Why Jesus, Our Passover Lamb, Died at the Ninth Hour

passover lamb

The young boy had many questions during Passover week, and especially about the Passover lamb.

Why this?  Why that? How’s come? When? 

All of them were typical questions of a child who wants to understand, but can’t quite grasp the significance of religious rites. Sometimes having to answer the questions of our kids helps us solidify our own faith. It helps us to have to put it into words. There are other times when we finally say, “Just watch!”  We know that if our kids will just be quiet, watch and listen, they will learn.

Why did the Passover lamb have to be one with no blemish? Why was the Passover meal eaten with shoes on their feet? Why, why, why?

Finally, his father replied, “Son, just watch the lamb.”

Passover Lamb

At the culmination of Passover week and on the eve of the Sabbath, the Passover Lamb was killed. It was the ultimate sacrifice for the Jewish people, a sacrifice that would absolve them of their sins.

The Passover lamb had to be a male of one year of age, without spot and without blemish. No genetic faults, no limping and no broken flesh or bones. It had to be completely perfect. The temple lambs in Jerusalem came from Bethlehem.

That’s an interesting thought, for Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Like I said, God is a God of order, of method, and of purpose.

The week of Passover celebration culminated in the Sacrifice.

The celebration stemmed from 2,000 years before when God’s people were instructed to kill a lamb and put the blood from the lamb on the doorposts of each house, blood on the sides and across the top of each doorpost.

Moses said, ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations.”

That night, the angel of Death would be sent to Egypt to kill the firstborn of every family, including animals as well as Pharaoh’s oldest son. For the children of Israel, the blood on the doorposts would tell the angel of Death to pass over that home. The oldest child in the home where the blood was on the doorposts would be spared. No burials for God’s people the next day!

They were to choose a lamb in its first year (either from a sheep or a goat) and follow instructions. They obeyed, and their children lived. In the morning while all of Egypt wailed in grief, the children of Israel rejoiced because they had been spared. They experienced no sorrow, for the angel of the Lord had indeed passed over them.

Every year since the night before their exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel celebrated the Passover.

Jesus Himself ate the Passover supper with His twelve disciples in an Upper Room where a Master of the house provided the place.

That night, Jesus explained that He would become the Passover Lamb.

His disciples didn’t understand it; they could not comprehend. Yet, it happened just like He said it would.

After being tried and unjustly scourged, Jesus was taken to the cross.

The fulfillment of prophecy was taking place, and no one knew it, but Jesus.

At the end of Passover week, the father told his son, “Hush. Just be quiet. Quit asking questions. Just watch the lamb.”

So he did. The boy watched as the spotless, perfect lamb was taken to the altar. At precisely three o’clock (the ninth hour), the lamb was presented by the High Priest as the atonement for the sins of the people. The lamb’s throat was slit, and it died. The blood that came from that lamb bought redemption for the people.  God had said that unless blood would be shed, there would be no remission of sin.

The boy watched. He saw the lamb, and he saw the blood. He saw the death. He was forgiven.

And on that Good Friday, the crowds and multitudes were so wrapped up in their anger, vengeance, and cries for crucifixion that they didn’t realize or recognize this sinless sacrifice.  The most important history of all mankind was being made, and they missed the significance.

On that Good Friday, Jesus gave Himself to His Father and said, “It is finished.” The Bible tells us that He gave up the spirit. His life was not taken. He gave it.

Just like the lamb on each Passover day, Jesus was taken to the altar. Blameless and sinless, He became sin for each one of us.

passover lamb

The scriptural record states that about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out to his Father. After being offered a bitter drink, He cried out with a loud voice and died. It was at precisely that time that the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.

Jesus’ death opened the curtain and allowed mankind to come into the Holy of Holies because He became our Passover Lamb.

He became – and still is – the complete and perfect sacrifice!

Forever and ever. Amen.

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