Passover: The Substitute Teacher

Clint Archer

One of the most loved and enduring prison escape stories is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas. He was incarcerated on a tiny, isolated island, in a jail made of cramped, ill-lit cells. No one who had been banished to the island left it alive. Indeed, the only way to leave the island was after you died, wrapped in a cloth sack and tossed off a cliff into the ocean. Dantès saw this as his opportunity to escape. He would need to swap places with a dead man. If someone died, he could live.

His chance came when the old priest who had been coaching him died. Just before he died he confessed the location of a hidden treasure. Through the old priest’s death Dantès became free and wealthy.

In the same way the escape from Egypt could only be accomplished by the death of a substitute, and with that escape would come freedom and eternal life.

Easter and Passover will forever be inextricably linked on our calendars. This is because Jesus deliberately died during the feast of Passover. As the Lamb of God his death was the fulfillment of the feast.

Passover was a teacher of the vital gospel concept of substitution. Here are three lessons we learn from this feast…


Moses was persnickety about the details of the Passover (Exodus 12:1-28Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). The chosen lamb had to be without blemish, adopted into the family, and then violently slaughtered, have its hip tossed away, and be consumed in a hasty manner with a side of bitter herbs.lamb

The experience was brutal, distressing, distasteful, and unpleasant – just like sin.

The wages of sin, after all, is death. In order for someone who deserved execution to be spared, another had to take their place. The Passover lamb was that substitute, and the feast was meant to teach the lesson of substitution.


The Passover plan worked. The firstborn of the Israelite families were all spared (Exodus 12:29-42Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)). The plan had power. But it wasn’t the blood that did the trick, it was the faith in God’s plan.

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