew 27 confirms that Christ was killed during that time period. The “roasted with fire” requirement given in Exodus 12 seems to be a foreshadowing of the great cruelty with which the Easter Lamb would be killed. The inherent cruelty in crucifixion is well documented.
Exodus 12:1-6 contains an interesting contrast. Each household is to select a Passover Lamb from its own flock to be sacrificed on its own behalf. However, this same passage indicates that the lamb is to be brought before the whole congregation. Then the lamb was to be killed by the whole congregation. I infer at least two things from this contrast. First, the decision to trust in the sacrifice of the Passover/Easter Lamb is a private, individual decision that must ultimately be made public. Jesus said that if we deny Him in front of men, He will deny us in front of the Father. So-called private faith is not faith at all. Faith in Christ is meant to be publicly confessed. Second, the fact that the whole congregation kills the Passover/Easter Lamb is evidence that Christ was put to death for every person’s sins. It is simply wrong to blame the crucifixion of the innocent Lamb of God on the Romans, the Jews, Judas, Herod, Pilate, etc. while not also affirming my own guilt in that process.
STEVE ELLISON is director of Ouachita Baptist Camp in Arkansas. You may contact him at email@example.com.