Originally, the centerpiece of the Passover story was a lamb. In the main passages that recount the redemption from Egypt (Exodus 12 and 13) the word “lamb” is used five times, the pronoun “it,” which refers to the lamb, is mentioned 12 times. The “blood” of the lamb is mentioned six times. Various parts of the lamb are mentioned another four times. This contrasts with “unleavened bread” which is referred to four times and the “bitter herbs” only once.
Yet, the lamb only plays bit part in the Haggadah (“the retelling of the story”) at the seder meal. The chicken wing or neck or shank bone, are the only obvious physical reminders of the passover lamb. In a traditional Haggadah there are only hints of the slaying of the lamb and the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts and lintel of Jewish homes to save the firstborn from the Angel of death.
The lamb has gone missing. Yet the lamb of God was essential to Israel‘s redemption. As followers of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah we behold with the Jewish prophet John “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). And we celebrate Passover knowing that Jesus is the reason for the season. In the words of Rabbi Saul/Paul, “For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)