On the night that Jesus was betrayed He shared a final meal with His disciples, the Passover celebration in a rented room in the city. This meal to the Jew was a symbol of freedom and liberty recognized in the Exodus of Israel from Egypt at the beginning of their nation. The Passover is more colorful and dramatic than any other festival celebrated by the Jews, and every facet of its preparation and celebration, richly symbolic incorporating all five senses in its remembrance.
The lamb played a central part in this feast. The night before God redeemed Israel from Egypt the Israelites were instructed to take a lamb without blemish for every household and slaughter it at twilight. Blood from the lamb was spread on the lintels of their doors so that when the Angel of Death came to claim the firstborn of Egypt, the Israelite homes were passed over.
In addition to the slaughtering of a lamb, the Jews used various cups of wine and matzah as specific symbols of liberation and freedom during their Seder meal. It was in this element that Jesus broke the third matzah, and told them to remember His body but he broken bread. He passed the cup of blessing, and told them to remember His blood by that cup.
The disciples may not have completely understood what Jesus initiated in these observances, but Jesus was proclaiming His role as the Passover Lamb that year. No longer would it be necessary to commemorate the passing over of the children of Israel before the Exodus; a greater sacrifice was offered, a greater price was paid, a greater covering was made for all those who would submit themselves under the blood. There was a new passing over taking effect – the passing over of sinful humanity when under the blood of Christ – when associated with the slaughter of the Lamb of God. Jesus became the perfect Lamb with His body and His blood offering to us symbols of our liberation and redemption from the bondage of sin.