Exodus 12:46, “It shall be eaten in one house…and you shall not break any of its bones.”
John 19:36, “…these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.'”
Reading through John 19 this morning I noted as I haven’t before the connection that John makes between the Passover and the cross. Of course, John introduces Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (1:29)–and while this title doesn’t point solely to the Passover Lamb (it seems to take a wider swathe of sacrificial imagery into view), the slaying of that lamb is certainly in view. And then, throughout his gospel John mentions the Passover (2:13,23;6:4;11:55), and it is given specific mention as we near the cross (12:1; 13:1), and during Jesus’ trial and crucifixion we are reminded four times about the feast (18:28, 39; 19:14, 42).
All of this is designed by John to draw a connection between the imagery of the Passover (where a lamb is slain and judgment is averted by faith in YHWH’s working by the blood, and freedom from slavery is won, and God’s people are brought into His presence to know and love Him) and the death of Christ. The allusions to the Passover climax in 19:36 where John notes that the sparing of Jesus’ bones (while the other two criminals had their legs broken) was in order to fulfill Exodus 12:46.
Now, we wouldn’t read Exodus 12:46 and imagine that it needed any sort of fulfillment. It doesn’t seem to be a prophecy….and it isn’t, rather, John is saying that Jesus is the REALITY toward which the Passover lamb and meal and events were pointing….similar to how a pass thrown from son to father in a backyard football game might be “fulfilled” when that same son throws the game-winning pass at the Super Bowl 15 years later….or again, how a bride walking down the aisle is the “fulfillment” of many child-hood pretend “marriages”.
So the crucified Christ is the fulfillment, the fullness, the reality of the Passover Lamb…….He is the one slain so that our judgment might be averted. He is the meal we are to eat by faith for the life of our souls. He is the one because of whom we can leave the slavery of sin’s Egypt, and He Himself is YHWH, into whose presence we are brought for our joy and the glory of God the Father.