Passover: The Lamb

Last time, we left off at the last plague. This week we will begin a three-part series based around Exodus 12:8.

The Passover Meal

Exodus 12:8 (NASB)
‘They shall eat the flesh [from a lamb] that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

At this point in the Bible, Exodus 11–14, most people remember the following things:

Most remembered parts about Passover:

  1. The death of the Egyptian firstborn.
  2. Hebrews putting blood on the door.
  3. Hebrews crossing the Red Sea with Pharaoh in pursuit.

But, there is so much more to this story than just being a historical event. The original Passover presents so many pictures of the Messiah. One of the purposes of this blog is to examine truths under the microscope of the Holy Spirit. There are some amazing truths in these chapters that frequently get over looked. So, lets take some time to closely examine some of the details.

Exodus 12:8 refers to three items of interest:
  1. A lamb
  2. Unleavened bread
  3. Bitter herbs

The KJV and NASBNASB translations lists these items in the above order. We believe this is significant because God is a God of order. Think of it this way.


  1. Jesus is the Lamb of God: Through Him, we are saved from eternal death.
  2. Jesus is our daily Bread of Life: Through Him, we live our daily lives (Matthew 6:11).
  3. Jesus is our Judge: When our sins and failings are revealed, they taste like bitter herbs.

Jesus the Messiah is a fulfillment of God’s promise in Genesis 3:15.

Genesis 3:15 (HCSB)

I will put hostility between you and the woman,

and between your seed and her seed.

>He will strike your head,

>and you will strike his heel.

The “seed” is supposed to come from a man. In this case it is coming from the woman. This verse prophecies a virgin birth of a Messiah. For more information on this read the post “Genesis: Adam & Eve”.

The Lamb (Exodus 12:3–11)

God gave very specific instructions about the lamb which was to be used for the Passover meal.

Instructions for the Passover Lamb:

  1. One year old without spot or blemish.
  2. If poor share with a close neighbor who had a lamb.
  3. Selected on the 10th day of the month.
  4. Watch carefully for 4 days.
    1. Observe to make sure it was perfect.
    2. Feed and take care of the lamb.
    3. Grow accustomed to it.
    4. Become affection with it. God wanted them to know an innocent had to die for them.
  5. On the 14th day each killed his lamb in the evening and smeared the blood on the door post.
  6. Roast the Passover lamb with fire.
    1. Fire is a symbolic of God’s judgment (Zechariah 13:9).
    2. Fire is a symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit.
    3. Entire lamb was to be roasted and consumed.
    4. Nothing could be left over for the next day.
    5. Burn if any is left over.
  7. This is how you are to eat it.
    1. With your cloak tucked into your belt.
    2. Your sandals on your feet.
    3. Your staff in your hand.
    4. Eat it in haste.

Why a one year old lamb?  Sheep generally become sexually mature at nineteen months old plus or minus a month or two.  So, a one year old lamb is a virgin.  This could be because Jesus’ mother Mary was virgin.  And, it could also be the case that Jesus never had a child or married.  So, Jesus himself is a virgin.  We will be His bride (Isaiah 62:5; Jeremiah 2:2; Matthew 25:1–13).  So, the lamb being sacrificed had to be a virgin.

Nugget: In preparing the meal, not one bone of the lamb was to be broken. This instructions required that the lamb be roasted on a spit shaped like a crossbar so that the body could be spread open. Exodus 12:9 Sounds like Jesus on the cross.

The Passover lamb gives a picture of the Messiah. Now let’s look at the person through the Gospel.

Jesus the true Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5:12):

  1. Jesus in Bethany - Nisan 9th (John 12:1).
  2. Jesus rides into Jerusalem - Nisan 10th (John 12:12–13):
    1. Jesus fulfilled Zechariah 9:9, John 12:14–15).
    2. The Jews are selecting their Passover lambs on Nisan 10.
    3. Jesus was observed and tested by religious leaders.
    4. No faults were found in Jesus (John 19:4, 1 Peter 1:19).
  3. On Passover, Nisan 14) Jesus was crucified:
    1. 9 am: Jesus nailed to the cross (Mark 15:25).
    2. 3 pm: Jesus died on the cross (Mark 15: 33).
    3. Jesus’ bones were not broken (John 19:33).
    4. 3 pm: the Jews were killing their Passover lambs.
  4. These were completed before Passover meal.
  5. Jesus in the Tomb (Three days and three nights):
    1. Died on Passover.
    2. Buried before The Feast of Unleavened Bread, 1st day a high sabbath.
    3. In the grave for three days and nights during this feast fulfilling Jonah’s 3 days and 3 nights.
    4. Jesus arose on the Feast of Firstfruits.

God is a God of order and he has patterns. No one but God could arrange such a perfect order of patterns. God used the first Passover and the first three spring feasts in perfect order for His Only Begotten Son, Jesus.

Jesus riding a donkey

Matthew 21:2 (HCSB)
telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.

Did Jesus break the Ten Commandments by asking His disciples to steal the two donkeys? Nowhere does it mention anything about the disciples paying for them. And, there is another question.

Matthew 21:7 (NIV)
They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
Leviticus 11:3–4 (HCSB)

You may eat any animal with divided hooves and that chews the cud.  But among the ones that chew the cud or have divided hooves you are not to eat these:

the camel, though it chews the cud,

does not have divided hooves — it is unclean for you;

Like the camel, a donkey chews the cud but lacks divided holves. This makes donkey an unclean animal. So, why did the Messiah ride an unclean animal into Jerusalem during his Triumphant Entry? Let’s answer this question first.

Exodus 13:13 (HCSB)
You must redeem every firstborn of a donkey with a flock animal, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. However, you must redeem every firstborn among your sons.

In some Bible translations, Exodus 13:13 specifically mentions donkeys. A lamb IS a flock animal. Furthermore, John the Baptist declared Jesus to be the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29, 36). Isaiah refers to the prophesied Messiah when he states, “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,” in Isaih 53:7. Also, the Book of Revelation states:

Revelation 5:6a (ESV)
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain,…

Bible doesn’t specifically say, but it is very likely the colt was a firstborn donkey AND it had not been redeemed according to Exodus 13:13. Thus, Jesus could had been demonstrating that He was going to pay the redemption price for this colt.

Now the initial question: Did Jesus command the donkeys to be stolen? No! He actually took back what was, by law, condemned to die. Because of Adam’s sin, we are all condemned to die. Jesus took us back from satan. JESUS REDEEMED US!

Next time, we will examine the unleavened bread.

Until then,

שָׁלוֹם (Shalom!)