Christ, Our Passover Lamb
This evening, our first Scripture lesson
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
Our second lesson is a verse that we have recently seen in our series from 1 Corinthians; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8:
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Finally, from Romans 15:4:
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
As the disciples gathered with Jesus in an upper room to celebrate the Passover feast, it was not by accident, but by design. God is the author of history and all of history. For over a thousand years the Passover had been observed by faithful Jews for this moment. This is why Jesus said in our reading from Luke’s Gospel, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
This Passover was different than all the others that had come before, because this Passover was the one on which “Christ, our Passover Lamb” (1 Cor 5:7) was to be sacrificed. You see, everything written in the Old Testament was a type or pointer, pointing to Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. It was written, as we just heard to instruct and encourage us in order that we might have endurance and hope (Rom 15:4).
One of the most powerful and important Old Testament motifs is that of exile and exodus. This motif is found throughout Scripture, beginning in Genesis and ending in the book of Revelation. The three most important are the Passover of Egypt, the Passover of Calvary and the Passover of the Second Coming. Let us look first at the Passover of Egypt:
The Passover of Egypt
The Passover of Egypt
The Passover of Egypt begins with God’s people in exile and bondage in Egypt. Israel was enslaved, but worse than this they were threatened with extinction. Pharaoh had ordered that every male child born of an Israelite be killed.
In this desperate situation, the people cried out and the Lord heard their cry. After a series of devastating plagues, Pharaoh still refused to let God’s people go, therefore, God sent one final plague upon Egypt, the Angel of Death. This angel would pass through Egypt and kill every first-born male, both man and beast. However, provision was made for all those who placed their trust in God, every household who sacrificed a lamb and painted its blood over the doors would be spared, the Angel of Death would “pass over” that house. Thus, the name Passover.
Because of the devastation of this final plague, Pharaoh relented and let the people go, but soon he changed his mind and sent his army to destroy the Israelites who were encamped by the Red Sea. There, God parted the waters for Israel, allowing them to cross over as on dry land. In his arrogance and rage, Pharaoh pursued Israel, but before his army could overtake the Israelites, God released the waters and Pharaoh's army was drowned.
This mighty deliverance was remembered every year at the feast of Passover, but more importantly, this feast pointed to an even greater Passover, the Passover of Calvary.
The Passover of Calvary
The Passover of Calvary
The Gospel accounts all open with God’s people in exile, not only were God’s people under the oppressive rule of the Romans and the heretical rule of the Jewish religious establishment, but as revelation history makes clear, all mankind, including the Jews was under the tyrannical reign of sin and Satan. Writing of this spiritual bondage, Paul says:
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Pharaoh was a type, pointing to a greater tyrant, Satan. Just as Pharaoh sought to enslave and destroy those under his reign, so Satan’s goal is to first enslave and then destroy all those under his reign. It was under this oppression, that a tiny remnant of true believing Jews cried out for a Messiah and once again, God heard the voice of His people! This time He sent His only begotten Son to be the sacrifice that would His wrath would “pass over” the households of those who had faith in Him and deliver them from the bondage of the Devil.
It is because of the greatness of His deliverance that Christ instituted a new feast to replace the feast of Passover. We know this new sacramental meal as the Lord’s Supper or Communion. Like the Sacrament of Passover before it, the Lord’s Supper is both a remembrance of deliverance and a participation in that deliverance. In addition, just as the Passover points to a future deliverance, so also, the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper points to a future deliverance. Paul, in his instruction concerning the Lord’s Supper commands us, “as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). The Lord’s Supper points us to Christ’s Second Coming, when the final great Passover will occur:
The Passover of the Second Coming
The Passover of the Second Coming
Although, Christ’s victory over Satan was complete and total; God, in His mercy is delaying the full actualization until the full number of the elect are gathered in. Peter says
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
Consequently, we still live in a world dominated by sin, Paul calls it “this present evil age” (Gal 1:4) and Peter teaches us that our time of earth is our “time of exile” (1 Pet 1:17) and that we dwell in “Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13). He goes on to say...
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
Do not misunderstand; the time between the First and Second Comings of the Lord is a time of great good because the Gospel is going forth and souls are being saved! We should rejoice and be thankful for this. A Christians should be one of the happiest, most joyful of persons, just as Jesus was a happy, joyful person. However, was also a “man of sorrows” and we also are called to share in His suffering. This present age is a time of great evil and tribulation. There will be no “heaven on earth” until the Lord Himself steps upon this earth again!
When that Day comes, there will be a great judgement against sin and sinners. Christ’s wrath will be like a great fire and none will be able to stand on that Day! Consequently, there is a need for one last, great Passover—The Rapture. Paul writes of this Passover saying:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Today, doctrine of the Rapture is greatly misunderstood. It is commonly taught that the Rapture happens before the Great Tribulation and it is designed to spare God’s people to suffer tribulation. In contrast, both Jesus and the Apostles clearly taught that we are to expect tribulation (Mt. 13:21; 24:9; Jn 16:33; Rom 8:35; 12:12; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 1:9; 2:9-10); going so are as to say, “it is through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). It is from God’s wrath that the Rapture is designed to rescue God’s people from. The Rapture comes at the very end of this age as Christ is coming down in fury and wrath it is the ultimate Passover!
Does the blood of Jesus cover your household? If Jesus came back today, would you and your family be caught up in the air or would you suffer the wrath of the Lamb?
I ask this question, not because I have any reason to doubt that you are not ready, but it behooves us all to ask ourselves this question frequently. Jesus hated the presumptive faith of the Pharisees. Why, because presumptive faith never saves! Only trusting faith saves. So, I ask you again, do you trust in Christ alone for your salvation?