Friday, April 6, 2007

The Perfect Lamb

Sometimes we have no idea how momentous a day in our life is going to be – it begins no different than the day before but ends with our world changed forever.
One such day happened thousands of years ago. That day was a day that has been remembered and talked about probably more than any other.
In fact it was so important that it is once again remembered today, as it has been every year since the Jewish exodus out of Egypt 1200-1500 B.C.
It is the Passover Feast that we call Good Friday.
It is the only holiday we observe that is celebrated because of a direct command and under specific instructions from God Himself.

On the tenth day of Nissan, the first month of the year, every Jewish family was instructed to chose a lamb or a kid from their flocks. It must be a male and it must be without blemish. To make absolutely sure that it was a perfect lamb, from the time it was chosen on the 10th it was to be kept separate and watched until the 14th.
Then on the 14th of Nissan, in the evening, the lamb was killed outside the gates, and roasted by fire to be eaten for the family meal.
If a family was too small to be able to eat a whole lamb then they could join with a neighbouring family . Every one was to provide for his family according to their need. It was imperative that all the meat was eaten before morning, and if any scraps were left they were to be burned.
They were to eat their bread unleavened, and the blood of the lamb was to be applied on the sides and over the top of the doorway to each home, to ensure the angel of death would pass by.
And God decreed that this day was to be commemorated for ever! (Deut.16:3-8 Ex. 12:15-20)

This feast was a shadow of Jesus who would not come for another approximately 1400 years. Therefore, the Passover feast was celebrated over 1,000 times by the Jews forshadowing the death of their Messiah, Jesus, but they did not recognize Him when He came.

When Jesus ministry had lasted about 3 ½ years, the calendar came around to the month of Nissan.
On the tenth of the month Jesus sent his disciples to go into the village and bring back a donkey that they would find there. If any one questioned them they were to say that the Lord had need of him. The disciples found the donkey , brought it back, and set Jesus upon it. He rode on the donkey through the streets leading to the city. There was a multitude of people before and behind Him, who threw their garments in front of Jesus. They cut down branches from the trees and strew them in his path.
The crowds shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
When they came into Jerusalem, the city was astonished asking “Who is this?” And the multitude shouted , “This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazereth of Galilee.”
Jesus was chosen by the people on the 10th of Nissan, and he was examined for four days until he appeared before Pilate who declared him to be a perfect lamb…. he said , “I find no fault in him.” (John 14:4)

On the 14th of Nissan Jesus told his disciples to prepare for the Passover meal as they had always done every year of their life, as had Jesus. ( I wonder what it was like for Him, when every year He knew it was one year closer to the year that HE would be the Passover lamb killed for the sins of the people.)
The disciples would have never guessed how much this Passover would change their lives forever, yes, even the whole world.
They went out and prepared the meal. When the evening hour came , the disciples and Jesus sat down in the upper room where the meal had been prepared.
Jesus took the bread, broke it and said, ”This is my body which is given for you .” The bread was ‘unleavened’ because Jesus was without sin.
And also when He took the cup he said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you .”
And instead of the feast continuing to be a remembrance of Israel's escape out of Egypt, Jesus told them that hence forth when they celebrate the feast they were to do it in remembrance of HIM. And they were to do this until He returned. ( I Cor. 11:6)
I wonder if the disciples understood what Jesus was saying, that he was telling them that the shadow was about to be fulfilled in the ‘good thing’.

After the Passover meal, Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane where he was betrayed by Judas, taken before Pilate and condemned to die.
The Jewish day was counted from sundown to sundown, so Jesus ate the Passover meal on the 14th after sundown and before the day ended he was crucified – without the gate (Heb.13:12). His blood was shed to be “a propitiation through faith in his blood …for the remission of sins..”(Rom.3:25)- every person who applies His blood – through faith - is protected from spiritual death.
‘Nothing was left’ of the Lamb of God by morning. Nothing was wasted, nothing was in vain, the purpose for which he came was finished!!

“and a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (Luke 23:38)

And even as He was dying the promise was already true ! To the repentant thief on the cross Jesus said, “Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
(Luke 23:43)

"For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with
the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." ( I Cor. 5:7-8)

1 comment:

Demara said...

Sincerity and truth??? Yes! Thank-you Julie for bringing the story back to life again for had been a long time actually since I heard it spoken you know? Thank-you!