He would eat with my family. He would sleep at the foot of our beds. My children would play with him. He would be treated like a beloved pet.
Then, we would kill him and eat him.
For the very first Passover in Egypt, the Israelites were commanded by God to choose a perfect lamb on the 10th day of the month of Nissan. They kept it for 4 days, then killed it.
Each family knew their Passover lamb. It had to be perfect, without defect. Each chosen lamb was kept in the home to make sure nothing happened to it.
This practice continued for hundreds and hundreds of years. It’s all right there in Exodus 12:3-8. See for yourself:
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lambfor his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. (NIV)
In Jesus day, the people would treat their lamb as we would a family pet. In those four days, the family would become attached to their lamb. When it was time to slaughter the animal, each person would feel the loss.
Killing the lamb was personal.
It was their lamb.
They loved him.
In Egypt, the lamb had to die so they could live.
Do you see a parallel?