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Friday, March 29, 2013

The Final Passover


 
In the BAG

The Final Passover

 

I am risking getting in trouble with some of you who search for esoteric revelations in the Old Testament but I do want to remind you, the gospel is meant to be simple enough for a child.  Sometimes we make this way more difficult than it should ever be.  So when was the final Passover?  That occurred the day Jesus was nailed to the cross, took on your sins and mine and died a death He never should have died.  But wait, maybe we need a little background.  The Passover was first instituted on the night of the final plague that hit Egypt years ago when they still held Israel in captivity.  Pharaoh had so hard heartedly told both God and Moses that he would not let the people go.  God then announced one last plague, the death of the first born in all of Egypt.  No one would be exempt from this plague, not even the Israelites, unless there was lamb's blood brushed on the doorposts of their home.  This would cause the death angel to pass over their home, hence the name Passover.  It was in immediate response to this plague that Pharaoh released the Israelites to go and they were even allowed to plunder spoils from Egypt.  Ever since Jews had eaten unleavened bread and bitter herbs to remind them of their captivity.  They ate these things dressed in traveller's clothing to remind them of the immediateness in which their forefathers had to leave following the plague.  It was a most triumphant celebration of God's deliverance.  However, as God instituted this festival and tradition, it was all symbolically pointing to something more substantive.   The writer of Hebrews reminds us that the blood of rams, lambs, goats, doves, etc; cannot cover sins forever.  There needed to be a sacrifice once and for all.  Hence a little over 2000 years ago at the final passover celebration Jesus, the only man to live perfectly, offered Himself up as the final Lamb to be sacrificed for the sins, not just of the Jewish people, but the world.

Jesus' Qualifications as the Lamb

Many don't understand how Jesus could qualify as the sacrifice for our sins.  Just as the lamb had to be a spotless, flawless animal for sacrifice, Jesus also met this qualification by living without sin and never yielding to temptations.  Some like to argue that Jesus was part God and makes Him an unfair sacrifice but scripture teaches that Jesus relinquished all of His powers as God and restricted Himself purely to the strengths and flaws of the flesh.  He displayed through His life how to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh and maintained a perfect life.  How?  Hebrews tells us that Jesus did this through the power of the Holy Spirit.  By knowing the Father's plan through being sensitive to listening to His voice, Jesus carried out the Father's plan ONLY with the help of the Holy Spirit.  Herein lies a secret for us as believers that we too can overcome but we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

The Miracle of the Final Passover

What is perhaps the most striking piece to the final Passover is the miracle of Jesus' survival to the cross.  As you study scripture you find that it teaches that Jesus was beaten and mutilated through man forms of abuse The Passion of the Christ is very deserving of it's R rating for the abuse that Jesus went through but according to God's Word this movie still does not come close to the abuse that Jesus took.  Isaiah 52 talks about the physical abuse Jesus took, and if you study Roman customs and the equipment they would use, you wonder even more about Jesus survival.  The cat of nine tails was frequently utilized in the beatings issued by the Romans.  This was a whip with nine different strands on the end and to make it more brutal the Romans would attach metal shards, hooks, or glass so that when the whip hit, as they pulled it back it would rip the flesh.  Some who were beaten, according to Roman accounts, not near as badly as Jesus, you could see their inner organs the beatings were so brutal.  So how does Jesus survive?  His life of perfection is the answer.
to the point that He was unidentifiable.  I know

Scripture teaches the the wage of sin is death.  Why do we die?  Sin.  Problem with Jesus was, He was
sinless, Hallelujah!   Jesus survives the tortures of the Romans because He simply can't die according to the laws of God.  No matter how disfigured He becomes, His physical body cannot defy the spiritual laws of God.  This is also one of two different displays of power Jesus uses here to let the world know that NO ONE is taking His life, He is truly laying it down Himself.  The first thing He did to flex His muscles was when the guards came to get Him.  John 18 shows us that when the guards ask if He is Jesus of Nazareth, when Jesus responds, just His response knocks them back off their feet.  Again, a sign that no one was taking His life, He was giving it.  And here in the midst of His torture He still flexes his muscle as He just will not die.  Only as Jesus hangs on the cross and cries out, "It is finished," does His body become eligible to die because at this point He has had to take on the sins of the world.  As you study scripture you find it is not too much longer after this that He commits His Spirit in the hands of the Father.  But this is only part of the miracle.

Three days later we see the results of what happens when the Laws of God are broken.  You see, while Jesus died because He willingly laid down His life to take on our sins, HE STILL NEVER SINNED.  His death broke the Laws of God which in turn allowed Him to have power over DEATH.  The prince of Darkness who controlled death up to this point had abused his power and misused the authority he had and here Lucifer's authority over death was REVOKED.  This is why in numerous places the scripture teaches about Jesus having power over Death, Hell and the Grave.  The final piece of the Passover miracle is of course the resurrection of Christ.

The Heart Wrencher

I think that what is perhaps the most gut wrenching thing about this is a scripture we have left out thus far.  Jesus, when He did all of this, knew how sinful we were and are.  He knows our lowest points.  He knows our discouragements.  He sees our most dispicable sins.  Yet knowing all this the Bible says He still loves us. Knowing all of this He still died for us.  Friend, there ain't nobody that has done anything for you like Jesus.  The Devil would like so much to convince you that whatever sins you have committed or are addicted to are too big for God, but the Devil is also the one who didn't know the full powers of God and miscalculated his plan and lost at Calvary.  If you don't know Jesus, He LONGS to know you.  He ALREADY knows you!  He LONGS for your relationship.

A Final Thought

If you want to know Jesus, I am not going to tell you to go somewhere and find someone to help you, I am going to help you here and now because now is the time for salvation.  Pray with me this prayer:

Father,

Thank you so much for loving me enough to send your Son to die for me, an undeserving sinner.  I confess to you I am a sinner.  However, I also place my faith and belief in the truth that Jesus died and rose again for me and I ask Him into my heart.  Cleanse me.  Make me whole.  Fill my deep voids.  Come into my life and seal me with your Spirit.  Thank you for saving me.  Help me to remain faithful.  In Jesus Name, AMEN.

If you prayed this prayer and meant it with sincerity I welcome you into an eternal family that loves you and I encourage you to find a Bible believing church where you live.   Happy Resurrection Day!

Easter 2018

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