Exodus 12:1-13 • The Blood of the Lamb


Mention the word “blood” and the average listener will squirm. Mention the word “blood” from some pulpits today and the pastor will be considered insensitive or distasteful. Why bring up unpleasantness in the middle of a church service? Therefore, some churches avoid singing great hymns such as “Nothing But the Blood” and “There Is Power in the Blood.”

Christianity is based upon the person and work of Jesus Christ. The shedding of His blood is paramount to His purpose on earth: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17). For, as the writer of Hebrews states, “…Without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22)

Since the Garden of Eden, God has been preparing the world to receive the message about the blood of Christ. The work of Christ on the cross is foreshadowed in this great chapter in Exodus and the institution of the Jewish Passover.

Read verses 1-13

Q: In verse 2, why does God establish “the first month of the year to you”?

A: God is making the most significant event in Jewish history the beginning of a new calendar, a religious calendar created specifically for the Hebrews. This new calendar would be significantly different from the Egyptian calendar. This event marks the official beginning of the Jewish nation.

Footnote: The month’s original name was Abib and lasted from mid-March to mid-April. After the Babylonian exile, the name of the month was changed to Nisan. The “New Year” celebration of Rosh Hashanah was a later development in Jewish history. It occurs in the fall and represents the beginning of the Jewish civil year.

Q: What are some of the key characteristics of the lamb that was to be sacrificed?

A: It was to be a young, unblemished male. It could be either a sheep or a goat.

Q: What are some of the details concerning its sacrifice?

A: It was to be “kept” for four days before being killed. All lambs were to be killed “at twilight.” Its blood was to be applied to both doorposts and the lintel, or beam across the doorposts.

Q: What are some of the details concerning the preparation and eating of the lamb?

A: It was to be roasted (fastest method of cooking) and eaten entirely that night as if in a hurry. Leftovers and remains were to be burned. When eaten, the participants were to be dressed for a journey (girded, sandals, staff).

Q: What reason did God give for the applying of the lamb’s blood on the doorway?

A: There would be a judgment on Egypt. Any house that was not marked with the blood of the lamb would suffer judgment. That judgment was the death of the all firstborn. God would therefore “pass over” the houses where blood was applied. This event will forever be known as the “Passover.”

Read verses Exodus 12:14, 40-42

Q: One reason the Passover was performed by the Israelites was to be protected from God’s judgment of Egypt. What do these verses indicate is another reason?

A: The night of Passover was to memorialize forever “the Lord…having brought them out from the land of Egypt.” The Hebrews were instructed to eat all the lamb and save none till morning because they would be parting from Egypt that very night. It represented their deliverance from the bondage of the Egyptians.

Now that we have examined the institution of the Passover, we are ready to examine how this event relates to the blood of Jesus Christ.

Read verses Genesis 3:21

Q: How does God’s actions in this verse preview the events of the Passover?

A: For there to be “garments of skin for Adam and his wife”, blood of an innocent animal needed to be sacrificed. The shedding of blood enabled God to clothe them, thus offering protection from the world.

Read verses Genesis 4:3-5a

Q: Why was Abel’s sacrifice more acceptable than Cain’s?

A: Abel’s sacrifice was of “the firstlings (firstborn) of his flock and of their fat portions.” Again, this required the shedding of blood. Both these verses imply that the only sufficient sacrifice for man’s sin involves the shedding of innocent blood.

Now have various members of the group look up and read the following verses in regard to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Q: How is the Passover lamb in Exodus 12 representative of the person of Jesus Christ?

A: He was a young, firstborn male without blemish (Hebrews 9:14; 4:15)

Q: How is the sacrifice of the Passover lamb in Exodus 12 representative of the work of Jesus Christ?

A: He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice, His innocent blood was shed, His blood was shed on a wooden cross (symbolized by the doorposts and crossbar), and those who are “covered” by His blood are protected from God’s judgment. It marks the beginning of their deliverance from the bondage of sin.

Application: Exodus 12:28-30 records that the Hebrews believed the word of Moses and were protected from the angel of death by the blood of the lamb. How can you become protected from God’s judgment by Christ’s blood today? Read and consider:

But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

— Romans 3:21-26