Jesus has had many titles. Among them: Messiah, Christ, Lord, Master, Son of God, Son of Man, the Word, King of the Jews, Son of David, and Emmanuel, to name a few.
John the Baptist, a Jew, addressed Jesus as the “Lamb of God.”
The Lamb of God has particular significance for unpacking the connection between the Jewish tradition of Passover and Jesus.
The Jewish Passover celebrates the Israelites’ divine deliverance from Egyptian slavery, endowing the Passover with the dual themes of slavery and deliverance.
In the days of Moses, the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery was a physical one. As explained in the Jewish Haggadah, if not for divine intervention and the Exodus, the Jewish people would still be slaves in Egypt.
So, what was the divine intervention?
God ultimately delivered the Israelites from the oppressive Egyptian pharaoh through the sacrifice of a perfect lamb.
As directed by God through Moses, the Israelites were to spread the blood of such unblemished lamb over their doors so that the angel of death would “pass over,” sparing the lives of those inside.
It’s no coincidence that these same themes of slavery and freedom establish the foundation of Christianity.
Instead of physical enslavement, however, Christianity addresses deliverance from humanity’s enslavement to sin.
Why do we need liberation from sin?
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Freedom from physical slavery is important. But freedom from spiritual enslavement to sin is essential.
We can be physically free from bondage in this life and still be spiritually enslaved to sin.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Thus, everyone, both Jew and Gentile, needs to be saved from sin.
As predicated at the Passover, the only way to be freed from our enslavement to sin is through the blood of another perfect lamb: Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist knew the purpose that Jesus came to accomplish. “‘The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'” (John 1:29).
Like the unblemished lamb at Passover, God required an unblemished human to stand in the place of our judgment and spare our eternal lives. And since Jesus was the only human who never sinned, He was the only sacrifice able to atone for the sins of humanity.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The sacrifice of the perfect lamb at Passover foreshadowed (in form) the ultimate freedom that Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to accomplish (in substance).
Christ’s death and resurrection breaks the chains that bind us to sin and spiritual death. The consequence spiritual death is eternal separation from our Creator.
We can avoid this devastating consequence by accepting Christ’s sacrifice, enabling the angel of eternal spiritual death to “pass over” us as well.