Jesus, the Center of Unity

ABOUT 3,600 YEARS ago Israel was instructed to take the blood of the Passover lamb, and to place it on the doorposts of their houses—then to go inside and abide there for the remainder of the night. They may have spent fifteen minutes to an hour at the most, to comply with these instructions.

This happened to us, too, when we accepted Jesus as our personal redeemer and applied the blood on the doorposts of our hearts. This was the beginning of our journey.


That night, after the Passover lamb was slain, and the blood applied on the doorposts of their houses, Israel went inside their homes and closed the door. They were now to partake of the Passover lamb after it was roasted, and all were united as a family in this undertaking. They were illustrating how the brethren in this nighttime of the Gospel Age are drawn together by the Lamb of God, and while under the blood partake of the lamb, appropriating to themselves the merit of his sacrifice. We are reminded of the 133rd Psalm, that says: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (vs. 1) Israel, in their families, were assembled that night in holy, happy, peaceful fellowship.

The most important part of this ceremony was the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts of the houses. It pictured being saved by the blood, which is the foundation for all Christian life. Jesus, “who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree” (I Pet. 2:24), is that Paschal Lamb whose blood was shed to redeem us. (I Pet. 1:19) Jesus was made “to be sin [a sin offering] for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (II Cor. 5:21) While Jesus was on earth he was especially attentive to the afflicted, the poor, the blind, the halt, the maimed, and the lepers. All mankind are recipients of the ransom benefits regardless of their station in life. The blood of the lamb makes possible our connection to God and to one another. He is the center of unity.


Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matt. 18:20) We are assembled by the Holy Spirit, and Christ is the reason for our meeting. Such gatherings are characterized by holiness. The Holy Spirit can only gather us to Christ. It cannot assemble to a name, an ordinance, a system, or an association, but only to the glorified Christ in heaven. It is a ‘little flock’ that is being gathered. Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words.” (John 14:23) The proof of our love for Jesus and for God is in doing those things he commands us to do in his Word. Those who give themselves to God and to follow after Christ still want to do their own will, which interferes in the work that God is doing in us.

On the original Passover night when all the families of Israel were assembled in their homes, they gathered around a roasted lamb—a lamb that had undergone the action of fire. The instructions in Exodus 12:8,9 are very explicit: “They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.”

The roasted lamb illustrates how Jesus, the true Passover Lamb, submitted himself to the action of fire—‘fiery trials’—for the three and one-half years of his ministry. This was such an important part of the illustration, that Israel was told not to eat of it raw or sodden with water.


The instructions for eating the Passover lamb apply to our partaking of the antitypical Passover Lamb, too. The Israelites were to eat it with unleavened bread. Leaven is a symbol of evil and sin. Never is it used in God’s Word to symbolize that which is pure, holy, or good. The feast that Israel was to keep in conjunction with the Passover was called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As Exodus 12:15 instructed Israel: “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses.”

This was intended to illustrate Israel’s separation from sin. We are told by the Apostle Paul, “Purge out therefore the old leaven.” (I Cor. 5:7) Paul does not say, ‘Try to purge out the old leaven’. Rather, he is positive about it and says, ‘Do it’. Our flesh may interfere with such a program. This was recognized by the apostle when he wrote, “The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” (Rom. 7:19-21) However, we must put forth every effort to remove sin and evil.

Israel was to do this for seven days. Seven represents completeness. The Christian is to put away evil and live in holiness. God cannot tolerate evil in thought, word, or deed. As the Apostle John reminds us, speaking of God, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth.” (I John 1:6) Later he said, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (vs. 8) The flesh continues to assert itself, but by God’s assisting grace we can keep it subdued. John continues, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”—vs. 9

Many times we are caught off guard and may say or do something that is wrong. On such occasions we must seek our Advocate immediately, even as reminded by John: “These things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (I John 2:1) The new mind that is being developed is seeking perfection. Yet the individual Christian cannot be perfect until he or she receives a perfect new body. As John says, “We know that whosoever is born [begotten] of God sinneth not.” (I John 5:18) John is telling us that those who have been begotten of God do not sin willfully. They have no sympathy with sin. They purge out the old leaven.


The Israelites were not saved by eating unleavened bread, but by the blood of the Passover lamb. So also, the Christian is not saved by practical holiness, but by the blood of Jesus. However, anyone who continues in evil and sin, by practice or by principle, will not have true communion with Jesus, and will not enjoy his salvation. Those who receive the benefits of the ransom and belong to God’s assembly must be holy, but they should recognize that their salvation is by grace, and not by their holiness.


The Paschal Lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs. These represent the bitter experiences of the Lord’s people which are related to the experiences of Jesus as represented in the roasted lamb. “If we suffer [with him], we shall also reign with him.” (II Tim. 2:12) “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) It was prophesied of Jesus: “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5), and not by our holiness.

The Apostle Paul, in speaking of the Tabernacle sacrifices, tell us: Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” (Heb. 13:12,13) We must eat of the roasted lamb with bitter herbs.

With God’s help we are able to crucify our flesh. (Gal. 5:24) Like the Apostle Paul we are trying to keep our bodies under. (I Cor. 9:27) This we must do to be able to hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”—Matt. 24:21

As Israel fed upon the lamb, they were prepared for a journey. They were ready to leave Egypt. Never again would they associate with the Egyptians. They were to eat in haste, with staff in hand. All this pictured how our life is to be characterized by our future destiny as joint-heirs with Christ in his future kingdom. The staff pictured our dependence, our leaning on God for the journey. All of this was made possible by the blood of the lamb. As God has brought us together in unity through Christ, so also he will guide us in our journey to the Promised Land, the heavenly Canaan.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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