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The Passover Lamb

A few years ago I decided to spend the week preceding Easter to learn with my children about the Passover meal that Jesus was celebrating the night before He was crucified (Luke 22).

We had to look in the Old Testament to learn about the origins of the Passover Festival. In Exodus 12 we read that as Moses and the Israelites were waiting for Pharaoh to finally agree to let them leave Egypt, they had yet another plague to endure. This time, God promised to save them from the Angel of Death if they would slaughter a lamb, then spread its blood on the sides and top of the doorframe. The angel would pass over the houses covered by the blood, and the firstborns would be spared.

With my children, we designed shoebox houses, complete with a cut-out for the door. We talked about the sorrow of having to kill a young lamb without blemish in order to use its blood. (Couldn’t we just use an old, injured one that wouldn’t be missed? Couldn’t we just use blood from a cut without having to actually kill it?) With red food coloring and Q-tips, we smeared the “blood” on the doorframes. We imagined trusting God during the night to save the people inside from the death of the firstborn.

The next day we read about what happened next: The next morning the Israelites were unharmed by the Angel of Death, while Pharaoh’s family grieved. He had had it with the Israelites’ God, so he let them go, to be done with them at last. The blood of the lamb had marked the Israelites’ homes, saving them from death, and now they were free!

God told the Israelites to celebrate this Passover every year as a reminder of how God had saved them.

A few days later we read prophecy about Jesus (Isaiah 53) and then about His death (Luke 23). Each of my children drew a picture of what they understood from these words. For the older two, they quickly saw the extraordinary way that Jesus was the Passover lamb. I challenged them to put His blood on the doorframes of their hearts, to trust that His blood would mark them as His own, and know that they would be saved.

This year, our daily routine includes a drive past a flock of ewes and their newborn lambs. We have fallen in love with these gentle and still-white little lambs. These will be the lambs we have in our mind’s eye when we talk about the Passover this year. Our hearts will hurt at the thought of choosing one to “kill” for our new shoebox house.

As Jesus celebrated the Passover with His family and later His disciples, our family is going to celebrate Jesus, whose blood marks our hearts as His. I am praying for the hearts in our family to have a fresh understanding of the Passover Lamb.

Rachel Pugh, Infant/Toddler Ministry Coordinator

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