April 9, 2020

Thursday: Christ Our Passover Lamb

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Speaker: Bobby Gaither | Series: Passion Week 2020 | Today we consider the events of Jesus on Thursday, the fifth day of Passion Week. Passion week aligns with the Jewish feast of Passover, a weeklong festival, where all faithful Jews would be present in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. The Passover commemorated Israel’s deliverance from 400 years of enslavement to Egypt. Yahweh had sent 10 plagues upon Egypt to free His people. The last plague was the death of all firstborn creatures, man and beast alike. The people of Israel were spared, or “passed over” from this judgement by sacrificing a male lamb, unblemished, and putting the blood of the lamb on the lintel and doorposts of their house. Then, they were to roast the lamb whole, without a bone of it being broken, and eat the lamb in haste. This lamb was to be fully consumed, and the remains of it burned, so that nothing remained in Egypt, for they would leave Egypt that night — thus, the book is called Exodus! 

This feast was commanded by God as a memorial that they were to keep every year as God’s people (Ex 12). In this feast, Yahweh prescribed the eating of unleavened bread for 1 week. Can you say MATZA! So, the blood of the lamb commemorated the protection of Israel from death, and the unleavened bread, the haste of their departure, or exodus, from Egypt.

Fast forward 1300 years and Jews are celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples are there, and this what we read in Matthew 26:17: 

[17] Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” [18] He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” [19] And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.

[20] When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. [21] And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” [22] And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” [23] He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. [24] The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” [25] Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” 

[26] Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” [27] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, [28] for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. [29] I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (ESV)

What happened here? Jesus invested the meal with new symbolism. The bread represented his body, for just as it was without leaven, Jesus was without sin. He was the perfect Son of God! Just as bread was a staple, needed for nourishment— for life, Jesus’ body was broken and given to us, needed for our spiritual life. 

The wine, a symbol of joy in the Old Testament, Jesus said represented his blood of the New Covenant. When God makes a covenant with his people, he does so by sacrifice and the shedding of blood. It is a symbol of the severity of making or breaking the covenant. In past covenants, the sacrifice was a lamb, Jesus —  As John the Baptist declared, “is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” In 1 Corinthians 5:7, we read, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” In Jesus death, the promised new covenant was inaugurated and fulfilled by His blood, which was poured out for the forgiveness of sins (Ez 36:24-28, 37:15-28, Jer 31:31-34). His blood, his very life, bought the joy of our forgiveness. This is cause for great rejoicing! At Passover, each adult was required to drink 4 glasses of wine. Now, don’t get too excited, their cups were a bit smaller than our typical 5 oz pour, but none the less, the cup represented joy! Jesus interpreted the Passover as having pointed to him. The joy of Israel’s deliverance from enslavement foreshadowed our joy for our deliverance from enslavement to sin. If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed!

This is not the first time Jesus had spoken in such a way – that we would consume his body and blood. In John 6 (Jhn 6:53), the context was also the Passover, and he said “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. [55] For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. [56]  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood nabides in me, and I in him.

Friends, all the law and the prophets point to him, for all things are from him and to him and through him! Salvation and glory and power be to our God, forever and ever.

Jesus said one last thing I want to draw attention to. Look back to Matthew 26:29 [29] I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (ESV)

Jesus knew he was going to his death. He had identified his betrayer. In the upcoming chapters, we see the night he was betrayed, he was brought by stealth to be tried by the Sanhedrin, and wrongfully condemned in an unfair court. He was beaten, scourged, and the next morning brought to Pilot to be crucified. Yet, he spoke that night knowing he would live again. Jesus had said in John 10, (Jhn 10:17b-18), “I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but yI lay it down aof my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and to take it up again.”

Our passage in Matthew, tells us he would fast from wine until the day he would drink it anew in his Father’s kingdom. The victory has been won. Jesus rose from the grave, and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and yet he withholds from himself wine until you and I and all who would believe are with him. This was to show his longing for us, his Bride. When you sacrifice a joy, withholding wine, you do so for a greater joy. He sees us, his Bride, as the joy set before him, for whom he endured the cross, despising the shame. And he has made us ready, having washed us in his blood and covering us in his righteousness that we may be clothed in purity when we meet Him on that day. 

If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died, as your Passover Lamb, to set you free from your enslavement to sin, and you trust in His perfect life and sacrificial death to save you, the blood of His cross covers you and he has passed over your sins and declared you righteous in His sight (Ro 3:21-26). All your sin and shame is washed away, and you stand righteous in the sight of God as the Bride of Christ. THIS is cause for great rejoicing… and the King of Kings awaits you on the Day of His return.

THIS is the joy of Passover. This is the joy we have because of Jesus. All who love him await his appearing, and say with me, “Come, Lord Jesus.

If you trust that Jesus is the Son of God, I invite you to join with me and my take communion together. If you questions, or you are just now coming to believe in Him as your Savior, it would be my joy to speak with you. You can email me at office@hopefellowship.life and I will respond as soon as I am able. I also invite you to join us on Easter Sunday morning. You can find our service at our website, or on Facebook or Youtube page — Hope Fellowship of Hillsboro. 

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