Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Christ, our Passover....

Growing up, our church always celebrated Passover, complete with yarmulkes and real lamb. The children always went on a search to clear the church of leaven (pieces of bread). Another child was picked was ask the traditional Jewish questions about when the Israelites first came out of Egypt. We ate lamb, matzah (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, charoses (a mixture of apples, walnuts, cinnamon, and I don't know what else), and parsley dipped in salt water (to represent the tears the Israelites shed in slavery). I didn't always understand exactly what was going on, but it always felt like such a holy experience.

I also didn't understand--simply because I was too young--the spiritual significance that Passover has today for followers of Jesus. It is amazing to me how so many things in Old Testament are shadows of what Jesus was to bring later by his death and resurrection. For Passover, originally, it was a celebration of the angel of death passing over God's people because of the blood of the lamb on their door posts. Because of that, they were then able to leave their life of slavery in Egypt.

In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul says, "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (NASB). Traditionally, Jewish people get rid of all the leaven in the house before preparing for Passover and making their unleavened bread. After Jesus' sacrifice, this became a symbol of the way that we, as followers of Jesus, should cleanse our lives of sin and become a new person, free of sin. Because Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for us (once and for all!!!!!), we are now covered by His blood, (just as the Israelites covered their doorposts with the blood of a lamb) so that eternal death passes over us. We can journey out of sin and into the new life and the eternal promise that God has for us.

In Matthew 5:17, Jesus says, "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill." The word fulfill here is "pleroo" (Greek), which means "to fill up". Passover was (and still is) a celebration of the awesome and miraculous thing God did for His people, but now--it's a symbol of the awesome and miraculous thing God did for His people (now made up of Jews AND Gentiles) through the lasting sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, the Messiah. Jesus filled up the meaning of Passover--he gave it it's full measure of meaning. He also did that in many other ways obviously; I'm just focusing on Passover today.  In the last several years, I have just realized how everything Jesus did in the New Testament filled up the meaning of everything in the Old Testament. It's just mind blowing to me! And we can celebrate because the things Jesus did have lasting, eternal value to us! He gives us a place to call home for forever, that no one can ever take away.

Happy Passover, y'all! Resurrection day is coming!

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