Passover and Easter: A Sacrifice and a Gift

As I write this, I am finishing a 3-week speaking tour, presenting Christ in the Passover in churches throughout Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. I'm looking forward to seeing my wife again, to enjoying both a Passover seder with her and some friends, and to attending Easter services.

Speaking on the subject of Passover for the last few weeks has given me cause to reflect on the meaning of Passover and Easter. When I was growing up, Passover was an annual event that reinforced my identity as a Jew. I looked forward to the time my family would spend together during a seder. I anticipated the matzoh ball soup, and looked forward to vying with my older brother to find the afikomen. I cannot, however, really remember a time when I was growing up when anyone -- mom, dad, or our rabbi -- encouraged me to think about the deeper meaning of Passover: God's redemptive power.

Today, as a Jew who believes in Jesus, I am able to see that deeper meaning more clearly. As I read in the story of the Exodus how my ancestors sacrificed a spotless lamb and applied its blood to the doorposts of their home (and therefore avoided death), I am able to see how this event foreshadowed a greater sacrifice, in the death of Jesus. Just as the blood of the lambs saved my ancestors from death, the blood of the Lamb, the Messiah Jesus, saves us all from death. His sacrifice on the cross was a greater atonement than any animal sacrifice, a gift that gives eternal life to those who place their faith in Him.

"For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

It's in the context of Easter that I am able to think about that gift. While the death of Jesus on the cross is the action that atoned for the sins of all, Easter is about the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus is the miracle on which the claims of Christianity stand or fall. Take away the Resurrection, and the death of Jesus is without meaning. It was the fact of the Resurrection which transformed the disciples of Jesus from a defeated and dispirited group of men, who had seemingly seen all of their hopes and dreams die on a cross with their leader, into a dynamic group of men whose lives transformed the world as we know it. Quite a gift indeed!

May you have a joyous Passover and a Happy Easter!


Jenn said...

Awesome, I've been thinking about Y'shua as the Passover Lamb lately. I love how messianic the Passover (and the other feasts, but especially Pesach) is.

MICHAEL said...

About 3 years ago I dropped into a black hole – four months of absolute terror. I wanted to end my life, but somehow [Holy Spirit], I reached out to a friend who took me to hospital. I had three visits [hospital] in four months – I actually thought I was in hell. I imagine I was going through some sort of metamorphosis [mental, physical & spiritual]. I had been seeing a therapist [1994] on a regular basis, up until this point in time. I actually thought I would be locked away – but the hospital staff was very supportive [I had no control over my process]. I was released from hospital 16th September 1994, but my fear, pain & shame had only subsided a little. I remember this particular morning waking up [home] & my process would start up again [fear, pain, & shame]. No one could help me, not even my therapist [I was terrified]. I asked Jesus Christ to have mercy on me & forgive me my sins. Slowly, all my fear has dissipated & I believe Jesus delivered me from my “psychological prison.” I am a practicing Catholic & the Holy Spirit is my friend & strength; every day since then has been a joy & blessing. I deserve to go to hell for the life I have led, but Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross, delivered me from my inequities. John 3: 8, John 15: 26, are verses I can relate to, organically. He’s a real person who is with me all the time. I have so much joy & peace in my life, today, after a childhood spent in orphanages [England & Australia]. God LOVES me so much. Fear, pain, & shame, are no longer my constant companions. I just wanted to share my experience with you [Luke 8: 16 – 17].

Peace Be With You