The Passover Lamb


The other day I was reading through Leviticus when I came across an interesting section.  In Leviticus 3 there is a set of commandments about making peace offerings, verse two records exactly what the worshiper is to do at the moment he makes the sacrifice,

“And he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and kill it at the entrance of the tent of meeting…”

Part of the drama of this sacrifice was for the worshiper to actually rest his hand and his weight upon the head of his sacrificial lamb and than to kill it.  As I kept reading, I noticed that this formula is repeated for multiple sacrifices (Leviticus 4:4; 16:21).  There was obviously something significant about the resting of one’s hand upon the animal as the animal was slain.

Doug Bookman has said that the entire sacrificial system was designed to assault one’s senses at every turn.  Whether it be the smell of the temple itself as thousands upon thousands of animals were sacrificed every day during Passover season, or the sight of the rivers of blood flowing from those sacrifices, or the sound of bleating lambs waiting beside their owners, the whole system would have been a shocking assault on one’s senses.

As the Jewish worshiper brought his sacrifice forward, placed his hand and rested his weight on the head of his lamb he would have felt the lamb buckle and give out it’s last bleating cries as the blood flowed from its body.  It seems as if the point of this practice was so that when you killed that animal you experienced its death through touch and knew that it had died because of your sin.  It wasn’t just something that you watched, but rather it was something that you participated in.

As I thought about what it must have felt like to make this kind of sacrifice, I was reminded of a poem by Horatius Bonar about the sacrifice of Christ:

Twas I that shed the sacred blood;

I nailed him to the tree;

I crucified the Christ of God;

I joined the mockery

Of all that shouting multitude

I feel that I am one;

And in that din of voices rude

I recognize my own

Around the cross the throng I see,

Mocking the Sufferer’s groan;

Yet still my voice it seems to be

As if I mocked alone.

With today being Easter, I am reminded that I participated in Christ’s death and yet He willingly took the cross upon Himself.  Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

April 04 2010 05:00 am | Devotional

Comments are closed.