We are in the midst of Passover week, a time when we are called to remember how YHWH rescued the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. After nine horrific plagues attacked Egypt, the final plague was the nail in the coffin. The first born of every human and animal would die. But YHWH sent instructions to His followers: by sacrificing a lamb and painting the blood around the door frame, death would pass-over the house and have no power where the lamb’s blood resided.
To this day Passover is a yearly celebration to recall how YHWH ransomed His people with the blood of a lamb. They were spared from death so that they could march out of Egypt and head towards Israel, the land promised to them by God.
Yeshua (Jesus) would have observed Passover every year of His life. He spent His final week as a human during the week of Passover. When He entered Jerusalem, at the beginning of the feast week, He was seated on a donkey and was greeted by the crowds shouting:
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHWH.
Blessed is the coming Kingdom of our father David; Hosanna in the highest.”
The Christian traditional of Palm Sunday (which is celebrated today) had Yeshua arriving with greetings of Kingly acceptance at the beginning of the week of Passover. He went to the Temple in Jerusalem, but rather than present a lamb for the slaughter, He became the Lamb, Himself. By the end of the week He was mocked, beaten, nailed to a cross and raised up, like a twisted coronation, to be on display for all the people to have pity on.
When Yeshua first began His ministry, His cousin John pointed to Yeshua and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:19). That was Yeshua’s mission. He was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. His death and resurrection allowed for our eternal living. He was YHWH’s Anointed One (Mashiach-Messiah) and our Saviour-Redeemer!
Seven hundred years before Yeshua, the prophet Isaiah described the Saviour-Redeemer to come; He would be like a Lamb to the slaughter:
He was despised and abandoned by men, a man of great pain and familiar with sickness; and like one from whom people hide their faces, He was despised, and we had no regard for Him.
However, it was our sicknesses that He Himself bore, and our pains that He carried; yet we ourselves assumed that He had been afflicted, struck down by God, and humiliated.
But He was pierced for our offences, He was crushed for our wrongdoings; the punishment for our well-being was laid upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.
All of us, like [a flock of] sheep [ka-tson], have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but YHWH has caused the wrongdoing of us all to fall on Him.
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb [ka-seh] that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep [u-k-rakhel] that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off from the land of the living
For the wrongdoing of my people, to whom the blow was due?
And His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
But YHWH desired to crush Him, causing Him grief; if He renders Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of YHWH will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, for He will bear their wrongdoings.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the plunder with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death, and was counted with wrongdoers; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the wrongdoers.
However you celebrate this week to come, be it Passover or Easter, let us all remember the heart-wrenching sacrifice that saved us. Yeshua died so that we could live. That’s a gift that we could never pay back. But we’re not asked to pay it back, we’re just asked to open ourselves up to accept it.
For more on the Hebrew words for lamb, click below:
Next week: RANSOM