The LORD’s paschal lamb

Much NT soteriology turns on the typological relationship between Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection with the Passover and Exodus (cf. Mk 1:1, 1 Pet 1:13, i.a.), but nowhere is this trope closer to the surface than in John’s Passion narrative, where Jesus is identified as the Passover Lamb in fulfillment of “the Scripture”: “ὀστοῦν οὐ συντριβήσεται αὐτοῦ” (Jn 19:36). Most fundamentally, this is a reference to Exodus 12:46’s instruction regarding the lamb: “ὀστοῦν οὐ συντρίψετε ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ.” But John seems to be referring to this passage by way of its reception later in the OT, in Ps 34:19-20: “πολλαὶ αἱ θλίψεις τῶν δικαίων καὶ ἐκ πασῶν αὐτῶν ῥύσεται αὐτούς. κύριος φυλάσσει πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ αὐτῶν ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ συντριβήσεται.” (Note esp. the use of the passive in John and the Psalm.)

The Psalm offers of a figural reading of the LORD’s oppressed, righteous saints as so many Paschal lambs — implicitly, their sufferings are somehow to be made effective for the deliverance of others (a remnant for all Israel? Israel for the world?), but, strikingly, the Psalmist also reads the guarantee against breaking the lamb’s bones as a promise that even the lamb — even the righteous sufferers — will be delivered. The lamb is to be slain and yet made alive (cf. Rev 5:6). The distance from the Psalm to John is actually much shorter than the distance from Exodus to the Psalm — John simply identifies the sufferings of Jesus as somehow summing up all the sufferings of the LORD’s saints; Jesus is the embodiment of Israel in its vocation of suffering for the world.

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One Response to The LORD’s paschal lamb

  1. M Charles says:

    Awh.. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to learning from you. Be blessed beyond measure 😀

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