Caring for the Lamb!
The Passover lamb is a picture of what Jesus would later do for all mankind with His sacrifice on the cross.
Take special care of these lambs until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then each family in the community must slaughter its lamb.
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Caring for the Lamb!
God is about to keep His promise to the nation of Israel and deliver them from their bondage and bring them to a land of their own. To do that He is going to send one last plague on the nation of Egypt; He is going to send the Destroyer to kill the firstborn son of everyone in the land of Egypt. Here we see the institution of the Passover for the Israelites. The Passover lamb was slaughtered, and its blood was smeared on the doorposts of the houses as a sign to God to pass over those houses.
Some might say that God instituted the Passover to protect the Israelites from the angel of death. God didn’t need the sign to tell Him who was an Israelite; He is God, He knows everything. The blood on the doorposts was to tell God who would follow Him. If an Israelite family did not smear the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, they were no safer than the Egyptians.
The thing that struck me about this verse is that each family was to take special care of the lamb for four days. Tradition says that each family would bring this lamb into the house and it would be treated like one of the children. It would be bathed and fed and would probably play with the children. For four days this lamb would be a part of the family. It is not hard to imagine that even after such a short time that some amount of attachment would develop. This would be especially true if there were small children in the house.
As someone who has spent most of my life in the city it is very hard for me to imagine what it would be like to slaughter an animal. For that culture it would have been a fairly regular occurrence, but I wonder what it would have been like to slaughter this animal that had been part of the family. It would almost seem to be like slaughtering a pet.
The Passover lamb is a picture of what Jesus would later do for all mankind with His sacrifice on the cross. The sacrificial lamb was Jesus. By having the Israelites take special care of this lamb before it is sacrificed, they get a taste of what the Father would be feeling when He allowed Jesus to be sacrificed. It is just a taste; we could never really know the depth of the pain of the separation even for the brief time that God and Jesus were separated.
We do not have to annually take a lamb into our home and care for it because Jesus was the Lamb that saves us from spiritual death. But instead of bringing the lamb into our home we are to bring Jesus into our hearts. And there we are to care for Him; not just for four days but for our whole lives. Jesus, help us to bring You into our hearts and treat You with the love and respect that You deserve.