John's Gospel

The Way It Happened

John 12:1, 12:12, Inspecting the Passover Lamb

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. … The next day the great crowd that had come for the Festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

//Thus Jesus arrives in Jerusalem precisely five days before the Jewish Passover.  In Jewish tradition, the Passover celebrates the day all of Egypt’s firstborn were slain, while the Israelites were “passed over” by the killing angel. Every Israelite selected a lamb without spot or blemish, observed the lamb for five days to verify its perfection, then slit its throat and caught the blood in a basin. This blood was sprinkled on the entrance to their home, on both sides of the doorpost and above the doorpost, so that the killing angel would know to “pass over” the house.

Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem five days early is not a coincidence. All four Gospels insist the crucifixion occurs on or around the Passover, yet it might surprise you to learn that John is the only Gospel where Jesus is likened to the Passover lamb. In John, Jesus does not eat the Passover lamb with his disciples as he does in other Gospels, because in John, Jesus IS the lamb! (see John 18:28) Jesus arrives in Jerusalem as the lambs are arriving for inspection, he dies at the same moment the lambs die. If you’re the visual sort, you may even imagine him stretched upon a cross in the same manner as the lambs are stretched upon the spit.

For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.

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