Did it just “happen” that Jesus was killed at the time the Passover was being celebrated?

It was midnight long ago on the occasion of the first Passover in Egypt. Darkness brooded over the land. A people—those whom God would redeem from slavery and servitude—were to be delivered because of God’s command, because of their faith in and obedience to that command, and because of the death of a lamb.

They might not have understood the implications of what was to be done, but they did understand that a lamb was to be slain and its blood applied by faith and in obedience to God’s instructions, on the two doorposts and the lintel of their homes, and that because of this blood all in the house would be safe. (“And when I see the blood I will pass over you.”)

Suddenly throughout all the land of Egypt there went up a cry. Judgment and death came to every household except those that bore the sign of blood—where the slaying of a lamb had saved those who had believed.

Whether there were unbelieving and disobedient Israelites as well as Egyptians on that night of death and redemption, we do not know. But this we do know: When God’s judgment fell, those who had applied blood to the two doorposts and the lintel were safe. God had seen the blood and had passed over that house.

The Old Covenant passed and a new one took its place. But as in the Old, so in the New, blood was the symbol of cleaning and forgiveness.

Centuries had now intervened, and the annual celebration of the Passover feast had come once more. Jesus and his disciples had gathered in an upper room: “And when the hour came, he sat at a table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer’.… And he took a cup, ...

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