My father teaches a weekly Bible study in his furniture store. He opens the store at 9am for any who want to study God’s word. He also teaches a Sunday School class at Southside Baptist in Suffolk Virginia. I wanted to share his lesson this morning. This was his lesson as quoted to me this afternoon…
The story of the first passover is found in the book of Exodus. It occurred during a time in history when the Israelites were held as slaves in bondage to the Egyptians. The Israelites cried out to God for deliverance from Pharaohs cruelty. God sent Moses and 10 plagues to change the heart of Pharaoh who resisted releasing his slaves, until the last plague.
This was the first passover. God told the Israelites to pick out the very best lamb, inspect it to insure it was without spot or blemish, and devoid of defects. They were to kill the lamb, collect the blood and paint it around the door of their home. That night, the angel of death would pass through, if there was blood on the door, all occupants would be saved. Behind the doors without blood the first born child in each family would die.
500 Years Later:
The passover was celebrated every year after and at this time the passover was taking place at Solomon’s temple. Four days before passover the high priest would come down from the temple, and leave the city. He would enter the town of Bethlehem where the sheep fold was and he and his entourage of priests would pick out the most perfect lamb. He would put a rope about it’s neck and lead it into the city.
At this time the crowds would gather on both sides of the lane, as well as the hundreds of priests. As he entered the gates of the city with his lamb, the priests would yell with a loud voice,
“Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” This was chanted by the priests and the crowd of thousands joined in. The crowd laid out the palm branches before the High priest and the lamb being led into the city gates.
The lamb was tied up, and inspected by all (including Pharisees, Saducees and the priests) for four days. After the four days the High Priest would stand upon the temple mount and yell down upon the crowds, “I find no fault with him at all!” This meant the lamb was worthy of the sacrifice, for any flaw would disqualify this lamb.
The day of passover, many lambs were sacrificed, as individuals brought their lambs to the temple, and the meat was handed out and eaten. The perfect lamb was the last to be sacrificed. The High Priest collected the blood of this lamb and entered the Holy of Holies. He sprinkled it’s blood on the ark of the covenant called the Mercy Seat. This would be the atonement or payment for the sins of the nation of Israel for one year. The High Priest would emerge from the temple and yell out, “It is finished!”
1,000 years later,
One thousand years after the Israelites are freed from Egypt, they are once again four days before passover, but this time it is different because Jesus is in town. He told his disciples, “Enter the village and find the donkey and her colt, untie them and bring them to me, and have my followers meet me at the gates of the city.”
They did as Jesus instructed, and the prophesy written by the priest Zechariah around 520 BC was fulfilled. In Zechariah 9:9 it states, “Behold your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Jesus rode the colt up the dirt lane.
The disciples and all the followers of Jesus began shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!”
As you can imagine the people were already lined up on the streets to welcome the perfect sheep, for by this time, the High Priest, had roped it’s neck and was leading it into the city, only this year Jesus beat him to the gates. The crowd began shouting along with the disciples and thousands shouted out “Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” Palm branches and cloaks were laid out for Jesus than for the lamb.
One of the priest bent over and looked down the lane, expecting to see the High Priest leading a lamb said, “That’s Jesus and he’s riding a donkey!”
The Pharisees are angered by this outcry of affection for Jesus, and told Jesus to silence his followers.
“Jesus answered. “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” (Luke 19:40) (I love that part! For I would have loved to see the rocks break open in song, and the Pharisees piddling on their robes.)
The multitude closed in around Jesus, and the High Priest lagging behind with the sheep, finds the mass dispersing.
For four days Jesus is questioned by the Pharisees, Saducees, Herodians, and eventually after his arrest, Pontius Pilate. After Pilate questioned him he yelled down to the crowd awaiting the verdict, “I find no fault in Him at all!”
The High Priest about this time is rendering his verdict of the sheep from Herod’s temple mount, “I find no fault with him at all.”
I can assure you the lamb’s sacrifice was much more humane. Jesus was beaten, spit upon, rejected, and humiliated. He carried his cross, until He could carry it no more. He gave His life willingly, and said nothing in His defense. He went as a lamb to the slaughter.
There He hung between heaven and earth, where His life blood flowed out for the sins of mankind. At the same time, the High Priest emerged from the Holy of Holies after completing the sacrifice and yelled, “It is finished!”
I imagine at the same moment, Jesus cried out “It is finished!” before releasing His spirit.
He was taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb, but thankfully, this is not where the story ends. Three days later, through the power of God, Jesus arose from the dead, showing us there is life beyond this one, for those who believe. Just as there was life for those obeying in faith, who sacrificed their perfect lamb and spread the blood around the door many years ago.
There is life for any who accepts Jesus as Lord.
He is risen…He is risen indeed.
Note: If you are interested in attending my father’s Bible study. It is at Brandon House Furniture Company on West Washington Street in Suffolk Va. on Wednesday mornings from 9am to 10am. Anyone is welcome.