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, and when he had given thanks he said, ‘Take this, and divide it among yourselves’.… And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body’ ” (Luke 22:14–20).

Jesus was God’s provision for a world of Satan’s slaves who were living in the darkness of spiritual ignorance and death. He was the Passover Lamb who would take away the sins of the world, who was to “open their eyes” that they might “turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God,” that they might “receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith” in him (Acts 26:18).

The last great Passover did not just happen. We read in Acts 2:23: “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”

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The fact that many in our time ridicule the reality and merits of Christ’s blood shed on Calvary is an indication of how very far we have departed from the inescapable truths of the Bible.

In our damning sophistication, many churches no longer sing, “There Is Power in the Blood,” “There Is a Fountain Filled With Blood,” and other hymns that stress that Jesus shed his precious blood as a Lamb without blemish. What folly to try to bypass the blood and its significance!

Take any good concordance and see what the New Testament says about the blood. The evidence is overwhelming that our redemption has been purchased by the blood shed at Calvary. Can it be that we have come to the time foretold when men are “holding the form of religion but denying the power of it” (2 Tim. 3:5)? Listen to these solemn words of warning: “A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God and profaned [counted as an ordinary thing] the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?” (Heb. 10:28, 29).

Just prior to this we read, “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh … let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:19, 20, 23).

The blood atonement may not embrace all the implications of our Lord’s death on the Cross, but it is not an optional doctrine; it cannot be rejected without eternal loss. From that first Passover blood has had a great significance: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement by reason of the life” (Lev. 17:11).

Through the Bible like a scarlet thread—as it has been expressed—run references to the sacrificial Lamb and his cleansing blood:

“And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities … like a lamb that is led to the slaughter.… Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him; he has put him to grief; he makes himself an offering for sin … he bore the sin of many.”

“Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.… And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

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“For even Christ, our passover, is sacrificed for us.”

“And I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain … and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God.’ ”

“They have conquered … by the blood of the Lamb.”

“All who dwell on earth will worship it [the beast], every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.”

“If any one has an ear, let him hear.… Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

Obsolete? “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth … him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.… Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, every one who pierced him; and all of the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so, Amen” (Rev. 1:5, 7, 8).

Obsolete? A mere joke?

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

This one thing I know: between this sinner and God’s judgment on sin there has been interposed, by faith, the blood of the Son of God. I know I am his, and I know I am safe!

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