"For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." (1 Corinthians 5:7b)
The Lamb had now been inspected and found to be without blemish. It was the Jewish custom that at 9:00 a.m. the lamb would be led by the priest into the temple and put on display. Notice in Mark 15:25 that at the third hour, which was at 9:00 a.m. Jesus was put on the cross. Then according to Ex. 12:6 the lamb was to be killed at “twilight.” This could also be translated as “in the middle of the evening.” The evening started at Noon and went until sundown, or 6:00 p.m. Thus the middle of the evening would have been at 3:00 p.m. This is when the High Priest would have killed the Passover lamb. Again we see from Mark 15:34 that it was at the ninth hour, or 3:00 p.m. when Jesus said His final words on the cross.
After making the declaration “It is finished,” Jesus gave up His spirit. Incredibly, it was Jewish tradition that after the High Priest killed the lamb he would make the declaration “It is finished.” Even in death Jesus completely fulfilled the requirements for the perfect Passover sacrifice. We find in John 19:33 that because Jesus was already dead when the guards came to break the legs of those who were on the crosses, they did not break his legs but rather pierced His side with a spear to confirm He was dead. We are told in John 19:36-37 that this fulfilled the requirements. What requirements? That the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken. God made sure there would be no doubt that Jesus was the complete and acceptable sacrifice for all of us.
Jesus tells us that His blood was shed for many in Mark 14:24. This includes you and me. Isaiah 53:5 tells us that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Jesus knew the price He would have to pay so that we could be healed. This verse points out that it was not simply His death that healed us, and provided our perfect peace, but also His stripes, His wounds, and His bruises. The beatings, and all the blood shed was for us. The sacrifices of lambs and bulls could only cover up the stain of sin. However, Jesus blood washed away the stains once and for all.
“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others. We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, “Be reconciled to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21, NLT)
Questions for Reflection
- Have you ever accepted the complete and perfect sacrifice He made in your place?
- If you have, are you living your life as if your sin needs to be covered by your attempts at sacrifice, or knowing that your sin has been removed and you have been made new by His perfect sacrifice?