Passover and the Passion Week
Passover and the Passion Week
“This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and
lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
It was prophesied by the prophet Micah in chapter five and verse two that the Messiah (Christ) would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah. The sign for the lowly shepherds was a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. Beth lechem is Hebrew for “house of bread.” An apt name for the birthplace of the “Bread of Life.” Ephrathah means fruitful. He is the vine and we are the branches and if we remain in him we will bear much fruit. The Lamb of God was born in a manger - a feeding trough for animals. He was birthed in a stable. His first visitors were shepherds who left their sheep to pay homage to the Lamb.
Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished.
His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" (I must be about my Father's business? KJV) Luke 2: 41-49
The Passover is the first of the seven appointed Feasts of the LORD. The first recorded words of Jesus were spoken three days after the Passover. For three days his parents didn't know where he was or if he was dead or alive. Jesus arose from the dead after three nights and days following the Passover with his disciples. Jesus was dedicated to being about his Father's business. John records the last words of Jesus on the cross: “It is finished.” John 19:30b
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus raised from the dead. John 12:1
The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna! " "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the King of Israel!" Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, "Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey's colt." John 12:12-15
The triumphal entry of Jesus occurred five days before the Passover, on the 10th day of the first month called Nisan. This is the very day when every male Israelite was to take a lamb for his family, one for his household (Ex 12:3b). This lamb was to be observed and examined for four days. If it did not show signs of sickness and was fit for sacrifice, it was then slaughtered. Palm Sunday is the commemoration of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem as was foretold by the prophet Zechariah. It was also the day when every household took a lamb into its home and embraced it as a household pet, only later to slaughter it.
“Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29b
Jesus taught in his Father's House (the Temple) and was observed for five days. During this time, Jesus was tested by the Sadducees (who did not believe in the Spirit realm or the resurrection), the Pharisees (who were self-righteous hypocrites) and the Herodians (who sought the political favor of Rome). When Jesus was illegally arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane he stated, “Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching and you did not arrest me” (Matthew 26:55b). He was a lamb without blemish.
Not only did the religious leaders fail in their plot to cause Jesus to stumble but Jesus was declared free from guilt by Pilate who washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of this man's blood” (Matthew 27:24). Even his betrayer Judas said, “I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation (John 1150-51). The sinless Paschal Lamb was indeed slaughtered for sacrifice by the whole nation.