“Prelude to Easter” – Exodus 12:1-16

March 15th,  2015

Exodus 12:1-16

“Prelude to Easter”

 

Service Orientation:  Easter is intimately tied into the Jewish festival of Passover.  Unless or until we discover all God wants us to remember in the shadow of the reality which is Passover, we will never fully appreciate what Christ did as the fulfillment of Passover.

 

Bible Memory Verse for the Week:  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.   — 1 Peter 1:18-19

 

Background Information:

  • In the KJV of the Bible, we see a progression in how the lamb is described. In Exodus 12:3, the commandment is to take a lamb–a nebulous, unknown entity, nothing special.  In Exodus 12:4, God says the lamb.  Now He is known, unique, set apart.  Finally, in Exodus 12:5, God specifies, “Your lamb shall be without blemish.”  Each soul must appropriate the lamb for himself.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 33)
  • To the Jews the lamb represented innocence and gentleness. The prophets represented the tender compassion of God for His people under the figure of the shepherd and the lamb (Is 40:11), and ultimately the intention of God for His people used the lamb as an important symbol (11:6).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Three, 860)
  • Luke 22:8-9 Representatives from each family would (in the 1st century Israel) have the priests slaughter a lamb for them in the temple, then return with it to feed the whole family that night.  (Craig S. Keener, The Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, 249)
  • Of utmost importance to pilgrims, however, was the purchasing of sheep and goats for sacrifice at the temple. The animal (preferably a lamb) was selected on the 10th of Nisan (Pesahim ix.5).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Three, 677)
  • To pour out or to shed blood means to die or to kill (see Gn 9:6; Ez 18:10; Isa 59:7; Lk 11:50), and blood is sacred to God because it is life (Gn 9:4; Dt 12:23). This is why blood has atoning power (Lv 17:11).  (David L. Tiede, Augsburg Commentary on the NT: Luke, 381-2)
  • The custom of drinking four cups of wine dates back to ancient Temple times. The Mishnah teaches that, according to two authorities, Rabbi Yohanon and Rabbi Benayah, these four cups correspond to the four verbs in Ex 6:6-7, describing God’s redemption: I will bring you out; I will free you; I will redeem you; I will take you to be My people.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 82)

 

The call to “remember” is Jewish, which the nation did annually in the Passover as they looked back at the Exodus.  Such recalling solidifies a community’s identity by taking them back to their roots, to events that forged who they have now become.  It gives them a chance, as one body, to reaffirm what God has done for them.  The sacrifice he offers and the symbolism in which they share recalls the Hebrew concept of zikron, where something is to cling to the memory (Ex 2:24; 12:14; 13:9; Lev 24:7; Nm 5:15; 10:9-10; Ps 20:3; Ez 21:23).  This meal is like a new start.  (Darrell L. Bock, The NIV Application Commentary: Luke, 551)

 

Whenever we celebrate the Lord’s Table, we should eat with an eye to the ultimate Communion.  This is why Paul added, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26).  The eagerness of our Savior’s heart for this meal ought to set our hearts to racing.  This is the heart of God!  (R. Kent Hughes, Preaching the Word: Luke, Vol. Two, 316)

 

In every generation a person is duty-bound to regard himself as if he personally has gone forth from Egypt, since it is said, “And you shall tell your son in that day saying, it is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt” (Ex 13:8).  Therefore, we are duty-bound to thank, praise, glorify, honor, exalt, extol, and bless him who did for our forefathers and for us all these miracles.  He brought us forth from slavery to freedom, anguish to joy, mourning to festival, darkness to great light, subjugation to redemption, so we should say before him, Hallelujah.  (Jacob Neusner, The Babylonian Talmud, A Translation and Commentary, 537)

 

The question to be answered is . . . Why should we as 21st Century American Christians care about a 3500 year old tradition like Passover?

 

Answer: Passover is a celebration commanded by God so we can be regularly reminded of God’s great love for us to deliver us from bondage and slavery into a life of joy and freedom.  This reality was foreshadowed in the original Passover and finds full expression in the life of Christ.

 

The Word for the Day is . . . Freedom

 

The Haggadah states: “In every generation, it is a man’s duty to regard himself as though he himself went forth out of Egypt…Wherefore we thank him who performed all these miraculous deeds for our fathers, but also for us.  He brought us forth out of bondage.”  (Robert E. Webber; Worship is a Verb, 37)

 

THE PRISONS of WHAT WE DO:

 

  1. The prison of sin

 

  1. The prison of guilt

III.    The prison of failure

 

THE PRISON of WHAT WE THINK:

  1. The prison of the past
  2. The prison of self-abasement
  3. The prison of perfectionism

 

THE PRISON of HOW WE RELATE to OTHERS:

VII.   The Prison of Fear

VIII.  The prison of approval

  1. The prison of obligation

 

THE PRISON of HOW OTHERS CONTROL US:

  1. The prison of rules
  2. The prison of religion

XII.    The prison of gurus.  (Steve Brown; Born Free, 15-26

 

Discipline without freedom is tyranny; freedom without discipline is chaos.— Cullen Hightower

 

The world has never had a good definition of the word “Liberty,” and the American people, just now, are much in need of one.  We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing.  With some the word “liberty” may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor.  Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name.  “Liberty,” and it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – “Liberty” and “tyranny.”  —Abraham Lincoln

 

The Passover reminds us of:

  1. God’s compassion, mercy, and love in seeing our suffering and bondage under the FWS. (Ex 20:2; 34:6-7; Nm 14:18-19; 1 Chr 16:34; Ps 57:10; 86:15; 100:5; 103:3-17; ch 136; Lam 3:22-23; Lk 6:36; Jn 3:16; Rom 5:8-10; Eph 2:4-5; 1 Jn chs 3-5)

 

There are a number of ways God could have described Himself to Moses and the Hebrews at the time of the giving of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20).  He might have said: I am the Lord your God who created the heavens and the earth.  Instead, “God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery’” (Ex 20:1, 2).  By God’s action of redemption from physical slavery in Egypt, He called these people to be His own.  “I will take you to Me for a people” and “I will be to you your God.”  The uniqueness of this God was His direct, personal involvement with His people.  He entered their lives and showed Himself clearly.  That hasn’t changed.  Many years later, at the same time they were celebrating the remembrance of their physical freedom.  His first-born Son, Yeshua, became our Redeemer, sacrificed on the altar of the Cross, freeing us from our slavery to sin.  (Martha Zimmerman, Celebrate the Feasts of the Old Testament, 50)

 

“I chose not to believe in God because it was for me my unbelief a means for political and sexual liberation.  —Aldous Huxley  (Alistair Begg sermon, The Authority of Jesus)

 

The formula is simple:  when relativism holds sway long enough, everyone begins to do what is right in his own eyes without any regard for submission to truth.  In this atmosphere, a society begins to break down.  Virtually every structure in a free society depends on a measure of integrity–that is, submission to the truth.  When the chaos of relativism reaches a certain point, the people will welcome any ruler who can bring some semblance of order and security.  So a dictator steps forward and crushes the chaos with absolute control.  Ironically relativism–the great lover of unfettered freedom–destroys freedom in the end.  (John Piper, Think, 114)

 

  1. God’s Holiness and the privilege and freedom of being set apart to serve Him [Cup of Sanctification]. (Lv 11:44-47; Dt 32:45-47; Ps 119:11, 105; Isa 32:17; Mt 5:3-10; Jn 13:17; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 3:15-5:12; Jas 1:25; 2:12)

 

On the other hand, Paul described the unleavened bread as sincerity and truth.  The Hebrew word matzo (unleavened) means “sweet, without sourness.”  The unleavened bread typified the sweetness and wholesomeness of life without sin.  It foreshadowed the sinless, perfect life of the Messiah, who would come to lay down His life as God’s ultimate Passover Lamb.  In Passover observances after the cessation of the Temple sacrifices, the matzo (unleavened bread) took on added significance when the rabbis decreed it to be a memorial of the Passover lamb.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 36)

 

Thus, for the Hebrews, the putting away of all leaven symbolized breaking the old cycle of sin and starting out afresh from Egypt to walk as a new nation before the Lord.  They did not put away leaven in order to be redeemed.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 36)

 

I said that every Discipline has its corresponding freedom.  What freedom corresponds to submission?  It is the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way.  The obsession to demand that things go the way we want them to go is one of the greatest bondages in human society today.  People will spend weeks, months, even years in a perpetual stew because some little thing did not go as they wished.  (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline, 111)

 

If what you love to do is what you ought to do then you will be free. . . . If you long to be cut free from the world, if you long to be free to love and to do what you ought to do then give yourself to the renewing of your mind.  —John Piper (College Baptist Church, Hillsdale, MI 10/13/05)

 

Wherever the Biblical world view has been prevailed, there has been freedom.  Where it has been taken away, freedom has been lost. (Chuck Colson, What Do I Do Now?  Segment 2: Wide Angle)

 

America first proclaimed its independence on the basis of self-evident moral truths.  America will remain a beacon of freedom for the world as long as it stands by those moral truths which are the very heart of its historical experience…And so America:  if you want peace, work for justice.  If you want justice, defend life.  If you want life, embrace truth—truth revealed by God.  —Pope John Paul II  (Leadership, Spring 1999, 75)

 

There is surely here a stark contradiction between our Lord’s definition and the popular conception today of what it means to be free.  You get to a junction in the road and you are free to turn left or right.  A man or a woman is free to marry or to stay single.  Every citizen is free to vote for a right-wing candidate or for a left-wing candidate.  What this amounts to is that we locate freedom in the empty space before a decision is made.  But Christ’s words seem to locate true freedom in the space that follows upon decision.  You may choose to sin or not to sin, but if you choose to sin you have lost your freedom and have become a slave to sin.  Freedom appears to be something that you gain or forfeit.  It seems to stand on the further side of choice and decision. (Harry Blamires, The Post Christian Mind, 140)

 

Every scrap of bread, every cookie crumb, every bit of yeast, every speck of baking powder or other leavening agent must go.  Families must also banish from the home all grain products that have the capability of becoming leavened.  If they have too many of these costly staples to throw away, the rabbis have provided a remedy.  They store all the items in one place in the house.  This can be a high, out-of-the-way shelf or, better yet, an unused room.  Then they find a Gentile friend, who is not bound by the laws of Israel, to buy title to all the leaven.  The purchase price is a token amount, usually a dollar or two.  Now, technically, the leaven is no longer in the possession of the Jewish household, though it remains locked away in the house.  After the seven days of the holiday, the Gentile friend will sell back all the leaven (for the same low price, one would hope!).  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 77)

 

The blood was then “sprinkled round about upon the altar.”  The life being taken away, the sinner’s naked soul is exhibited!  He deserves this stroke of death–death in the Lord’s presence, as a satisfaction to his holiness!  As the blood that covered the door on the night of the Passover represented the inmates’ life as already taken, so the blood on the altar and its sides signified that the offerer’s life was forfeited and taken.  It was thus that Jesus “poured out his soul unto death” for us.  (Andrew A. Bonar, A Commentary on the Book of Leviticus, 23)

 

In fact, Lv 25:10 describes God’s plan for the Israelites’ ultimate actions once they arrived in their Promised Land: “You shall sanctify the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom throughout the land for all its inhabitants…”  This latter well-known passage from the Hebrew Holy Scriptures is what is carved on America’s Liberty Bell.  (Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Ten Commandments The Significance of God’s Laws in Everyday Life, 121-22)

 

To a Pharisee, the service of God was a bondage which he did not love but form which he could not escape without a loss too great to bear.  God, as the Pharisees saw Him, was not a God easy to live with.  So their daily religion became grim and hard, with no trace of true love in it.

It can be said about us, as humans, that we try to be like our God.  If He is conceived to be stern and exacting and harsh, so will we be!

The blessed and inviting truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings, and in our worship of Him we should find unspeakable pleasure.  (A. W. Tozer, Whatever Happened to Worship?, 28)

 

Michael Novak (in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism) said, “The free Western Democracy is like a three legged stool.  You have political freedom, you have economic freedom and you have moral restraints.  Take away one leg and the stool’s gonna fall.

 

Leaven in the Bible is almost always a symbol of sin.  The putting away of all leaven is a picture of the sanctification of the child of God.  Cleansed, redeemed by God’s lamb, the true believer must put away the sinful leaven of the old life before redemption.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 35)

 

The Hebrew word for leaven is chometz, meaning bitter or sour.  It is the nature of sin to make people bitter or sour.  Leaven causes dough to become puffed up so that the end product is more in volume, but not more in weight.  The sin of pride causes people to be puffed up, to think of themselves as far more than they really are.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 35)

 

The ancient Hebrew women used the sourdough method of leavening their bread.  Before forming the dough into loaves ready for baking, they would pull off a chunk of the raw dough and set it aside in a cool, moist place.  When it was time to bake another batch of bread, they brought out the reserved lump and mixed it into the fresh batch of flour and water to leaven the next loaves (again setting aside a small lump of the newly mixed dough).  Each “new generation” of bread was organically linked by the common yeast spores to the previous loaves of bread.  The human race bears this same kind of link to the sin nature of our first father, Adam.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 35)

 

One thing that will be difficult to get “used to” will be the way Americans take advantage of living in the United States.  Freedom is not free and shame on anyone who takes their freedoms for granted! As we recently gained a new Commander in Chief, I’ve been thinking even more about the condition of our nation.  I came across this quote from Thomas Jefferson a few days ago:  “A government that is big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.”  Shame on us if we allow this to happen in the USA!  (Tiffany Lloyd, 02/09, while serving in Iraq)

 

“Custom demanded that in celebrating the Passover Jewish families remove all leaven, sin, from their homes before the first day of the Week of Unleavened Bread (Ex 12:15, 19, 20).  So believers must confess and repent of all sin–including pride, rivalry, jealousy, resentful feelings, and selfishness–before they can be in the right spirit to have communion with Christ at this deepest level.  To this end Christ instituted the ordinance of foot-washing…This ordinance, preceding the Lord’s Supper, fulfills the injunction that all should examine themselves so as not to participate in that meal ‘in an unworthy manner’ (1 Cor 11:27-29).”  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 62-3)

 

Throughout all of human history, the only thing that does work, the only thing that makes provision for freedom in human societies, is moral character. (Alan Keyes; Our Character, Our Future, 21)

 

What we have received is a gift of grace, unearned in any way. We need to understand that man’s free will is free only in that God never compels anybody to sin. The sinner is not free to do either good or evil because his corrupt heart, formed by Satan’s dominion, always inclines him to sin. Man is enslaved by that heart, a bondage that can be broken only by God’s merciful intervention.  (Emailed from Carole Jacobus 8/17/10)

 

Here the life of faith in future grace is pictured as a light burden and an easy yoke.  Can it be both hard and easy?

Yes.  Faith in future grace is intrinsically easy.  What could be easier than trusting God to work of you (Isa 64:4), and take care of you (1 Pt 5:7), and give you all you need (Phil 4:19; Heb 13;6), and strengthen you for every challenge (Isa 41:10).  In one sense, faith is the opposite of straining.  It is ceasing from the effort to earn God’s approval or demonstrate your worth or merit.  It is resting in the gracious promises of God to pursue us with goodness and mercy all our days.  Faith is intrinsically easy.

But this ease of faith assumes that our hearts are humble enough to renounce all self-reliance and self-direction and self-exaltation.  It assumes a heart that is spiritual enough to taste and delight in the beauty and worth of God.  It assumes that the world and the devil have lost their power to lure us away from satisfaction in God.  If these assumptions are not true, then living by faith in future grace will not be as easy as we might have thought, but will involve a lifetime of struggle.

It’s like the monkey with his hand caught in the jar.  It would be easy for him to slip his hand out of the opening except that he has his fist clenched around a nut.  If he loves the nut more than he loves freedom from the jar, then getting his hand out of the jar will be hard, even impossible (as Jesus said in Mk 10:27 about the young man who had his fist clenched around his wealth).  But what could be easier than dropping a nut?  The battle that Paul and Jesus are talking about is the battle to love the freedom of faith more than the nut of sin.  (John Piper, Future Grace, 313)

 

III.  God’s power and love to deliver us from our suffering, bondage, and death [Cup of plagues/judgement].  (2 Sm 7:23; 1 Chr 17:21; Lk 4:18; 13:12; Jn 8:32-33, 36; Rom 6:5-23; 8:2, 21; 2 Cor 3:17; Gal 5:1; Heb 2:15 )  

 

As the Israelites were in bondage to Egypt and needed physical redemption, so all people are in bondage to sin and need to be forgiven and deemed the people of God.  This broader redemption is available for all, whether Jews or Gentiles, who will trust in the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah.  But it is available only through the Messiah, Jesus.  This is the redemption that brings true freedom from the bondage and hopelessness of sin and separation from a holy God.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 110)

 

The connection with the Passover at this meal also suggests the image of a substitutionary sacrifice, imagery Paul makes use of.  The Passover was a time when judgment came to the Egyptians in the death of their firstborn, but Israel’s firstborn were “passed over” and spared the judgment because blood of a lamb was placed on the lintel of the door at their homes.  Jesus now becomes the symbol of such protection.  (Darrell L. Bock, The NIV Application Commentary: Luke, 552)

 

Leaven represents evil and false doctrines, as exemplified in the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Mt 16:6, 12; Mk 8:15).  The leaven of the Pharisees is greed (Mt 23:14), false zeal (v. 15), misconception of spiritual values (vv. 16-22), omission of justice and mercy (v. 23), formalistic obedience (v. 24), hypocrisy (vv. 25-28), intolerance (vv. 29-33), and cruelty (vv. 34-36).  Similarly, the leaven of the Sadducees is skepticism (Mt 22:23) and their lack of understanding the Scriptures and the power of God (v. 29).

Paul speaks of leaven as “malice and evil” and urges believers to “cleanse out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump [a new person], as you really are unleavened.  For Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor 5:7-8).  For Paul, the “unleavened bread” represents the believer, who has been cleansed from sin through the sacrifice of Christ, our Paschal Lamb.  Consequently, we are called to celebrate Passover, not merely by eating unleavened bread for seven days (symbol of completeness), but primarily by being ourselves “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor 5:8).  Ceil and Moishe Rosen remark:  “Paul described the unleavened bread as sincerity and truth.  The Hebrew word matzo (unleavened) means ‘sweet, without sourness.’  The unleavened bread typified the sweetness and wholesomeness of life without sin.”  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 38-9)

 

If Jesus viewed Passover as being completely fulfilled with His death, He would not have spoken of its future fulfillment in the kingdom of God.  Leon Morris points out:  “The reference to fulfillment in the kingdom of God indicates that the Passover had typological significance.  It commemorated a deliverance indeed, but it pointed forward to a greater deliverance, which would be seen in the kingdom of God.”  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 59)

 

We see further symbolism in the words of Jesus, when He said:  “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture” (Jn 10:9).  The Israelites went in through the blood-sealed door on that first Passover night and found safety.  Protected and redeemed by the sacrificial blood, they went out the next morning and began their journey toward the good pasture, the land of promise.  We who are redeemed by the true Passover Lamb find safety in Him from God’s judgment, and, because of Him, we look forward to a future, eternal haven in the very presence of the Almighty, in the city whose “architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10).  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 37-8)

 

The naked bone of the Passover plate confronts us with the knowledge that we no longer have a Passover lamb, nor a Temple for the unified worship of Jehovah our God.  Most of us are physically free from bondage, but aren’t we still slaves–to our limitations, our faults, our circumstances?  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 106)

 

Passover commemorates our liberation from the bondage of sin through the sacrifice of Christ, our Paschal Lamb (1 Cor 5:7); Tabernacles celebrates the completion of our earthly pilgrimage into the Promised Land (Rv 21:1-4).  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 208)

 

For death of itself will never be desired, because such a desire is at variance with natural feeling, but is desired for some particular reason, or with a view to some other end.  Persons in despair have recourse to it from having become weary of life; believers, on the other hand, willingly hasten forward to it, because it is a deliverance from the bondage to sin, and an introduction into the Kingdom of heaven.  (John Calvin; Commentary on Phil 1:23)

 

We implore the mercy of God, not that he may leave us at peace with our vices, but that he may deliver us from them.  — Blaise Pascal

 

God speaks to the Israelites and He says, . . .“I am about to unleash the most inexorable, irresistible, unstoppable force in the Universe:  The Destroyer.  It is going to go through the greatest military and political power that the world has ever seen, Egypt; it is going to go right through it like a knife through hot butter.  And there is only one thing that you can do, there is only one way you can face this ultimate force on the universe . . . a lamb.  A lamb!?  I’m going to be protected from the ultimate force of the universe by fluffy and muffy?  The weakest, meekest, mildest kind of creature possible, and God says , “Yes the only way you are going to be able to face this ultimate force of the Universe is I want you to kill a lamb, eat it with your family and put the blood on the doorpost.”  (Tim Keller sermon, “The Story of the Lamb”)

 

If the truth about my salvation lies in the realm of my feelings, my digestive system, my nervous organism, I am going to be a poor Christian; because that will be changing from day to day according to the weather or to something else.  Oh no!  Truth; where is the truth?  “Not what I am, but what Thou art,” That is where the truth is, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  Free from what?  Bondage!  What bondage?  Satan clapping his chains of condemnation upon you because today you are not feeling up to scratch.  You are feeling bad in your constitution, and you are feeling depressed, you are feeling death all around, you are feeling irritable, and Satan comes along and says, You are not a Christian!  A fine Christian you are!  And you go down under it.  Is that the truth?  It is a lie!  The only answer for deliverance and emancipation is, “it is not what I am, it is what He is; Christ abides the same.”  He is not as I am, varying here in this human life from hour to hour and day to day: He is other.  (T. Austin-Sparks; The School of Christ, 25)

 

Take irritability, for example.  Some of you, of course, may never suffer in that way at all, but others do know what that battle is.  Well, let us take such a case.  Today we feel like that, all nervy, strained and short.  What are we going to do about it?  Are we going to make that our Christian life or the negation of our Christian life!  If we come on to that ground, then Satan is always swift to make the most of it and bring us into terrible bondage and really to kill all spiritual life.  But if you will take the position, “Yes, that is how I feel today, that is my infirmity today, but Lord Jesus, You are other than I am, and I just rest on You, hold on to You, make You my life”, you see what you have done.  You have cut the ground from under the feet of the devil altogether, and you will find that there is peace along that line, and rest, and although you may still be feeling bad in the outer part of you, in the inner part you are at rest.  The enemy is shut out from the inner part of you, he has no place there.  The peace of God stands sentinel over heart and mind through Christ Jesus; the citadel is safe.  What Satan is always trying to do is to get into the spirit through the body or soul and to capture the stronghold, the spirit, and bring it into bondage.  But we can remain free inwardly when we are feeling very bad outwardly. (T. Austin-Sparks; The School of Christ, 26)

 

We also need to be redeemed and liberated from what the Bible would call false masters.

If , and we all do, if you feel the need to prove yourself, because we have this sense (as Kaufka said of being a sinner) we turn to our job, we turn to academia, some of us were good students, some of us were going to try and be professors, we’re going to be scholars, some of us are going to go into career and we’re going to make money, or have professional success.  Some of us go into relationships, and if this person loves me and I have a family.  But, if we are looking to those things as our significance and security; they are not just a job, not just a school, they are not just a family; then they become a master.

Here is what a slave master is.  A slave master is someone who has no boundaries and someone who beats you up if you fail.  You see we often say, “O my boss who is here in New York City is a slave master. Well, you don’t know what a slave master is.  A slave master has no boundaries and they can do anything they want to and they do.  And when you fail a little bit, they beat you.

And how do you know whether your family, how do you know whether your career, how do you know whether your school, is a slave master or just a family, a career or a school?  The answer is . . .  You can’t say no to them.  They are slave masters.  You work too hard.  You can’t stop them.  If you are enslaved in a relationship that means you can’t say no. You can’t walk away.   You’ve got to have them.  They are your significance, your self, your security.  Same thing with making money.  Same thing with your career.

This isn’t just a job, not just money, this isn’t just school, this isn’t just a relationship; they are slave masters.  And if you don’t live up . . .  They beat you.  (Tim Keller sermon, “By the Blood of Jesus”)

 

In the century just gone by, was there a bolder witness than that of Dietrich Bonhoeffer?  On April 9, 1945, in a concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany, having been condemned to death for conspiring in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Bonhoeffer broke loose from his two Nazi guards and went running toward the gallows, shouting, “O death, you are the supreme festival on the road to Christian freedom!”  (Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust, 179)

 

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self:  to Jesus:  but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.  He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”  All theses are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.  But, the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self:  he tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.” remember, therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you—it is Christ; it is not your joy in Christ that saves you—it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument—it is Christ’s blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith.  We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul.  If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by “Looking unto Jesus.”  Keep your eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon your mind; when you wake in the morning look to him; when you lie down at night look to him.  Do not let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail you. —C. H. Spurgeon  (Alister Begg; Pathway to Freedom, 228-9)

 

  1. God’s protection and provision for His people [Cup of Redemption/Blessing]. (2 Kgs 20:6; 2 Chr 20:15; Ps 12:7; 18:17; 31:20-23; 34:15-20; 46:1; 91:1-15; 97:10; 125:1; 145:20; Isa 40:11, 41; 43:2; 54:17; Zech 4:6; Mt 6:19-34; 1 Cor 10:13; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pt 3:12-13; Bk of Rv)  

 

Passover, as a festival of hope, unites Jews and Christians in a common hope of redemption.  There is, however, a difference in the nature of hope.  For the Jews, the hope of redemption is a future possibility dependent upon the coming of the Messiah as the Paschal Lamb to deliver His people.  For Christians, the hope of redemption is a present reality based upon the Paschal Lamb who has already been sacrificed for the redemption of His people.  At Passover, Jews look forward to the Messiah to come; Christians look back to the Messiah who has come to establish the Kingdom of Grace and look forward to His return to inaugurate the Kingdom of Glory.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 46)

 

Luke 22:19 Jesus inaugurates a new Passover by confirming that his body, symbolized by the bread, is the fulfillment and replacement for the Passover Lamb (see 1 Cor 5:7).  His death will provide deliverance for God’s people.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 1, 483)

 

The covenant is at the core of the Passover account.  On the eve of the Exodus, God revealed Himself as the God who remembered His Covenant to the Fathers (Ex 2:24; 3:15).  The Passover lamb whose blood was struck with a bunch of hyssop over the lintel and doorposts of the houses (Ex 12:7, 22) represented the outworking of God’s covenant to protect and deliver the Israelites.

Similarly, on the eve of His Crucifixion, Christ reaffirmed His covenant by His willingness to shed His blood.  At the Lord’s Table, believers enter into fellowship with the exalted Lord.  Paul describes this fellowship as “a participation in the blood…[and] body of Christ” (1 Cor 10:16).  The benefits of Christ’s atoning death are mediated to believers in the present when they partake of the emblems of His blood and body.  Thus the Christian Passover reaffirms the eternal Covenant that God promised to the fathers (Jer 32:40; 50:5; cf. Is 55:3; Ez 16:60) and seals it in the blood of the Messiah (Heb 13:20).  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 70)

 

From the NT record it seems clear that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper by associating it with the third cup of wine, which came after the Passover meal was eaten (cf. 1 Cor 11:25).  It was known as the “cup of redemption,” linked in rabbinic tradition to the third of the fourfold promise of redemption in Ex 6:6f., “I will redeem you.”  Jesus associated this cup of red wine with His atoning death in saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Lk 22:20; cf. 1 Cor 11:25).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. 3, 678)

 

It was time, therefore, that a new and unbloody symbol replace the old.  Nevertheless, by historically linking Passover and the Lord’s Supper so closely together Jesus also made clear that what was essential in the first was not lost in the second.  Both point to him, the only and all-sufficient sacrifice for the sins of his people.  Passover pointed forward to this; the Lord’s Supper points back to it.  (William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary: Luke, 961)

 

Luke 22:20 This is probably the third Passover cup, after the meal.  Covenants in the OT were ratified with a blood sacrifice (Gn 15:9-10; Ex 24:8).  Jesus’ death will inaugurate the new covenant predicted by Jeremiah (Jer 31:31-34).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 1, 483)

 

The mention of “fulfillment” reveals the complete and ultimate significance of the entire Passover celebration.  While Passover commemorated a past event (i.e., Israel’s escape from Egypt when the blood of a lamb painted on their doorframes saved their firstborn sons from death), it also foreshadowed Jesus’ work on the cross.  As the spotless Lamb of God, his blood would be spilled in order to save his people from the penalty of death brought by sin.  At that time in the kingdom of God (see 22:18), those who belong to Christ will sit down at a glorious banquet (see 13:29; 14:15-24; Isa 25:6-8; Rv 19:7-9).  Jesus will not celebrate Passover until God’s plan is complete.  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 494-5)

 

In The Mennonite Brethren Herald (2/19/99), Jim Holm writes: When I was in third grade, I was condemned to live under a law—the law of near-sightedness.  My eyes went bad, and today I am considered legally blind.

I am not free.  I am in bondage to this law.  There is no escape.

But one day I discovered an even greater law that can overcome the law of near-sightedness.  It is called the law of corrective lenses.  When I submitted myself to the law of corrective lenses, the law of near-sightedness was overcome.  Did it go away?  No, it is still there.  But it was overpowered by a greater law, which enabled me to see.

Now here is the ironic thing:  You would think if I want to be free, I’d throw the glasses away.  But that is not freedom.  Only by submitting to the law of glasses do I become free.  (Leadership: Fall 1999 “Freedom with Law,” 75)

 

If ever there is a genuine paradox to be found in Holy Writ, it is at the point of freedom and bondage.  The paradox is this:  When one seeks to rebel from God, he gains only bondage.  When he becomes a slave to God, he becomes free.  Liberty is found in obedience.  The Anglican poet John Donne understood this when he wrote in in a sonnet, Except You enthrall me, never shall I be free. (R.C. Sproul ; If There’s a God, Why Are There Atheists?, 142)

 

  1. God’s future deliverer as covenanted [Cup of Praise]. (Isa 11:1-13;  ch 53; 65:17-25; Dan 7:9-14; Mt 5:17;  Jn 1:45; 5:39-40; 18:36-37; 1 Cor 5:7; 15:24-28; Col 2:16–17; Heb 9:14-15, 23-26; 10:3-22;  Rev chps 17-22)  

 

The Covenant is at the core of the Passover account.  On the eve of the Exodus, God revealed Himself as the God of the Fathers who remembered His Covenant (Ex 2:24; 3:15).  On the eve of the Crucifixion, this covenant was reaffirmed by the Messiah’s willingness to shed His blood.  The paschal lamb is therefore not sufficient to explain the full meaning of the Last Supper; the Covenant intrudes as the over-arching theme.  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. 4, 610)

 

Jesus inaugurates a new covenant, parallel to the covenant inaugurated by Moses through the Passover (26:17-29).  But He functions at this point not primarily as a new Moses who gives instructions to a whole nation of people, but as the father who presides over an intimate celebration with His family, and even more notably as the lamb who dies for the people.  The Last Supper signifies not merely a repetition or equivalent of the OT, but a transition from symbolic, shadowy sacrifice (the lamb) to final, real sacrifice (Jesus).  Hence, we have a transition also from symbolic deliverance from Egypt to real deliverance from sin (26:28).  We enter not into Canaan but into the kingdom of the Father (v. 29).  (Vern Poythress, Ph.D., The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses, 278)

 

Hayyin Schauss notes that “The Jews began to believe that the Messiah would be a second Moses and would free the Jews the self same eve, the eve of Pesach [Passover].  So Pesach became the festival of the second as well as the first redemption; in every part of the world where Jews lived, especially in Palestine, Jewish hearts beat faster on the eve of Pesach, beat with the hope that this night the Jews would be freed from the bondage of Rome, just as their ancestors were released from Egyptian slavery.”  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 43)

 

Jesus’ last supper with his disciples is a poignant picture of something all Christians experience:  the fulfillment of their present relationship with him and the longing for their future completion in him.  Jesus “eagerly desired” to share the Passover meal with his closest friends, the disciples; at the same time Jesus looked forward to its ultimate fulfillment at his return.  Believers today live an in-between life as followers of Christ.  They already experience the peace, forgiveness, and satisfaction, that come from knowing Jesus.  Yet they also long for the consummation of their faith, that day when believers will be perfected and completed in his presence.  Do you sometimes feel that tension?  If so, don’t worry.  It is the normal experience of God’s people awaiting the return of Christ.  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 494)

 

The new covenant is a major theme in the NT (Jer 31:31; Mt 26:28; 2 Cor 3-4; Heb 8-10).  In it are the promise of forgiveness of sins and the enabling power of God’s Spirit, expressed as the law written on the heart–a theme the 2 Corinthians passage develops in detail.  Jesus’ blood shed for them clears the way for the distribution of the blessing of this covenant (Lk 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:14-39; Heb 8-10) and opens up a new era of God’s blessing.  (Darrell L. Bock, The NIV Application Commentary: Luke, 552)

 

While meat was a treat in ancient times, how could they enjoy eating their lamb’s flesh?  The lesson was painful.  God’s holiness demands that He judges sin, and the price is costly.  But He is also merciful and provides a way of escape (redemption).

The innocent Passover lamb foreshadowed the One who would come centuries later to be God’s final means of atonement and redemption.  (Ceil & Moishe Rosen, Christ in the Passover, 32)

 

Christians keep the Passover today every time they take communion.  Jesus fulfilled the Passover for us, taking us from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant when He picked up the unleavened bread and said, “Take and eat.  This is My body which is broken for you” (1 Cor 11:24).  Then he picked up the cup of Elijah and said, “this is the blood of the New Covenant, My blood, which is shed for you for the remission of sin (1 Cor 11:25).  It is shed for you and for all those who come after you and believe.  My blood is on the lintel and on the doorpost protecting you, that from this point on, you might have everlasting life.”  (Michael Esses, Jesus in Exodus, 62-3)

 

In his epistles he expressed a highly developed and sophisticated interpretation of Christ’s crucifixion as an expiatory sacrifice (Rom 3:25; 5:9; also 1 Cor 10:16; Eph 1:7; 2:13; Col 1:20).  He identified the Messiah and the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).  He obviously expected his readers to be knowledgeable with regard to the OT ritual system.  The “pleasing odor” sacrifices, esp. the whole burnt offering, provided the basis for his plea “to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” (Ro 12:1).  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 5, 210)

 

Luke 22:30 Eating and drinking here points to the messianic banquet.  The image of God’s people reigning and judging appears in Dn 7:9, 14, 27; Mt 19:28; 1 Cor 6:2-3.  On the foundational role of the apostles see Eph 2:20; Rv 21:14.  (Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, Vol. 1, 484)

 

Passover began as a celebration of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and became the commemoration of Christ’s deliverance of all believers from the bondage of sin.  To the early Christians Christ was the Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7) who did for them what God had done in Egypt for the Israelites through the blood of the Passover lamb.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 32)

 

Possibly Jesus wanted His last Passover Supper with His disciples to be eaten without the lamb to impress upon them the fact that He was their Paschal Lamb.  Therefore, He could have planned that they celebrate Passover not by eating the flesh of a lamb and pouring out its blood at the Temple’s altar, but by partaking symbolically of His own flesh and blood, their true Paschal Lamb.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 66)

 

Jn 19:14 emphasized that Jesus was crucified at the very hour that these lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover.  In addition, Jesus was called “our Passover” in 1 Cor 5:7.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Three, 62)

 

He refused, however, to drink the fourth cup (Mk 14:25 par.; cf. Ex 6:7) based on the promise that God will take His own people to be with Him.  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. Three, 678)

 

The unfinished meal of Jesus was a pledge that redemption would be consummated at that future messianic banquet when he “drinks it anew in the kingdom of God” (Mk 14:25; cf. Mt 26:29; Rv 3:20; 19:6-9).  The Lord’s Supper concluded with the singing of a hymn (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26), doubtless the second half of the Hallel (Pss 115-118).  (Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Vol. 3, 678)

 

Jesus made the vow to abstain from wine before the fourth cup, which traditionally was drunk after the recitation of these words:  “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.”  Jesus reserved the drinking of this cup for the future restoration.  This powerful scene is accented by Jesus’ taking the third cup, saying, “I will redeem you,” sharing the cup with the disciples, and then pledging that together they would finish this celebration in the kingdom of God (see also 14:15; Is 25:6; Rv 3:20; 19:6-9).  (Bruce B. Barton, D.Min., Life Application Bible Commentary: Luke, 495-6)

 

  1. The reality that the OT Palm Sunday lamb doesn’t hold a candle to the complete picture of Jesus as the lamb that is brought into view by the Apostle John in Revelation. (Rv 5:6, 8, 12-13; 6:1-7, 16; 7:9-17; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1-10; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7-9; 21:9, 14, 22-23, 27; 22:1-3)

 

Revelation uses the very imagery of the epic struggle with Egypt to depict the final conflict and deliverance of God’s people.  When the angels pour out the vials of God’s wrath (Rv 16:2-21), the plagues are unleashed and, like the Egyptians of old, the enemies of God’s people are scourged with hail, fire, darkness, locust, ulcers, bloody waters, and frogs.  Such a chain of events leads up to a New Exodus of a great multitude out of all nations who “sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rv 15:3).  The song of Moses was sung after the victory over the Egyptians at the Red Sea.  The redeemed sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb in a similar setting as they stand on the banks of the sea of glass which is mingled with fire, seemingly representing the Red Sea experience of the redeemed.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 71)

 

Worship Point:  As we prepare for Holy Week, worship the God Who not only sees our suffering, bondage and brokenness, but has provided a way to triumph over the FWS.

 

Why do we press again this evidence of our fallen nature—our susceptibility to corruption which can mar or pervert even our ostensibly more ‘innocent’ activities?   Because we would show that there is no remedy for the despair of the fallen human condition except redemption in Christ.  Indeed, the more we try to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, the more we open ourselves to new and subtler forms of corruption.  (Harry Blamires;  Recovering the Christian Mind, 80)

 

Gospel Application:  Then and now salvation, deliverance and freedom comes through the blood of the Lamb.   Jesus is the reality and the fulfillment of what the original Passover was only a shadow.

 

By choosing instead the bread and wine (nonsacrificial elements of the Passover meal) as the emblems of His atoning death, Jesus detached the new Passover from the sacrificial system and transformed it into a fitting memorial of His redemption.  This radical transformation can be seen also, for example, in the cup of blessing of the paschal meal which becomes the cup of salvation.  “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ?  The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16).  By these few words, Paul shows that though some of the elements of the Jewish Passover survive, their meanings have changed.  The sacrifice of Jesus is the new reality commemorated by the remaining ancient signs.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 68)

 

The Exodus from Egypt to the land of Canaan leads beyond history to the “City” that has foundations “whose builder and maker is God” (Heb 11:10).  Whereas the historic Exodus was limited to the experience of one people, the Christian Exodus is open to the nations of the world.  Man’s ultimate destiny is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the freed (Gal 4:26).  (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible: Vol. Four, 611)

 

Spiritual Challenge:  Never forget what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.  It will not only eliminate needless worry from your life, but it will empower and revitalize your life.  If the Son sets you free you are free indeed.

 

In the light of the larger storyline and the prophetic commentary, notable Jeremiah and Hosea, the love between the two human lovers points to the relationship between Yahweh and Israel at the beginning:  “I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me, and followed me through the desert, through a land not sown” (Jer 2:2).  Probably for this reason, later Jewish tradition required the reading of this text during Passover.  (Stephen G. Dempster, Dominion and Dynasty, 207)

 

Exodus begins with the God of compassion, the God of justice, hearing the cry of slaves in Egypt and setting out to do something about it. God sends a man named Moses to rescue them, and it’s through Moses that God makes four promises to these slaves.

“I will take you out.”

“I will rescue you.”

“I will redeem you.”

“I will take you to me.”

There’s a reason why these four promises are so significant–they’re the promises a Jewish groom makes to a Jewish bride.  This wedding language.  Somebody hearing this story in its original context would realize that some sort of marriage is going to take place.  (Rob Bell; Sex God, 131-2)

 

It happens all the time, often for good reasons.  We think that there has to be more discipline, more obedience, more holiness and more sanctification . . . and all of that is true.  It is just that those things don’t come from effort, they come from being free and loved.  (Steve Brown; Living Free, 171-2)

 

Freedom is attractive to pagans.  Most people become Christians despite Christians.  But, if pagans saw the freedom, they would be drawn to the Man who has the key.  His name is Jesus.  (Steve Brown; Living Free, 178)

 

Obedience flows from freedom, not freedom from obedience. (Steve Brown; Born Free, 141)

 

Realize that this statement was made to people who were already saved.  The Israelites had been delivered from bondage and redeemed by the blood of the Passover lamb.  This is crucial for understanding how God’s law works in the Christian life.  The order of the exodus is important: First God delivered his people from bondage; then he gave them his law.  Imagine what would have happened if it had been the other way around.  Suppose God had said to Moses, “Tell my people: ‘If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, I will carry you away from Egypt on eagle’s wings.’” In that case, there never would have been an exodus at all.  God’s people would still be in bondage due to their failure to keep covenant with God.  But God is a God of grace.  So he saved his people first; then he called them to obey his law.  The history of the exodus thus helps us understand the function of the law in the Christian life.  First God rescues us from our sin; then he teaches us how to live for his glory.  If personal obedience had to come first, we would never be saved.  But as it is, God saves us in Christ before he calls us to live for Christ.  (Philip Graham Ryken, Preaching the Word: Exodus, 495)

 

This may or may not be the correct citation but it does not change the truth of the following paradigm.

At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution, in the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) had this to say about “The Fall of The Athenian Republic” some 2,000 years prior:
“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury.  From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.”
“The average age of the worlds greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

From Bondage to spiritual faith;

From spiritual faith to great courage;

From courage to liberty;

From liberty to abundance;

From abundance to complacency;

From complacency to apathy;

From apathy to dependence;

From dependence back into bondage.”

The last line of Democracy in America reads: “The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness.” (Robert H. Bork; Slouching Towards Gomorrah, 82)

 

Quote from Thomas Jefferson in the Jefferson Memorial “God who gave us life gave us liberty.  Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?   Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

 

If you don’t see the absolute holiness of God, the magnitude of your debt, the categorical necessity of God’s just punishment of your sin, and therefore the utter hopelessness of your condition, then the knowledge of your pardon and deliverance will not be amazing and electrifying! “ — Tim Keller

 

 

Quotes to Note:

You can’t be free until you are secure.  And you can’t be secure unless you know the sovereign God who is ruling this whole show. (Steve Brown; Born Free, 97)

 

“The way for the world to know that it needs redeeming, that it is broken and fallen, is for the church to enable the world to strike hard against something which is an ALTERNATIVE to what the world offers.

Unfortunately, an accomodationist church, so intent on running errands for the world, is giving the world less and less in which to disbelieve.  Atheism slips into the church where God really does not matter, as we go about building bigger and better congregations (church administrations), confirming people’s self-esteem (worship), enabling people to adjust their anxieties brought on by their materialism (Pastoral care), and making Christ a worthy subject for poetic reflection (preaching).  At every turn the church must ask itself, does it really make any difference, in our life together, in what we do, that in Jesus Christ God is reconciling the world to himself?” (William Willimon and Stanely Hauerwas; Resident Aliens, 94-5)

 

Our proposal that Jesus anticipated His eating of the Passover meal to the night before the official eating of Passover because He knew that He would suffer death as the true Paschal lamb at the time of the slaying of the paschal lamb on Nisan 14, provides a simple solution that reconciles the two accounts of the Passover: John was right in placing the crucifixion on “the preparation of the Passover” (Jn 19:14), that is, Nisan 14, because the official Passover began on Friday night; the synoptics are right in calling the Last Supper a Passover supper, for the Last Supper was a special paschal meal eaten a day early.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 58)

 

The settlement of the Israelites in Canaan and the centralization of worship in Jerusalem modified some of the ancient rules regarding Passover.  For example, the smearing of blood on the doorposts was replaced by the sprinkling of the blood on the altar at the Temple (see 2 Chr 30:16; 35:11).  The lamb was no longer slain at one’s own house but at the temple in the presence of the priests who collected the blood and tossed it at the base of the altar.  Similarly, the rule requiring the eating of the lamb in one’s own home was, according to the Talmud, changed to homes in Jerusalem only.  (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, 39-40)

 

                                                               

Christ:

The Lamb of God

 

 

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