Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families…
The Passover was an eminent type of Christ. It was probably to it the Baptist referred when he said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John L 29). Paul gives a decisive utterance on the question in the words: "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).
I. POINTS OF ANALOGY BETWEEN THE TRUE PASSOVER AND ITS TYPE.
1. In both the death of a blameless victim. The lamb, physically blameless (ver. 5); Christ, morally faultless. A sinful world needs a sinless Saviour. It has one in Christ. The sinlessness of Christ, a moral miracle. Proofs of this sinlessness.
(1) Christ asserts his own freedom from sin (John 8:29-46; John 14:30).
(2) In no part of his conduct does he betray the least consciousness of guilt. Yet it is admitted that Jesus possessed the finest moral insight of any man who has ever lived.
(3) His apostles, one and all, believed him to be sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
(4) His enemies could find no fault in him (Matthew 26:60; Matthew 27:23, 24).
(5) The very traitor confessed the innocence of Christ (Matthew 27:4).
(6) The delineation of his character in the gospels bears out the averment of his moral blamelessness.
(7) The captious efforts which have been made, by fixing on a few paltry points in the gospel narratives to impeach Christ's sinlessness, indirectly prove it. "As if sin could ever need to be made out against a real sinner in this small way of special pleading; or as if it were ever the way of sin to err in single particles, or homoeopathic quantities of wrong' (Bushnell).
2. In both, the design is to secure redemption from a dreadful evil. In the one case, from the wrath of God revealed against Egypt in the smiting of its first-born. In the other, from the yet more terrible wrath of God revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans 1:18). "Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10). "Saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:9).
3. In both, the principle of the deliverance is that of vicarious sacrifice. The lamb was substituted for the first-born. It protected the house, on whose door-posts the blood was sprinkled, from the stroke of the avenger. The substitutionary character of the death of Christ is, in like manner, affirmed in innumerable Scriptures. Jesus "died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6). He "suffered for sins, the just for the unjust" (1 Peter 3:18). He gave "his life a ransom for many ' (Matthew 19:28). His blood is a propitiation (Romans 3:25). There is just ground for the remark of Coleridge (we quote from memory) that a man who would deal with the language of his father's will, as Unitarians on this and other points do with the language of the New Testament, would be liable to an action at law.
4. In both, there was need for an act of personal, appropriating faith. "The people bowed the head, and worshipped. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded "(vers. 27, 28). "Through faith (they) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood," etc. (Hebrews 11:28). Their faith showed itself in sprinkling the blood on their door-posts and lintels, and in sheltering themselves under it. Nothing short of this would have availed to save them. So it is not knowledge about Christ, but faith in him; personal application to his blood, and trust in it as the means of salvation, which secures our safety. Faith is the bunch of hyssop.
5. In both, the slain lamb becomes the food of the new life. There was, on the part of the Israelites, a sacrificial feast upon the flesh of the lamb. This denoted, indeed, peace and fellowship with God, but it was also an act of nourishment. Similarly, under the Gospel, the new life is nourished by feeding upon Christ. We make him ours by inward appropriation and assimilation, and so are spiritually nourished for all holy service (cf. John 6.). Minor typical features might be insisted upon (male of the first year, roast with fire, not a bone broken, unleavened bread, bitter herbs of contrition, etc.), but the above are the broad and outstanding ones.
II. THE SURPASSING EXCELLENCE OF THE TRUE PASSOVER. It belongs to the nature of a type that it should be surpassed by the antitype. The type is taken from a lower sphere than the thing which it represents. So completely, in the case of the passover, does the reality rise above the type, that when we begin to reflect on it the sense of likeness is all but swallowed up in the sense of disproportion. How great,
1. The contrast in the redemptions. The redemption from Egypt, though spiritual elements were involved in it, was primarily a redemption from the power of Pharaoh, and from a temporal judgment about to fall on Egypt. Underlying it, there was the need for a yet greater redemption - a redemption from the curse of a broken law, and from the tyranny of sin and Satan; from death spiritual, temporal, and eternal. It is this higher redemption which Christ has achieved, altering, through his death, the whole relation of God to man, and of (believing)man to God.
2. The contrast in the victims. That, an irrational lamb; this, the Eternal Son of God in human nature, the Lord's own Christ.
3. The contrast in the efficacy of the blood. The blood of the passover lamb had no inherent virtue to take away sin. Whatever virtue it possessed arose from God's appointment, or from its typical relation to the sacrifice of Christ. Its imperfection as a sacrifice was seen
(1) In the multitude of the victims.
(2) In the repetition of the service (Hebrews 10:1-3).
But what the flowing of the blood of millions of lambs, year by year slain in atonement for sin could not achieve, Christ has achieved once for all by the offering up of his holy body and soul. The dignity of his person, the greatness of his love, his holy will, the spirit of perfect self-sacrifice in which he, himself sinless, offered himself up to bear the curse of sin for the unholy, confers upon his oblation an exhaustless meritoriousness. Its worth and sufficiency are infinite (Hebrews 10:10-15; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 2:2).
4. The contrast in the specific blessings obtained. The difference in these springs from the contrast in the redemptions. Israel obtained
(1) Escape from judgment.
(2) Outward liberty.
(3) Guidance, care, and instruction in the desert.
(4) Ultimately, an earthly inheritance.
We receive, through Christ,
(1) Pardon of all sins.
(2) A complete justifying righteousness, carrying with it the title to eternal life.
(3) Renewal and sanctification by the Spirit.
(4) Every needed temporal and spiritual blessing in life.
(5) Heaven at the close, with triumph over death, the hope of a resurrection, and of final perfecting in glory. - J.O.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.