What is the significance of the Passover Lamb? In the Old Testament times, a group of people called the Israelites, lived in the land of Egypt. They were under heavy oppression as the ruler of that country did not like them. Moses was the leader of the Israelites, and God was giving Moses instructions on how they were to prepare to leave the land, to go to their homeland, Israel. Well, Pharoah, the Egyptian leader kept changing his mind about letting the Israelites leave. He would tell them to go, and as they were planning on leaving, Pharoah would say that they had to stay. God sent terrible plagues on the Egytians, and Pharoah still wouldn't let them go. Finally, God instructed the Israelites to take a lamb and kill it. They were to take the blood of the lamb and put it on the door posts of their houses. The Death Angel was going to pass over the land that night, and any house that did not have the blood applied to the door posts would have the firstborn son die in that home. Here is what the Bible says Moses did:
"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.
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning."
Here is what happened during that night:
"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead."
Every house was affected. The Israelites that applied the lamb's blood were not harmed, but the Egyptians were not prepared. The Bible says that 'there was not a house where there was not one dead' talking about what happened to the Egyptians.
The Passover was an ordinance to be observed by the Jews from that point on. Throughout Jewish history, we see various people keeping this command or reinstating it. Throughout the Law (first five books of the Bible) we see the purpose of the lamb sacrifices. The lamb was to cover the sins of the people. The lamb itself could not take the sin away, but it would cover it. The lamb had to be without blemish. A person could not offer a lamb that was deformed or weak. By the time we get to the New Testament, we still see the Passover being carried out. Lambs were still being sacrificed. The priests were busy at the Temple. But why the big deal with lambs? What was the issue? Well, two things are involved here. The first one is the God is absolutely holy. He has no imperfections in any way or degree. He cannot have anything to do with imperfections or flaws. Further, He is also just. He has no choice but to punish sin. That means when we die, we will stand before God, whether we like it or not, and give account of our lives. Every sin we have committed will be before us waiting to be judged. That is the other problem. Every person has sin in their hearts. We have hearts that love ourselves instead of God. We find ourselves angry with God because He doesn't give us what we want or what we think we deserve. We break the 10 Commandments constantly. We deserve God's judgment for our lawbreaking. What a sad situation. What do we do? Can we offer a lamb for our own sins? The good news is that we don't have to. Two thousands years ago, a lamb was sacrificed for our sins. We don't have to find a lamb without blemish, take its blood and put it on our door posts and hope that the Death Angel doesn't pass over our house tonight. God sent His Son to earth to take the punishment for our sin. That is why He is called, "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".
When Jesus died, God the Father put all of our sins on Him. There was a heavy darkness over the earth while this was happening. Then, just before He died, Jesus said, "It is finished." A big heavy curtain in the Temple split in half and opened up the holiest of all rooms. A room where only a priest could go in once a year with the appropriate sacrifices, and his sin dealt with correctly or he would have died. Now this room was exposed showing us that we can now have access to God through the blood of Christ, which was shed on the Cross. Here is a New Testament verse telling us about Christ being our Passover Lamb: 1 Corinthians 5:7
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us..." So that is the reason why lambs had to be killed in the Old Testament times, and the reason why Jesus became our 'Passover Lamb". He became the Ultimate Sacrifice to pay for our sins. Of course, He rose again on the third day after this and appeared to many people, and went back to His Father in Heaven. Now we can trust in Him as our Savior as we repent of our sin and turn to God to save us.