Friday, 14 April 2017

The Passover Lamb

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 1 v 7: "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us."
John 1 v 29 - 34: "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. 
 30  This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
 31  And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32  And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
 33  And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
 34  And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God."

Before the exodus of the Jews out of Egypt after they had been Pharoah's slaves for 400 years, God visited judgments upon Egypt of rivers turning to blood, plagues of flies, frogs and locusts, hail, darkness, and finally death of the firstborn of man or animal of any that was not protected by the blood of a lamb upon the door of their house.  

This was the first Passover when the Angel of death (or spirit of death) passed over the Jewish homes but killed the first born in every house including Pharoah's own son in His palace.  The cries of the bereaved filled the land and at last Pharoah let the Israelites leave Egypt.  They feasted and rejoiced to escape the slavery.

The Jews were told to keep this Passover Feast as a memorial for all generations and they have obeyed God in this matter.  This was how the Lord ensured that the memory would be retained because He knew that the real slavery was sin and He would send a Deliverer to break that bondage forever.

Millennia passed and before the birth of John the Baptist a period of 400 years elapsed when Israel heard nothing from God.  There was no prophet or priest who received any revelation until Zacharias the high priest was confronted by the Archangel Gabriel in the Holy of Holies and told that in their old age he and his wife would bear a son and call him John.  Because Zacharias doubted Gabriel he was rendered dumb until the day the child was born.  His first words were, his name is John.

Jesus was born 6 months after His cousin John, and thirty years later, John said of Jesus, Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.  Sin is the barrier that keeps a blockage between God and people.  The only way was to use the Blood of the Lamb to remove eternal death from us.

Jesus was born in a stable but it was not just any stable!  It was the stable for the lambs that were separated into a special pen because they were without blemish and would be used in the Passover sacrifice.  His very birth was in a prophetic place.

At the same time Jesus was arrested, the Passover lambs were being taken from their pens for inspection.  This coincided with Jesus being examined by Caiphas the high priest of Israel.  This was continued by Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor who declared, I find no fault in Him, at precisely the same time as the priests declared that the lambs for sacrifice were free of blemishes.

These lambs were being slaughtered just as Jesus was nailed to the beams of the Cross.  God was making very sure that the Jews got the message that just as He spared their lives in Egypt, He was now cleansing their souls of all sin.  The Law that condemned them was over and a new covenant of Grace that leads to eternal life has replaced it.

Crucified between two thieves the sinless Lamb of God took on the sins of every human being who ever lived.  One of the thieves recognised Him and asked, Lord remember me when you come into your Kingdom, while the other thief mocked and scoffed.  

John 3 v 16: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus said to the believing thief, This day you shall be with me in Paradise.  Paradise was a compartment of Hell where the believers went before Jesus opened the way to heaven.  I imagine that thief bounding up to Abraham, and all the prophets and joyfully announcing Who was right behind him.  A king always has a trumpeter heralding His arrival.

So the only good thing about Good Friday is the most important thing that ever happened to mankind.  The sacrifice of the Lamb of God for every one of us who chooses to follow Him.  He delivered us from sin, disease, sorrow, slavery and death.......and like Apostle Paul at the end of his earthly life cried - That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection!

Prayer:  Heavenly Father how can we ever thank You enough for this brilliant, far-reaching plan to rescue us from the clutches of Satan.  So many have chosen to ignore and deny You and Jesus and willingly live by the rules of slavery to sin, drugs, alcohol, drugs, sex, power, love of money and big us religions, but yet You impress on us that Jesus died for all.  We must bring this knowledge of Your love to be known everywhere in the hope that their stubborn pride will be broken and they will seek to know You.  In Jesus' name. Amen.