When one reads Scripture through Christ coloured lenses, then one soon sees that there are connections to Christ from Old Testament to the New Testament in many places. One of those connections is what occurred way back in Exodus 12 where we read about the ‘Passover’, the time when the Israelites were redeemed for the land of slavery. The Passover celebration was known by the Jews as the festival in which sacrificial lambs were slain. The Jews were pleased enough to celebrate this festival annual as directed by God in Exodus 12:14. Unfortunately, the Jews did not recognize Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb and sadly, still do not today.
In Matthew 26:2, Jesus says to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Our blessed Saviour knew the time had come for Him to be delivered up on the cross and be the ultimate ‘Passover Lamb’ to redeem all those the Father had chosen unto eternal life. His reference to the coming Passover celebration not only fitted perfectly into God’s plan, he knew that His own suffering and death was timed to coincide with that Old Testament celebration.
Interestingly, during Jesus’ ministry, people such as the Jewish leaders unknowingly threatened God’s timetable when they sought to kill Jesus. But all premature attempts to murder Christ failed because they did not fit into God’s sovereign plan for how, when, and why Jesus should die on the cross (Jn 1:29; Ac 2:23-24).
However, there were others, who knew exactly that Jesus had come as the Passover Lamb. Simeon knew that salvation for sinners was to come from Christ as did Anna, the prophetess Luke 2:28ff). John the Baptist had no issue with it either. When Jesus arrived on the banks of the Jordan River, he exclaimed, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:29). John the Baptist understood that the death of the Lamb of God would forever replace the Passover’s importance.
The Apostle John was convinced of the central importance of Christ being the ultimate Passover Lamb. His gospel was written with the prime purpose to encourage his readers to believe. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31). Likewise, the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Cor 2:2; “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
Sadly, many people do not believe the central importance of Jesus being the ultimate Passover Lamb. Some think they don’t need saving and others believe there are other ways to heaven, despite what the Scriptures clearly teach to the contrary, in places such as John 14:6 and Acts 4:12, and other places.
Can we ever become too focused on Jesus? Is it wrong to insist on Him being central to any message we hear from God’s Word? The short answer is, “No!” May God forbid that we should ever sell Christ short. Without the cross of Christ there is no salvation and no Christianity and no way to the Father.
John 5:11-12 teaches us the importance of having Christ front and centre. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” As someone once said, “Don’t leave this life without him!” JZ.