This year Passover begins today, on the evening of Friday April 3 (Good Friday to us as Christians). You may notice that I have referenced Passover rather than Easter. While Easter is what we traditionally celebrate, I personally, along with quite a few others by the way, prefer Passover. Why is that you wonder, it is because the feasts of Israel were prophetic events pointing to the future and the church was birthed in and through these feasts and they still have much to teach us. Passover was the key feast connected to our salvation. If you had asked a first century believer what they were doing for Easter they would have had no response as they had never heard of Easter. Easter came in during the first centuries of the church when a political decision was made to disconnect the church from its Jewish roots.
Our salvation is rooted in the Feast of Passover, in fact what we refer to as the Last Supper was Jesus celebrating the Passover meal with His apostles. Our origin as the church and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is traced to Pentecost (Passover flowed into First Fruits which flowed into the Feast of Weeks that culminated in Pentecost). This is why the language of Acts 2:1 was recorded as ‘when the Day of Pentecost had fully come.’ The church will come to a glorious fulfillment on another feast of Israel, the fall Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the harvest feast or ingathering. Yes, not all the feasts have been fulfilled. In the future I plan to provide further information on the feasts and there spiritual significance but here are a couple of many from Passover.
Prior to His arrest and crucifixion Jesus spent time staying in Bethany and travelling in and out of Jerusalem teaching and being inspected by the religious elite. They could find not a spot or blemish in Him (He was arrested and crucified on false charges). At the same time a natural lamb was tied up outside the temple each day. It was the Passover lamb selected to be sacrificed for the nation and the practice was for it to be tied up outside so the whole nation could inspect it. So here we have the true Passover Lamb and the natural one pointing to one another at Passover.
Another aspect of Passover was that when it was instituted in Egypt Moses was instructed to tell the people of Israel to eat the whole lamb. In the same way Jesus told His followers to make disciples of all nations and to teach them to ALL He had commanded. If are to truly obey the gospel we must embrace the Passover injunction and eat the whole thing!
10 You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. Exodus 12:10 (NKJV) 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:20 (NKJV)
So Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. Passover was a one day event and on the first day of the week the High Priest gathered the first fruits of the spring harvest and waved them in the field as an offering to Yahweh. While he was performing this act Jesus was being raised from the dead. Paul referred to this as follows.
20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (NKJV)
Understanding the roots of our faith helps to bring clarity to the New Testament record.
In closing, let me take us back to Passover and the power of Jesus death and resurrection on our behalf. Matthew 1:21 says Jesus will save us from our sins, I have always understood this as both the penalty and power. What Jesus accomplished has been powerfully captured in the words of a friend. I invite you to reflect deeply on what he has written. He has chosen to remain anonymous.
We three had been planning this for what seemed to be an eternity.
The time had finally come.
An event beyond human comprehension.
A solution and a gift for all mankind.
It’s really a love story so intricate, it is almost beyond belief.
Although some would not, or will not accept or believe the gift I have bought and paid for.
It did come at a cost.
It wasn’t the physical pain that I was dreading, no, that would pass quickly enough compared to what the final outcome would be.
Scorned, and despised.
Abandoned, rejected by my closest friend three times.
Actually, rejected by millions over time really.
Back scourged, flesh ripped and torn, hanging in shreds.
Crushed bearing the weight of a crude timber.
Broken, pierced and spit upon.
Ridiculed by the very ones I came to bring the gift to.
I was deeply distressed, yet, I would not turn away from doing my Father’s will.
That’s what it would take, so, that’s what I would do.
Still, the Father’s plan was perfect.
I came and healed their infirmities.
The blind received sight, lepers cleansed, the poor received the good news.
And yet, this is how they treated me.
So I would remain silent to the end.
A lamb born, led to be sacrificially slaughtered.
But, there was an affliction I was dreading.
The dark night of the soul.
All sin since the beginning of man, and those who would come after, laid on me.
I would be covered, drenched with the wickedness of the world.
A putrid stench so evil, so abhorrent, my Father would have to turn away from me.
My Father’s love and Presence would be stripped away from me.
The anguish of my soul as the Father forsakes me. That is the dread I faced.
Like the curtain ripped from top to bottom, torn in two, separated.
His love and presence ripped and torn away from me. That’s what I was looking towards.
Forsaken and despised by my own Father, the anticipation of losing the one you love.
Yet that was my Fathers will, to crush me, to make me suffer…… for you!
As the Word says,
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
This is the gift.
Now you know the truth.
That’s what I did for you.
Will you believe?
What are you going to do with this knowledge?
Do you have the courage to come to me? To know me?
Will you accept the Father’s gift to you, or will you turn away and reject us?
The choice is yours.