HOUSMAIL HM#129 20 March 2008
Passover this year will be celebrated on 19 April.
The corresponding Jewish date will be 15 Nisan, commencing at sunset on Saturday, with the traditional feast eaten Saturday night.
Prior to that on 14 Nisan will be the "Day of Preparation", on which all leaven is to be removed from Jewish homes, in readiness for the next seven days which is called the "Feast of Unleavened Bread".
Saturday afternoon 14 Nisan is this year's anniversary of the day on which, in NT times, the passover lamb would have been slain. However today Jews no longer eat a passover lamb at the feast because they don't have a temple in which to kill the lamb. The OT is very specific that the lamb can only be slain "in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in". (Deut 16:-6) i.e. No temple - No Passover sacrifice!!!
When the temple veil was rent at the Crucifixion of Jesus, it could be clearly seen that there was no sign of the presence of God in the Holy of Holies. The temple was revealed as finally DESOLATE - abandoned by God. (Daniel 9:27; Luke 13:35) And that state of desolation was reinforced in AD70, when God removed even the temple itself, and "not one stone was left upon another". (Matt 24:1)
The destruction of the Jerusalem temple in AD 70 wasn't just a fulfillment of an ancient prophecy by Daniel. Of course it was that - but much much more, it was God's final declaration that the OLD MOSAIC COVENANT had been superceded by the NEW COVENANT, in which regular animal sacrifices have been replaced by the "once for all time" sacrifice of Jesus. (Heb 9:26; Heb 10:10)
In 2008 the Jews will again celebrate Passover without a lamb. Sadly the vast majority will be keep the feast in ignorance that they don't ever again need to kill a lamb since "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us". (1 Cor 5:7)
The Apostle Paul urges all who know that to:
"keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." (1 Cor 5:8)
On Passover night, all over the world, Jews will again take time out to remember how God "passed over" their blood sprinkled homes, and spared them from the plague which slew all the firstborn of Egypt.
But that isn't really what it is about, is it? For those who will look beneath the surface, that ancient historical event was actually a prophecy about Jesus. It foretold even the date of His death and the time of day at which it would happen! And more important, it told us why it would happen and what it would achieve.
At Calvary Jesus accomplished a new EXODUS! (See Luke 9:31 Interlinear Greek text)
If we have REPENTED we have purged our "homes" of the "leaven" of sin. His "sprinkled blood" has saved us from the death due for our sins. And we have been called out of "Egypt" to follow Him to the promised land.
Of course Christian discipleship is not about keeping feasts! Nevertheless we are encouraged to remember "Christ our Passover" in a simple ritual which reminds us that:
1. This (unleavened) bread represents the sinless body of Jesus, given
for us on the cross.
2. This cup represents the blood of our "passover lamb" shed for us as a token of the
New Covenant in which:
Gods laws will be written in our hearts and minds,
The penalty of our sins has been remitted,
our sins will be remembered no more. (Heb 10:16-18)
Spare thought on the Saturday morning and afternoon to remember that terrible suffering of the cross, endured FOR US. Spare a thought on the Saturday night to rejoice in the salvation it has made possible for us. And spare thought on the Sunday morning for the EXODUS we have undertaken to journey with Jesus to the Promised Land - the EVERLASTING KINGDOM OF GOD!