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Working through the Gospel of John in my Sunday school class, we conveniently reached the passion narrative close to Holy Week. Of course, we’ll still be talking about these texts for weeks to come, and so it is not as though there’s a precise alignment. But there is still something nice about having this sort of convergence occur.
We considered what appears to be John’s creative change to the timing of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion, making the final meal not a Passover celebration so that Jesus can die at the time the Passover lambs were being slaughtered. But what, I asked, is the connection between Jesus and Passover? I brought us back to the imagery offered towards the beginning of the Gospel of John: Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Does - Anything - Passover
Does that have anything to do with Passover?
At first glance, it wouldn’t seem to. Passover was not about sacrifice of the ordinary sort, nor was it like Yom Kippur, the use of animals in a manner that explicitly has to do with forgiveness. The placement of blood on lintels in the Exodus story doesn’t seem to have anything to do with forgiving the sins of firstborn sons. And the ongoing celebration of Passover was likewise not focused on rituals of forgiveness or atonement.
Sense - Place - Animal - Sin - Scapegoat
In a sense the most natural place to look for an animal taking away sin is the “scapegoat” from the Day of Atonement ritual. Precisely because sins were symbolically transferred to the animal,...
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