If you saw "The Passion of The Christ,"
Latest Update: 4/20/2016
You need to read the rest of the story! See Update for Day of Passover 2016
You believe that Jesus died for your sins? Do you really know why He had to suffer and die, or why salvation is needed & what else is required of us for salvation?
What is the price of salvation? What should the Passover mean for Jews, Christians and everyone today?
"Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people...
"And (He) taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are the merciful... Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 4:23; 5:2,3,9,10).
Just three and a half years after starting His ministry, at His last Passover (see "Combined Narrative of Jesus' Last Passover...", Jesus said to His disciples,
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.That same night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, seized by self-righteous religious authorities and denied and forsaken by His disciples. Those who seized Him mocked and beat Him, and sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death (Mat 26:47-75; Mk 14:43-72; Lk 22:14-71; John 18:1-28). Afterwards they took Him before the Roman authorities:
"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34-35).
As He continued to instruct His disciples, Jesus repeated His command,
"This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.
"GREATER LOVE HAS NO MAN THAN THIS, THAN TO LAY DOWN ONE'S LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS.
"You are My friends if you do whatever I command you...
"These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:12-13,17).
"And the chief priests accused Him of many things (and of "perverting the nation...saying that He Himself is Christ, a king - Matthew 26:59-68; Luke 23:2-68), "but He answered nothing" (Mk 15:3-4).
Pontius Pilate, the ruling governor in Jerusalem, after examining the charges, declared to the chief priests and to the people,
"You have brought this Man unto me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man... no neither did Herod... I will therefore chastise Him, and release Him." Lk 23:14-16; John 18:38-40)It was a custom of the govenor at the Feast to release one prisoner whom they wished, therefore, Pilate said to them,
"Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ (Messiah - Anointed One)?" (Mat 27:15-17).
"For he knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy" (Mk 15:10).For they had plotted to kill Him because they feared, "If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place (their positions of authority) and nation" (John 11:47-48,53)."But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus" (Mat 27:18-20).
They knew, even as the Pharisee Nicodemus had said to Jesus, "we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these miracles that You do, unless God is with Him" (John 3:1-2).
"And they all cried out at once, saying, 'Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas' - who had been thrown into prison for a certain insurrection...and for murder" (Lk 23:18-21).
Then Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? They all said to him, 'Let Him be crucified!'
"Then the governor said, 'Why, what evil has He done? But they cried out the more, 'Let Him be crucified!'" (Mat 27:22-23).
"So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him" (John 19:1).
"Then the soldiers of the govenor took Jesus into the Praetorium (the hall of judgment in Herod's palace) and gathered the whole garrison around Him" (Mat 27:27).
Jesus was mercilessly beaten and scourged by the Roman soldiers. The film, "The Passion of the Christ," produced and directed by Mel Gibson, Oscar winner for his role in the movie "Braveheart," vividly portrays the intense trial, suffering and crucifixion that Jesus endured for our sins at the hands of Jewish religious authorities and brutal Roman soldiers.
Under the Roman military a victim of scourging was stretched with cords on a frame and beaten with rods and whips made of leather thongs imbedded with bits of metal or bone. For this horrible punishment, the body was stripped naked and flogged until the flesh hung down in bloody shreds. The scourge could literally tear the flesh from the bones, as was prophesied to happen to Jesus. As He was being scourged He remembered the Scriptures:
"I gave My back to the smitters, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.No one had been scourged more severely than Jesus was.
"For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint...
"He is near who justifies Me..." (Isa 50:6-8).
"They gape at Me with their mouths, as a raging and roaring lion.
"I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
"My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue clings to My jaws; and they have brought Me into the dust of death.
"For dogs have compassed Me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed Me...
"I can count all My bones..." (Psa 22:13-17).
"Just as many were astonished at Him, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men..." (Isa 52:14).
"And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they struck Him...When Pilate heard that saying, he capitulated under the threat of being reported to the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar and took Jesus down to the judgment seat and rendered judgment on the charge of sedition against Rome (ver. 13).
After the severe scourging, "Pilate then went out again, and said to them,'Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.
"...when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, 'Crucify Him, crucify Him!
"Pilate said to them, 'You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him" (John 19:2-6).
"When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, 'I am innocent of the blood of this just Person, you see.
"Then all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children" (Mat 27:24-25).
"...Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, 'If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar" (John 19:12).
"So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested." And he released to them Barabbas, a murderer, and sentenced Jesus, an innocent Man - the Son of God, to death (Lk 23:18-25).And He was subjected to a horrible and most shameful of deaths - hanging on a tree, or pole (John 3:14; Num 21:8-9; Gal 3:13; Deut 21:22-23; Acts 5:30; Heb 12:2; 1 Pet 2:24) with large nails driven through His hands and feet (Psa 22:16; John 20:25). The day was Passover, the 14th of Abib (Nisan), the first month of the biblical year (Exodus 12:3; 13:4; Esther 3:7).
"So he delivered Him to them to be crucified...
"And He, carrying His cross ("stauros," a pole, or cross), went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha..." (John 19:16-17).
"Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of...Simon a Cyrenian...and on him they laid the cross that he might [carry it behind] Jesus.
"And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. But Jesus, turning to them, said,
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and your children...
"And when they came to the place called Calvary (Golgotha), there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left" (Lk 23:26-33).
"Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour (Noon to 3 PM)" (Mk 15:33).What were Jesus' thoughts and feelings as He was suffering on the cross?
His accusers taunted Him, "He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" (Psa 22:8)
"And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, 'He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.
"And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, saying, 'If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself. (Lk 23:35-38).
"Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross... JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS... and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin" (John 19:19-20)
"My God... Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning?And as He was in great anguish and pain suffering on the cross looking down at His tormentors, Jesus' concerns and thoughts were for them whom He came to save. He cried out,
"O My God, I cry...but You do not hear...
"But You are holy, who inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; They trusted, and You delivered them... They trusted in You and were not ashamed.
"But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All those who see Me laugh Me to scorn...
"For dogs have surrounded Me; The assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them...
"O Lord, do not be far from Me; O My strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword... Save Me from the lion's (Satan's - 1 Pet 5:8) mouth and from the horn's of the wild oxen!
"You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise You"(Psa 22:1-7,16-22).
"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).Jesus death occurred the same day and time that the Passover lambs were traditionally killed - thus fulfilling the Scriptures (Exodus 12:6-8,12,42; Deut 16:1-7; Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 23:44-46; John 18:28; 19:14-18,28).
"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister (Salome - Mk 15:40), Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved (John) standing by, He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold your son!' Then He said to His disciple, 'Behold your mother!' And...that disciple took her to his own home" (John 19:25-30).
"And at the ninth hour (3 PM - just as the priests were slaying the Passover lambs) Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' which is translated, 'My God, My God, why have You (or they) forsaken Me?'" (Mk 15:34).
"And one of the soldiers took a spear, and pierced His side; and out came water and blood" (John 19:34 - also Mat 27:49 in Moffatt & the Century NT translations and many older manuscripts of Matthew's Gospel).
"Jesus again uttered a loud cry, and gave up His Spirit" (Mat 27:50).
"And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice (knowing that all things were now accomplished... said, 'It is finished ("telos," fulfilled, paid in full)!' - John 19:28,30), He said, 'Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit. And having said this, He breathed His last" (Lk 23:45-46).
"Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two (from top to bottom [showing access to God's throne was now opened - 2 Cor 3:14-16; Heb 4:16; 9:1-3; 10:19-20]; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves, after His resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
"When the army captain and his men, who were watching Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, 'Truly this Man was the Son of God!'" (Mat 27:51-54).
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.God inspired the prophet Isaiah to reveal that,
"For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16-17).
"He (Jesus, the Messiah) was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised ("dakha," to be broken in pieces, crushed, humbled, afflicted) for our iniquities, the chastisement ("musar," punishment, discipline, correction, instruction) for our peace ("shalom," welfare, health, prosperity, peace) was upon Him, and by His strips we are healed.The apostle Paul explains how Jesus' suffering and sacrifice reveals God's LOVE for us:
"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
"He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.
"He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of My people was He stricken" (Isa 53:3-8).
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God...
"For when we were still without strength (spiritually weak and powerless or helpless), in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die,
"But GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS OWN LOVE TOWARD US, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
"Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
"And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Rom 5:1-2,6-8).
The incredible truth is, as the Scriptures say, that God would prepare a sacrifice for Himself.
"And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide for Himself the Lamb for a burnt offering" (Gen 22:8).Jesus Christ was That Lamb, the Lord's Anointed - the Messiah! God Himself prepared His sacrifice for the sins of the world! For the world, even His own special people rejected Him (John 1:10-11).
"The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against His Anointed...So who really did kill Jesus Christ?
"For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pointius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done" (Psa 2:1-2; Acts 4:26-28).
"Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently, He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.
"Just as many were astonished at You, so His visage was marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men" (Isa 52:13-14).
"He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief...
"Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted...
"He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before the shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
"...He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.
"...He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth.
"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.
"He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
"Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isa 53:3-12).
"If you fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; "But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all..." (Jam 2:8-10).Therefore the Scriptures make it clear that Jesus Christ died to make it possible that our sins, the sins of all mankind, could be forgiven. When we take the unleavened bread and the wine at the Passover, we are acknowledging our guilt, our sin, in Jesus suffering and death, and remembering that He died for us, for our sins, paying our penalty on the cross, in our place, that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God (Isa 53:5-6,8,11-12; Lk 22:19-20; Acts 2:22-23,36; 3:13-15; Rom 3:23-26; 4:25; 5:10-11,18,21; 6:6,18,23; 8:3,32; 10:9-10; 15:3; 1 Cor 5:8; Heb 9:9,11-12,26; 10:3,22; 1 John 1:7-10).
This is a mystery to the world,
"which God ordained before the world for our glory, which none of the rulers of this world knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor 2:7-8).
Jesus asked those who took Him captive, "do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?" (Mat 26:53).
Jesus said to the Roman govenor Pontius Pilate,
"My Kingdom is not of this world. If My Kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but My Kingdom is not from here" (John 18:36).
"You could have no power against Me except it were given you from above..." (John 19:11).
Jesus could have backed out and escaped the crucifixion. It was His choice! But had He done so, He wouldn't have been our Savior and we would all die in our sins unredeemed, with no hope of the resurrection. That night, before He was taken, three times He
"fell on His face, and prayed, saying, 'O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will'" Mat 26:39-44).Jesus knew the trial that He would soon have to go through to pay for our sins to deliver us from eternal death. Therefore, during His ministry He tried to prepare His disciples for what was to come, saying to them:
"I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me" (John 6:38).
"For God so loved the world that HE GAVE His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Yes! God Himself prepared a Lamb for a sacrifice!
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (Num 21:8-9), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16,14-15).
"This is the will of the Father who sent Me... that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the Last Day" (John 6:38-40). (See "Hope of the Resurrection")
"The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Lk 9:22-23).
"Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. ...because I go to My Father... A little while longer and the world will see Me no more... And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe" (John 14:1,12,19,29).
"This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:12-13).
"A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me, because I go to the Father.
"I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.
"Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered...and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me" (John 16:16,28,32).
"Because of this does My Father love Me, that I lay down My life, to the intent that I take it again.
"No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I received from My Father" (John 10:17-18).
"But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do." (John 14:31).
Today most professing Christians have been taught that the Passover is one of those Old Testament Jewish observances that Jesus did away with on the cross and was replaced by the "Lord's Supper" (Eucharist) and "Good Friday-Easter Sunday" celebrations (see "The Good Friday - Easter Sunday DILEMMA". Easter is a festival of pagan origin, which was adopted by Roman Catholicism to commemorate His resurrection (see What Does Easter Really Commemorate?).
But what does the New Testament reveal about the Passover - this first and most sacred of the Old Testament Feasts kept by Jesus and the apostles? And what does Christ's death have to do with the Passover?
In the Old Testament, the first Passover marked the beginning of the EXODUS, the DELIVERANCE of the children of Israel (the 12 tribes from Jacob including Levites and Jews, etc.) out from slavery in Egypt. (See Bible Study Guide on The Old Testament Passover)
God instructed the Israelites to kill a lamb without blemish and paint its blood on the doorposts and lintels of their homes as a sign to Him of those who would obey and put their trust in Him (see Ex 16:4). The lambs were then to be roasted and eaten along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. And they were to eat it in haste (fear) with their belts and sandals on and staff in hand ready to depart from Egypt. "It is the Lord's Passover" (Exodus 12:6-11,13).
"For," God said, "I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment" (verse 12).God warned the Pharaoh, king of Egypt, that if he refused to let Israel "My son, My firstborn" go He would slay the firstborn of the Egyptians because of their sin and refusal to let His people go (Exodus 1:9-22; 4:22-23; 11:1,4-10). But God promised the destroyer would PASS OVER His people - those with the sign of the lamb's blood on their doorposts - and He would deliver them out from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 12:7,12-13,17,23,31-33,41-42).
"And this shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance FOREVER" (verse 14).What did all this mean? Many events and terms recorded in the Bible were given as prophetic types to symbolically portray future events or spiritual concepts (Ezekial 4; Matthew 13:10-11; Romans 1:20). The Passover and all of God's feasts were given as types or "a shadow" of future fulfillments to occur in God's plan for man's salvation from sin and death (Col 2:16-17; Heb 10:1). (See Study Guide on The New Testament Passover and God's Holy Day Plan - The Promise of Hope for All Mankind)
In the New Testament, the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread are revealed as the first step toward salvation (deliverance from sin and its consequences) for Christians. This feast reminds us not only of when God delivered ancient Israel out of Egypt, but more importantly, of God today delivering us out of sin.
"For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Romans 6:6 NIV).
The Passover is the first of God's annual feasts ("moed," meaning appointed times) revealing the gospel (good news) of His great master plan of salvation (Ephesians 1:9-13), which Christ and His followers kept (Leviticus 23:5; Luke 22:15-20). Those who keep them will have a good understanding of God's plan and purpose for them (Psalm 111:10). Jesus and His disciples kept it leaving an example for us today (John 13:1-17; 1 Peter 2:21).
During His final Passover, Jesus Christ introduced new Passover symbols, which commemorate Him as "our Passover, who was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). After He had given them the cup of wine and had broken the unleavened bread and given it to His disciples, Jesus said,
"This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me... This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20).
There is nothing mysterious or magical about the unleavened bread and the wine Jesus used. They are not literally transformed into His body and blood as some teach, they are simply symbols to remind us of His example and sacrifice for our sin (John 6:48-69; 1:1-4; Matthew 4:4; Heb 10:3,10). Jesus (who was also called Melchizedek, meaning King of Righteousness, and King of Salem (Peace), in the Old Testament - Hebrews 7:1-3,15-17; John 8:56-58) had given bread and wine to Abraham as a symbol that He was his Deliverer or Savior (Genesis 14:18-20).
The Old Testament Passover foreshadowed Christ's sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 10:1).The New Testament Passover is a memorial (reminder) of that sacrifice, and an annual reminder that, through Christ's sacrifice, we have been set free from slavery to sin and death so we can serve God in righteousness to everlasting life (Romans 6:1-22). As such it is an annual reminder of the new covenant (agreement or commitment) we make with God at baptism (verses 1-6).
But why did Jesus have to suffer and die as a sacrifice for us?
Does God desire or require sacrifices, as the pagans believed their gods demanded of them? His inspired Word (2 Timothy 3:16) makes it clear that God does not desire sacrifices:
"For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you'" (Jeremiah 7:22-23; Psalm 51:16-17).
God initiated sacrifices when man first sinned as a way to teach the consequence of sin, which is death, and the need for a Savior to cover our sin and redeem us from eternal death (Genesis 2:17; 3:15,21; 4:3-4; Galatians 3:19-24; Hebrews 10:1-10). (See "Why Old Testament Sacrifices")
What is sin?
As crime is the violation of man's laws, sin is the violation of God's law of love (1 John 3:4; Romans 13:8-10). Sin causes corruption and death (Romans 6:16; 8:21; Hebrews 2:15). All humans are subject to the bondage caused by sin, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
The law states:
"The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekial 18:4,20).
"In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (of sin)" (Hebrews 9:22 NIV).
"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
What is required to free us from the bondage of sin and death?
The sacrifice of God's first begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17)! WHY?
John the Baptist recognized Jesus as "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). He gave His life blood - blood representing the life of the flesh (Leviticus 17:11).
But why? Why couldn't God just forgive our sins without a sacrifice? Why did Jesus have to suffer and die for our sins?
The truth is - there is no other way possible to save us from the consequences of sin! God is no angry, vengeful tryant who seeks pleasure in punishing sinners - He grieves at man's sin and suffering (Gen 6:6). And Jesus was no masochist. As His ordeal drew near, He became exceedingly sorrowful. He prayed fervently three times to the Father asking,
"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:28-44; John 12:27,32).His disciples slept, not understanding what was about to happen.
Why was it not possible?
God can do all things, but God will not take away our freedom of choice, and God will not compromise His holy law, which is LOVE (Deut 30:15-20; Matthew 5:17-20; 22:36-40; 19:17; Rom 3:31; 13:8-10). Freedom of choice is a requirement for development of character (See "Choices of Life"), and God's laws teach us the difference between good and evil.
God's "law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good" (Rom 7:12).
God's law is perfect (Psalms 19:7). All of God's laws are summed up in the LAW OF LOVE (Gk. "agape"), for "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16). (See "The Greatest Gift...LOVE").
"You shall love the LORD your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:36-40).
Jesus said,"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12) - also called the "Golden Rule."
As Paul, once a self-righteous Pharisee who persecuted the Church of God before his conversion (Acts 9:1-22; 22:1-21; Gal 1:11-24), wrote, "love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10). The ten commandments teach us what love and sin are (Rom 7:7; 1 John 3:4) and what we are doing or not doing that is not loving God and our neighbor. They would, if kept, produce and maintain a peaceful, happy, abundant and joyful life for all (Deuteronomy 4:1-8; 6:1-2; 28:1-14; John 10:10; Galations 3:21). Tragically, no human has kept God's law perfectly - all have sinned (See "Mankinds Greatest Experiment"), that is except for Jesus Christ (Rom 3:23; Heb 4:15).
The Bible likens sin to leaven - if sin is not disposed of, it puffs up and spreads and eventually corrupts everything (1 Corinthians 5:6; 8:1; 15:42,50). Jesus likened the teachings and hypocrisy of the religious and political leaders (Herod) to leaven (Matthew 16:5-12; 23:28; Mk 8:15). Removing leaven from our houses for 7 days reminds us of the need to look for and remove sin from our lives.
The whole world suffers under the curse of sin (Galations 3:10). Wars, famine, disease, oppression, crime, poverty, family problems, emotional disturbances and every type of evil results from sin (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68).
The ultimate result of sin is death, and if not repented of, the second death in the lake of fire, not eternal life in an ever-burning hell as many have been deceived into believing (Gen 2:17; 3:1-6; Revelation 20:10,14-15; 12:9 - see Heaven and Hell...).
"For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).God in His love warned the first man, Adam, that eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (deciding for themselves what is good and evil) would surely cause them to die (Genesis 2:17). Sin - breaking God's law - causes the death of the sinner. "The soul who sins shall die" (Ezekial 18:4,20). Adam and Eve sinned and their sin spread to all mankind.
"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Romans 5:12 NIV).
Because of the consequences of sin, God will not compromise His perfect law (Romans 3:31; 7:12)! No, not even one jot or tittle (Matthew. 5:18). Suppose God failed to uphold just one physical law, the law of gravity, for only an instant - the whole universe would be in total chaos as a result.
Sin, the compromising of God's spiritual law, cut man off from the tree of life and God, and brought spiritual blindness and death (Gen 2:9,16-17; 3:22-24; Isa 59:2; 1 Cor 2:6-14; 2 Cor 4:3-4). Man's sin corrupted all the earth and society from Adam to Moses' time and because mankind other than a few such as Noah and Abraham would not repent and turn back to God, God allowed the world of Noah's society to be destroyed with a flood (Genesis 6:5,11-13; Mat 24:37-39; Rom 5:14). Today, man's sin is again corrupting the earth and this world's society - which, with its weapons of mass destruction, is again on the verge of totally destroying itself (Matthew 24:22,37-39). God's holy law defines the cause of the problems - SIN - which is the transgression of the God's righteous law (Psa 119:151,172; Romans 7:7,12; 1 John 3:4).
The curse of sin is death, "...sin entered the world, and death by sin..." (Rom 5:12). Why is that so hard to understand (See "Mankinds Greatest Experiment")? God is not the author of confusion, chaos or disorder, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). "Do not be deceived!" No one shall receive eternal life and enter into the Kingdom of God who will compromise God's spiritual law of love (Genesis 3:22-24; Galations 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Revelation 22:14-15).
The fact that God sent His own Son to die on account of our sins, shows that God will not condone sin, but condemns sin in the flesh (Rom 8:3-4). God allowed the Passion (suffering and crucifixion) of the Christ (the Messiah) to vividly demonstrate the curse (the agony, pain, suffering and death) caused by our sins, and God's judgment on sin - so that we would repent, turn away from sin to God.
"For He (God) made Him (the Christ) who (like a lamb) knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God [through] Him" (2 Cor 5:21).
"For what the law could not do in that it was powerless because of the flesh (the law could not force us to understand, get the point or obey), God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and [pretaining to] sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom 8:3-4)
Do we get the point?
"Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor theives, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.
"And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor 6:9-11).
Back to our questions, "Why did God allow Jesus to be put to death?" Why was Christ's sacrifice necessary?
The truth is that the only way God could redeem humanity - any of us! - from the death penalty without compromising His perfect law was for our penalty to be paid.
"...the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness (of sin)" (Hebrews 9:22 NIV).
But who could pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind?
The Scriptures reveal,
"No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on forever and not see decay" (Psalm 49:7-9 NIV).Why? Because:
"As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no not one... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10,12,23).
No human can give his life to pay for the sins of another because none has been without sin. Their life can only pay for their own sins.
"For he who has died has been freed from sin" (Rom 6:7).When we die we pay the penalty for our own sins, but we are dead and without hope of ever living again (Eccl 9:3-6; 1 Thes 4:13; Eph 2:12).
Our sins had separated us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and God hears not sinners (Psa 66:18; John 9:31). Through sin we were hostile to God and His ways (Romans 3:10-12; 8:7). As sinners we were "under the law," the "law of sin," which is the death penalty for breaking God's law of love (Rom 6:14-15,23; 7:23; 8:1-2; Gal 3:21-25; 4:4-5; 5:18):
"For the wages of sin is death, BUT (Hear This!) the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 3:9,19-20; 6:23).
But now notice what the word of God says:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).Jesus Christ's sacrifice makes possible our reconciliation to God to set us on the road to eternal life.
"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us... when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son... through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Romans 5:8, 10-11).Therefore we now have hope in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was without sin (Heb 4:15; 1 Pet 2:22), because He died to pay our penalty to ransome us from our sins. Only God is perfect (Matthew 5:48) - so only God could redeem mankind from sin!
We can therefore now be justified (made right) by His grace (favor) because Jesus paid the death penalty for our sins in our stead, for,
"God has PASSED OVER the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate...His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom 3:24-26).But how does His Grace justify us "that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled [by] us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom 8:4)? This will be covered in the section on "What is required of us?" But first we need to understand...
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8:1-2).
More than 3,500 years ago, Job said, "I know that my Redeemer lives" (Job 19:25). But who is this Redeemer we call Jesus (from "Yahoshua" - Hebrew name meaning "Eternal the Savior") Christ, the Lord?
The Holy Scriptures reveal,
"that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead... Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:10,12).No, there is no salvation or redemption from sin and death through Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, the Pope, Muhammad, Budda or any other name! No man, other than Jesus Christ, has come down from heaven and given their life for our sins, and ascended into heaven (John 3:13; Acts 2:34). All others have been sinners and are still in their graves until the first or second resurrection (John 5:28-29; Acts 2:29; Rev 20:5-6,11-13).
The Redeemer of mankind has been a great mystery to this world (see The Mystery of Jesus Christ. Listen to this! Paul wrote of
"...the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:9).
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).
David, king of Israel, called this LORD (from the Hebrew "YHVH," "Yahveh," or "Jehovah," meaning Eternal or Everlasting),
"O Lord ("YHVH" - Eternal), my strength and Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).Isaiah was inspired to write:
"...they remembered that God was their Rock (see 1 Corinthians 10:4), and the Most High God their Redeemer" (Psalm 78:35).
"'I will help you,' says the LORD and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel" (Isaiah 41:14; 43:14).
Our Redeemer is "That Prophet," the Messiah, whom Moses and the prophets prophesied was to come (Deuteronomy 18:15,18-19; Isaiah 59:20; Daniel 9:25-26; John 4:25; 6:14; Acts 3:18-26).
The name "Jesus," the Savior (Matthew 1:21), is a translation from the Old Testament "Yehoshua" (also translated as 'Joshua' in English) meaning "Yehovah (the Eternal) saves." Jesus Christ is "the LORD who heals you" (Exodus 15:26; Isa 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24). He is the same LORD ("Jehovah," the Eternal) who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and the One who became "our Passover" who was sacrificed for us (Exodus 18:8-9; 1 Cor 5:7; 10:4).
"Christ" means "Messiah" or "Anointed One." Kings and priests were anointed with holy oil, representing the Holy Spirit - the POWER of GOD (Exodus 29:7-9; 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 89:20; Acts 10:38; 1 Cor 2:4-5). God anointed
"Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power" and He "went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him" (Luke 3:22; Acts 10:38).As "The Christ" (Messiah or Anointed One), He is our High Priest who makes intercession for us with God the Father (Heb 7:25):
"Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Anointed One (the Christ or Messiah), will return to this earth as the Anointed "Lord of lords and King of kings," to rule over all nations (Revelation 11:15; 17:14; 19:16).
"For we do not have a High Prist who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb 4:14-16).
Jesus Christ was the WORD ("Logos," Spokesman) of the God (Heb. "Elohim," and Gk. "Theos," collective plural nouns meaning Almighty Ones - a Family) Family to man.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men...Jesus was the Spokesman ("Logos") of the God ("Elohim") Family to Israel (Isaiah 44:6-8, 24) (See "Who is Jesus Christ?" and also Jesus Christ: The Real Story). He was the One who, with God the Father, created the heavens and the earth and "formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Genesis 1:1,26-27; 2:7; Colossians 1:12-18).
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory [("hos") which ("monogenes") only generates ("pasa") from] the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1-3,14).
This same LORD, who was the Lord God of Israel, is the One,
"who being in the form of God," gave up His divine rights, and power and glory and "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men... (born of a virgin and became the Son of man and the first begotten Son of God the Father - Luke 1:26-35; Hebrews 1:5-6) He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil 2:6-8) to become our Redeemer (Titus 2:14).
The great works, miracles and healings that Jesus did were a testimony that He was the Son of God and the Messiah (John 3:1-2; 5:18-39; 14:8-11; Matthew 27:50-54). He came to reveal God the Father, and the Father's LOVE that He sent through Jesus to save us (Matthew 11:27; John 3:16-17).
Before His death Jesus said to His disciples,
"I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world. Again, I leave the world, and go to the Father" (John 16:28).
Then He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may glorify You...that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent... And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was" (John 17:1-5).
Jesus Christ became "our Passover [who] was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor 5:7). And when He was resurrected, He ascended into heaven to the throne of God the Father as our High Priest to present His blood as the sin offering to obtain eternal redemption for us, and as the wave sheaf offering, representing the first of the firstfruits (Lev 23:10; 1 Cor 15:20; Heb 9:11-14,24-28) of God's spiritual harvest (see "The Mystery of Pentecost...").
We can now be "justified freely by His grace (favor)" because Jesus, our Lord, paid the death penalty for our sins with His blood in our stead and
"God has passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate...His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
Though we have earned "the wages of sin" which is death, we can now receive "the gift of God," to become sons of God with eternal life in the Family of God "through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23; John 1:12; Ephesians 3:14-19; Hebrews 2:3-18 KJV). The apostle Paul, inspired by this revelation from God, wrote,
"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
"from whom the whole FAMILY in heaven and earth is named..." (Eph 3:14-15).
How great and Loving and merciful is our God and our Lord Jesus Christ!
The Passover pictures the death of Jesus Christ for our sins. God had to intervene and take the first step to redeem us from the wages of our sin. Jesus took our place, suffered the humility, shame and torture of the cross in our stead to pay the penalty for our sins by His crucifixion (Heb 12:2).
You believe that Jesus died for your sins, but what else is required for salvation? What must we now do to receive God's promise, the gift of eternal life? The apostle Peter, after receiving the Holy Spirit, said to the multitudes in Jerusalem who witnessed the miracles on the Day of Pentecost,
"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'
"Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
"For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call" (Acts 2:36-39).
The apostle Paul said to the Gentiles in Athens,
"Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising.That Man Jesus had said to His disciples,
"Truly, these times of ignorance God [looked beyond], but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
"because He has appointed a day (time) in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained; and has given assurance of this to all, having raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:29-30).
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father..." (Mat 10:32-33). (See "Are You Neglecting Salvation?")
"Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
"For whoever desires to save his life ("psuche") will lose it, but whoever loses his life ("psuche") for My sake and the gospel's will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (life - "psuche,")?
"... Whoever therefore is ashamed of Me and My words [among the] adulterous and [the] sinful, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mk 8:34-36,38).
Now we must take the second step toward salvation by coming out of sin as pictured by the Days of Unleavened Bread - just as the Israelites after the Passover had to begin their exodus from Egypt!
The Days of Unleavened Bread picture repentance - coming out of sin, giving up our former way of life and turning to God - just as the children of Israel left their former life of bondage in Egypt to follow God to the promised land.
While Israel was in Egypt they were Pharaoh's slaves, helpless and powerless under his taskmasters - just as a sinner is in the power of sin (Rom 7:14-24; James 1:14-15; 1 John 2:16) and the devil (Ephesians 2:2-3). But when the Israelites put the blood of the lamb on their door posts as commanded (Ex 12:7,13,22-23), then God acted to protect them from the plague of death and freed them from captivity of the Pharaoh and his army.
Beginning in the evening of the first Day of Unleavened Bread they ate the Passover lamb and unleavened bread, which foretold of Jesus Christ's sacrifice for our sins, and Him as the Bread of life, which is the living Word of God. Jesus said:
"Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.The command is to eat unleavened bread for 7 days:
"For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world...
"I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst" (John 6:32-35).
"Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel" (Ex 12:15).
What does that mean today for Christians?During the Days of Unleavened Bread Christians are to eat "the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:8), representing the Word of God. "[God's] Word is Truth" (John 17:17). God's Word teaches us His Law, which is God's standard of righteousness, holiness and truth (Psa 19:7-9; 119:142,151,160,172; John 17:17; Rom 7:12). Only by knowing the law can we know what is sin, and then begin to repent. The apostle Paul, who had been a Pharisee of the law before his conversion (Gal 1:13-16; Phil 3:4-7), wrote:
"What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, 'You shall not covet" (Rom 7:7).
But aren't we saved now by just believing in Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and accepting Christ as our Savior? (see The Mystery of Salvation? Why is it needed? Let's see what the Word of God says.
Notice what Romans 5:10 says,
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we SHALL BE SAVED by His life."
Jesus' sacrifice, paying the penalty for our sins, made it possible for us to be reconciled (restore a relationship) to God, but how then are we being saved?Acts 2:38 shows our part to begin the process:
"Repent (Gk. "metanoeo," meaning change your mind or thinking - especially toward God and turning back to Him) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Moses said to the Israelites,
"...when all these things come upon you, the blessing and curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among ther nations where the Lord your God drives you, and you return to the Lord ("YHVH" Eternal) your God and obey His voice... that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you... And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today. The Lord will make you abound in all the work of your hand... For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers. If..." (Deuteronomy 30:1-3,8-10).
Jesus sacrifice does not automatically give us salvation and eternal life. He came also to show us the way, how to receive eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).And Peter wrote,
For even hereunto were you called: because CHRIST also suffered for us, leaving us AN EXAMPLE, that you should follow His steps:
"Who committed no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth,
"Who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
"Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live unto righteousness..." (1 Peter 2:21-24).
We must now "live unto righteousness." Paul asks,
"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?The apostle John adds,
"And for this cause He is the mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:14-15).
"And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure" (1 John 3:3).
"While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). However, His sacrifice does not redeem us from the death penalty until we have repented of breaking God's law, turned from sin and have accepted and follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master.
Jesus Christ is the door (with His blood on the doorposts) releasing us from captivity to sin and reconciling us to God (John 10:7,9; Rom 5:10; 7:23). When we REPENT (give up our old way of life), and are baptized (Acts 2:38; Rom 6:3-6), and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, Master and Savior, His blood (giving up of His life) is accepted by God in place of ours as the ransom or payment to redeem us from our bondage to sin and death (Mat 20:28; Rom 5:8-11; Heb 9:12,24-26,28). God then acts to protect us from the death penalty and frees us from the power of the devil.
Now therefore notice Romans 8:1:
"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh (the lusts of the flesh and pride of life - Gal 5:17,19-21; 1 John 2:16), but according to the Spirit."
But the Israelites did not get far before Pharaoh and his army pursued after them (Exodus 14:5-7). As soon as they saw this great army pursuing them, they lost their courage, became fearful and began to grumble and complain, some even wanting to go back into bondage of slavery and serve the Egyptians again (verse 8-12). They saw it was impossible to get away from Pharaoh and his army, because he was too powerful for them. They were trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army. They were helpless.
So it is with us. The devil and the temptation to sin immediately pursue after the newly begotten son of God - and soon the new and inexperienced Christian becomes discouraged and is tempted to give up and quit and return to their former life of slavery to sin (Mathew 13:18-23; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
Salvation is only through Jesus Christ! The Passover teaches us to trust (have FAITH) in Jesus Christ as our LORD and SAVIOR who delivers us from bondage and death caused by sin. Notice what God said through Moses to the Israelites trapped by the Red Sea as the Egyptian army was about to destroy them:
"Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. "The Lord will fight for you, and you shall have peace" (Ex 14:13-14).The Passover is the beginning of our salvation because it leads us to have faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior who paid the penalty for our sin to reconcile us to God (Gal 3:24; Heb 10:1-10). When Jesus
"Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Cor 5:7), He became our LORD and SAVIOR, "the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Heb 5:9).
"Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
God protected the children of Israel from Pharaoh's army with a pillar of cloud and fire, then, when they were trapped between Pharoah's army and the Red Sea, God performed another miracle... He divided the Red Sea and lead them across to deliver them from the Egyptians (Exodus 14:19-31). They were baptized in the Red Sea (1 Cor 10:4; Heb 6:1-2) and finally delivered completely out of Egypt, representing being washed from their sin and freed from Satan's hold on them.
We are helpless to conquer Satan and overcome sin by our own power. We cannot keep God's law on our own power and strength. But through Christ's power in us we can! When we repent (turn from Satan's ways to God) and are baptized, immersed under the water, into Christ's death (Romans 6:3-7), He cleanses us - sanctifies us - delivers us - "with the washing of water by the word (God's teaching)" (Eph 5:26) from our sins and the power of Satan!
Baptism pictures burial of the old self.
"...Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?...
"Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
"For he who has died has been freed from sin.
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him" (Romans 6:3,6-8).
But we are still mortal - corruptible. We cannot live God's way of perfect love in obedience to His commands by our own power and strength, just as the Israelites and even the apostle Paul were unable to do so (Rom 7:15-19,24-25; 1 Corinthians 10:4-13). But through Christ's power, the Holy Spirit in us, we can! We must now trust God and His Word to lead and direct our lives (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Our sins separated us from God (Isa 59:2), they earned us the penalty of death (Rom 6:23; Eze 18:4,20). But Jesus Christ bought and paid for us with His life as a ransom to redeem our life so that we now belong to God.
"Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, which is in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor 6:19-20).
We should no longer seek to go our own way, but are now lead by the Spirit of God, "[which] God has given to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32; Psalm 119:105; Matthew 4:4; Romans 8:2-16; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16). And we begin building our relationship with God and Christ through prayer, study and obeying God's word (Ephesians 5:10; 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:15). We then must present ourselves as a "living sacrifice" to God.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable ("logikos," based on reasoning from God's word - Isa 1:18-20) service.
"And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom 12:1-2).
When we embark upon this new way of life, having repented and being "reconciled to God by the death of His Son," and we begin following Christ's example as revealed in the Bible (1 Peter 2:21), THEN,
"we SHALL BE SAVED by His life" working in us through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:10; 8:5,9-10; Galations 2:20).
As long as we are in this flesh, we are subject to weaknesses and temptations of the flesh (Romans 7:14-25; 1 Cor 15:42-44,48-49). The apostle James, brother of Jesus, wrote:
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been proved (tested), he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.The apostle Paul makes it clear that,
"Let no man say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.
"But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
"Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:12-15).
"...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption" (1 Corinthians 15:50).
Therefore, "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
Now our hope is in a resurrection (Acts 23:6). There would be no judgment after death if there was no resurrection. And there would be no resurrection of the dead if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had not redeemed man from sin by His own death. But then God raised Jesus from the dead exactly three days and three nights (not Good Friday to Easter Sunday as many assume - see "The Good Friday - Easter Sunday DILEMMA") after His crucifixion (Matthew 12:38-40), to become our living Savior, and our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-15) who makes intercession for us.
"But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (died).Have you ever wished that you could live life over again? Well the good news (gospel) is that because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for the sins of mankind, all who ever lived will have a second chance at life and salvation in a resurrection.
"For since by man came death, by Man [Christ] came also the resurrection of the dead.
"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
"But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming" (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Christ our Savior is alive! God raised Him up,
"and declared [Him] to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4);
"having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it" (Luke 24:5-7; Acts 1:1-9; 2:24).
"Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28; Romans 6:8-10).
Now we must overcome sin (Romans 12:21; Revelation 21:7) by allowing God to write His laws, His love (Romans 13:8-10), in our hearts (conscience, emotions and feelings) and minds (intellect and understanding) (Hebrews 10:16). Our minds must become transformed,
"Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).We must take on the very nature and character of God (Phil 2:5,13), for God says,
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
"...be holy, for I am holy" (Lev 11:44-45).
Jesus Christ said, "Become you therefore perfect, even as your Father, who is in heaven, is perfect" (Mat 5:48).
God's holy character is love, for "God is love" (1 John 4:8,16 - (See The Greatest Gift...Love) .
With the help of God's Spirit we can obey God's law, submitting to Him, and overcome sin. We do this by looking into the "perfect law of liberty," as a mirror to see our defects and to correct us (James 1:22-25; Romans 3:20; 7:7-12; Hebrews 4:12-13). His commandments teach us how to fulfill the law of love (Mat 7:12; Rom 13:8-10; 1 Cor 13:4-8; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Sin comes from the lusts (desires) of the flesh and vanity (ego-pride) of the mind (Mk 7:20-23; Rom 7:18-19; Gal 5:16-21; James 1:14-15). "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Therefore we must "submit to God," and, "Resist the (temptations of) the devil..." And "humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up" (James 4:6-10). Sin will no longer have control over us because through Jesus Christ we can go
"boldly to the throne of grace, [to] obtain mercy and find grace (favor) to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).Jesus, as our High Priest and intercessor with God, understands our weaknesses because He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. We through Him now become servants of God rather than the servants of sin (Romans 6:12-16).
It is by keeping the Passover and all His Feasts that God reveals His great mercy and plan of deliverance and salvation to us so that we can understand.
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! ...the world does not know us [because] it did not know Him.
"...but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him... Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1 John 3:1,3 NIV). (See "Hope of the Resurrection")
The Scriptures make it clear that Jesus Christ and His disciples observed the Passover, setting an example for us to follow (Matthew 26:2,17-19; Luke 2:41-42; 22:1,7-20; John 2:12,23; 13:1-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 John 2:3-6) (see "Combined Narrative of Jesus' Last Passover..." and "The Good Friday - Easter Sunday DILEMMA"). His words and actions at His last Passover teach us profound lessons about our relationships with God and fellow humans:
"Then came the day of the unleavening, when the Passover must be killed" (Luke 22:7).
The Passover was commanded to be killed on the 14th of the first month (Abib/Nisan), commonly called the preparation day (John 19:14, 31) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 12:15; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7), sometime "between the two evenings" (a 24 hour period from sunset to sunset - Lev 23:5,32).
"Your lamb shall be without blemish... you shall keep it up until the fourteenth... and... shall kill it in ("beeyn" meaning between) the evenings ("arbaayim" meaning two evenings)" (Ex 12:5-6).
"You may not sacrifice the Passover within your doors which the Lord your God gives you;
"But at the place which the Lord your God chooses to place His name, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at (or toward) even ("ereb," evening), at (or toward) the going down of the sun, at the appointed time you came out of Egypt" (Deut 16:5-6).
Jesus and His disciples assembled in the evening at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan in a large upper room for the Passover. Jesus was about to establish a new observance, as a memorial (Ex 12:14; Lk 22:19) for the Passover, before He offered Himself as the Passover sacrifice in place of the traditional lamb - once for all time - thereby bringing an end for the need and purpose for animal sacrifices (Gal 3:19,24-25; Hebrews 9:11-14; 10:1-14 - see Why Old Testament Sacrifices?).
They ate supper together that evening after sunset beginning the 14th (Luke 22:7,14-15; John 13:1-2). A new day, as revealed in the Bible, begins at sunset (Genesis 1:5), not at midnight. But notice, this was BEFORE the "traditional" Passover meal eaten by the Jews (John 13:1; 18:28), which is eaten on the following evening after the lambs were traditionally killed and prepared on the afternoon of the 14th. Exodus 12:11-12 makes it clear:
"And thus shall you eat it...so shall you eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on THAT night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt..."Then that evening after the lambs were killed began the 15th, the "night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt"(Ex 12:42), which began the first holy day - the first day beginning the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called the "Feast of the Passover", and their exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:11-14,16-20,41-42; Lk 22:1 - see Old Testament Passover and Combined Narrative of Jesus' Last Passover).
A seeming contradiction between John's account and the other gospel accounts has caused confusion of when Jesus kept the memorial of the Passover with His disciples. The confusion is because there is a difference of when Jesus instituted the New Testament (Covenant) Passover observance at the beginning of the 14th and the time that the lambs were killed on the afternoon of the 14th and the traditional Passover was eaten by the Jews at the beginning of the 15th. John's account written about 60 years later clarifies the issue showing the difference is real, as the Messiah whom the Jews rejected (John 1:11) would fulfill the Passover to put an end for the need and purpose for the animal sacrifices (1 Cor 5:7). Adding to the confusion is a contectual mistranslation of the Greek word "protos." Matthew and Mark's account say,
"Now the first ("protos," meaning before, beginning, best, chief, first, former) day (added by translators) of the (feast of) unleavened bread (better translated: "Now before the feast of Unleavened Bread) the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, 'Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" (Mat 26:17; Mk 14:12).When correctly translated "Now before ("protos") the feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus...", it is then consistant with John's account in John 18:28; 19:14 and 13:1-4 - "Now before ("pro," meaning before) the feast ("heorte," feast, holy day - the Holy Day begins the first evening of the 15th of Nisan - Lk 22:1) of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come to depart from this world unto the Father... He rose from the supper..." (John 13:1-4).
An historic account by Josephus (written in the first century) also makes it clear that the traditional time the Jews killed the Passover lambs was on the afternoon of the 14th.
"So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour (3 PM) till the eleventh (5 PM)..." (Wars of the Jews, Book 6, Ch. 9, sec. 3)
Notice also that the Passover that Jesus and His disciples ate was NOT the "Lord's Supper," as many infer. Notice Paul's statement:
"When you come together therefore into one place, this is NOT to eat the Lord's supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20).This Passover service was a separate event from supper itself (John 13:2).
"With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for...I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled ("pleroo" meaning to complete, end, verify, preach or fully explain) in the Kingdom of God" (Luke 22:15,20). (Note: Jesus could not eat the Passover with His disciples after He died - hence the need to institute the memorial of the New Testament (covenant) Passover service on the beginning of the 14th, which is within the 24 hours ("beeyn arbaayim" meaning between the two evenings - Ex 12:5-6), rather then the next afternoon when the lambs were traditionally killed, and when He was crucified, thus both times on the 14th conformed to the letter of the law.)
To begin the Passover service Jesus assumed the role of a common servant and demonstrated the attitude of humility and service as an example to His followers.
"And supper having come ("ginomai," to become, come into being, be brought...)... [Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments; and took a towel... and began to wash the disciples feet, and to wipe them with the towel" (John 13:2,4-9).But Peter resisted, saying to Him,
"You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." With that Peter repented of his attitude saying, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"
After this He commanded them saying,
"If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you... If you know these things, happy are you if you do them" (John 13:14-15,17).
In later years, after Peter fully realized the example Jesus taught, he wrote,
"For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21).
After washing the disciples feet,
"And as they were eating, Jesus took [unleavened] bread (Ex 12:8; 34:25; Lev 2:11), and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to His disciples, and said,
"Take, eat; this is [represents] My body which is broken for you; DO this in REMEMBRANCE of Me.
"In the same manner He also took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For [this cup] is My blood of the NEW COVENANT, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ...I will not drink of this fruit of the vine again until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom...
"This DO, [whosoever] drinks it, in REMEMBRANCE of Me.' For [as many as] eat this bread and drink this cup (they) proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (Mat 26:26-29; Mk 14:22-25; Lk 22:16-20; John 6:35,48-58; 1 Cor. 2:1-2; 11:24-26).
[Note: Jesus' agony and suffering began soon after that Passover service and continued through that night and the next day as His persecuters accused and tortured Him and murdered Him on the stake. Our partaking of the unleavened bread and the wine are a reminder that our sins caused His suffering and death, and also that His suffering and death was to pay the penalty for our sins to reconcile us (restore our relationship) to God.]
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make ("karath" means to cut off, withdraw, or to execommunicate) a NEW ("chadash" means and to renew, rebuild, or new) COVENANT with the house of Israel and the house of Judah -
"not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke..." (Jer 31:31-32; Heb 7:5,11-22; 8:6-13).
What was wrong with the first covenant that a renewed or better covenant was needed?
The old (first) covenant with Israel, "which they broke," was a physical covenant according to a promise made to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-9; 18:18-19; 22:15-17; 26:1-5), which included becoming a great nation with blessings for obedience to God and curses for disobedience (Lev 26; Deut 28).
When Moses read the Book of the Covenant to the people, they said, "All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient," and it was ratified with the "Blood of the Covenant" (Ex 24:7-8; Heb 9:18-22). Later laws concerning sacrifices were added because of their transgressions (Jer 7:21-24; Gal 3:19; Heb 10:1-4).
The apostle Paul explains that the problem was not with the law, but with the people. They didn't (couldn't - Rom 8:6-8) keep it.
"For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place should have been sought for a second. But finding fault with them (the people and the priesthood), He (God) says: 'Behold, the days are coming...when I will make a new ("kainos" meaning to renew qualitatively - make better) covenant...because they did not continue in My covenant, and I [disregarded] them..." (Heb 8:6-9).
That first covenant did not include the spiritual promises made to Abraham, which were yet to come through his Seed (Gal 3:16-18) Jesus Christ, which include the payment and removal of sins, access to the tree of life, and the gift of the Holy Spirit with the promise of salvation and eternal life (Genesis 3:22-24; Acts 2:16-18,21,33,38-39; 3:18-26; 4:12; 7:37-39,51-53; Romans 3:23-26; 5:8-21; 6:23; 8:1-2,11,14,16-17; 2 Corinthians 3:6-18; Galatians 3:19-29; Ephesians 1:13; 2:18; 4:7,20-24,30,32).
The original (first) covenant with Israel with the priesthood and added sacrifices could not take away their sins (Hebrews 10:1-4), therefore a better or renewed covenant was necessary to make intercession for our sins so we could be forgiven and reconciled to God (verses 5-18). The purpose of the sacrifices and laws that were "added because of transgressions," was as
"our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith (to believe and obey the truth)" (Galatians 3:19-24).
"For if the blood of bulls and goats...sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:13-14).
"For He (Jesus) was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken...He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:8-9,12).
Jesus Christ's life, crucifixion and death fulfilled the purpose of the sacrifices (Mat 5:17). The NEW COVENANT brought an end to the Old Testament priesthood covenant with ordinances of divine services of the earthly sanctuary and sacrifices (Ex 19:5-6; Heb 7:11-27; 8:6-13; 9:1-11).
"For the law, [considered] a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those same sacrifices, which they offered year by year continually, perfect those who [worship]. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshippers, once purged, would have had no more conscience of sins."Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. (Heb 10:5,9-10,12,14-18).
"But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Heb 10:1-4).
"But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is not of this creation.
"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption...
"And for this reason He is the Mediator of the NEW (renewed or better) COVENANT, by means of (His) death, for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb 9:11-12,15).
"Therefore, when He came into the world, He said...
"'Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.' He takes away the first (priesthood covenant and sacrifices - Ex 19:5-6; Heb 7:11-27; 8:6) that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
"...this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God...
"For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
"And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for [in their midst] He had [foretold]:"This is the COVENANT that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people... For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"(Jer 31:33-34).
How does God put His laws in our minds and write them on our hearts?
It is through the power of the gift of the Holy Spirit together with our own choice and efforts as we pray for God's guidance and help, and study and obey God's word!
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
"And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires" (Gal 5:22-24).
Why did Jesus use the symbols of the unleavened bread and the cup of wine to replace the sacrificial lamb and its blood for the Passover? What special meaning do they represent?
Jesus Christ, who was Melchezedek (meaning King of Righteousness, the King of Salem, meaning peace - Heb 7:1-17), "priest of God Most High" met Abraham and "brought out bread and wine," very probably at the same time Passover would be instituted, and blessed him and said,
"Blessed be Abraham of God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth; "And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand" (Gen 14:18-20).
Unleavened bread was part of the daily sacrifices offered morning and evening, which included the burnt offering, the meat (meal, grain or bread) offering and the drink offering (Ex 29:38-42). They were all prophetic of Him - what He had to fulfill.
The burnt offering is a voluntary offering representing what is required to please God - loving God with all one's heart, mind, soul and might (Lev 1; Deut 6:5; Mat 22:37), which Jesus did without sin to be acceptable to God.
The bread offering, which was an offering of unleavened bread (Ex 34:25; Lev 2:11), represented what was required to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Lev 2; 19:18; Mat 22:39). This Jesus did by coming as the "Bread of life" (John 6:35,48) to feed man the word of life, teaching and serving us as a living example of God's love:
"For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as One who serves" (Lk 22:27).
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Jesus said to the multitude who followed Him to Capernaum after the miracle of feeding about 5,000 on a mountain near the Sea of Galilee (John 6:1-25),
"Do not labor for the bread which perishes, but for the bread which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God has set His seal on Him...
"For the bread of God is He who came down from heaven and gives life to the world...
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which came down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
"I am the living bread... If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world" (John 6:27,33,48-51).
What did He mean by that? Many of His disciples did not understand and were offended and "went back and walked with Him no more" (John 6:66). Symbolically, bread is used to represent the Word of God. Jesus asked the twelve,
"Do you also want to go away? Then Peter answered Him, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life"We are to eat of God's Word. "[God's] Word is Truth" (John 17:17). Jesus is that bread, the living Word of God - the Truth. His life, as recorded in the Scriptures, is our instruction and example - our spiritual food.
"Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God" (John 6:67-69).
The Scriptures explain that, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Deut 8:3; Mat 4:4).
"Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
"For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.
"He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him...
"It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:54-56,63).
"Therefore," Paul writes, "let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:8).
The drink offering of wine represented the blood - the life of the flesh - the "blood of the new covenant, which (He) shed for many for the remission of sins" (Lev 17:11; Mat 26:27-28). Jesus gave His blood (His life) also fulfilling the sin offering, which represents the price required (His blood) to atone for our sins (Rom 5:8-11; Heb 9:12,14,22,26).
"For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for your soul" (Lev 17:11).The wine that we partake of at Passover, to remember Jesus' blood shed for us, also reminds us that we must also give up our old sinful way of life and now allow Jesus to live His life in us, as Paul wrote:
And "Christ came... not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Heb 9:11-12).
"...do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?And Jesus is also our peace offering.
"Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life...
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him...
"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God" (Rom 6:3-48-10).
"For I through the law died by the law that I might live to God.
"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal 2:19-20).
"For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell,To accept the terms of the new covenant, we must now allow God to fulfill His purpose in us as He said:
"and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made PEACE through the blood of His cross.
"And you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and irreproachable in His sight - if indeed you continue in the faith..." (Col 1:19-23).
For "Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us... when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son..." (Rom 5:6-10).
"I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God and they shall be My people... For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more" (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-12; 10:16-17).
For God to put His law of love (Matthew 22:36-40) in our mind and heart we must study (2 Tim 2:15) and come to love His word, which is truth (John 17:17), proving all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21). And we must become compassionate of others having patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. (Matthew 25:34-40; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7). We must become converted both intellectually and emotionally, following Christ's example (1 Pet 2:21-25) and growing in wisdom and compassion and "in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18).
The disciples, being as yet unconverted (not having the Holy Spirit) apparently did not understand the significance of what Jesus was teaching them or the trial He was about to suffer until later (Mat 26:40-45; John 13:7,19; 16:17-18). Still expecting Jesus to overthrow the Romans and restore Israel to its former greatness then (Acts 1:6), they got into a dispute over which of them should be considered the greatest (Luke 22:24), even as many religious and political leaders, seeking preeminence do today (Acts 20:30; 3 John 9).
Jesus, knowing their human weaknesses, taught and encouraged them (see John chapters 13 - 16), so that when these shocking events happened, they would understand and believe (John 16:1-7,17-22). Because of their rivalry over "which of them should be considered the greatest," (Lk 22:24) He admonished them saying,
"The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves" (Luke 22:24-27).
"A new command I give you: Love one another; as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13: 34-35 NIV).And He instructed them and prayed for them that God would keep them in unity (John 14; 15; 16; 17:6-23).
Afterward they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives to a place called Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30,36), where Jesus prayed fervently to God the Father before He was taken to suffer and die for our sins (Matthew 26:38-44).
The Bible makes it clear that all who will follow Christ must repent and be baptized (Mark 1:15; 16:16) and annually observe the New [Covenant] Passover in remembrance of His love and sacrifice for our sins and as a reminder of our commitment to Him for what God has done to redeem our lives (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Luke 22:19; John 3:16; 14:21-24).
We are also instructed to avoid taking the Passover in an "unworthy" manner, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
"For [as many as] eat this bread and drink this cup, proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. [the Bible does not give justification for taking the Passover symbols of unleavened bread and wine more than once a year at the commanded time of the Passover. God's Word condemns men for making their own rules or traditions for worshipping God (Deut 4:2; Matthew 15:7-9; Revelation 22:18-19)] Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty ("enochos," be held libel for) of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:26-27).
Many reading this scripture have not fully comprehended the real significance of Paul's warning. Some, feeling they were not worthy of Christ's sacrifice, have not taken the Passover. And some have taken the Passover in a casual, ritualistic or even superstitious manner.
Repentance (spiritual circumcision of the heart), baptism and an understanding of its meaning are requirements to take the New Testament Passover, though physical circumcision of the flesh is not (Acts 2:38; 15:5-10; Romans 6:3-6; 2:25-29; Exodus 12:43-45,47-49; Galatians 3:26-29; 5:1-6). For
"...circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but of God" (Rom 2:29; Deut 30:6).
"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism..." (Colossians 2:11-12).
We are to take the Passover in a worthy manner, but what exactly does that mean?
The Passover is not to be taken lightly as Paul warned,
"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup" (1 Corinthians 11:28).
Christians are obligated to keep the Passover, but we are instructed to examine ourselves beforehand!
Do we follow Christ's instructions and example? If we do not examine and judge ourselves, God will judge and chasten us (1 Cor 11:31-32; Heb 12:5-11). In a later letter, Paul wrote:
"Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know you not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except you be reprobates" (2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV).
What should our attitude be toward the world, toward God and His laws and toward others? Do we love God's law as did David, a man after God's own heart (Psalm 119:97; Acts 13:22)? Or, do we love the world or the things of the world?
"If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).
As long as we live in this present evil world, which is under Satan's influence (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:1-3), we will be tempted to break God's law. We are tempted through our own desires (Mark 7:20-23; James 1:14) to cheat, to covet, to lie, to boast, to swear, to gossip, to hate, to murder, to lust, to commit adultery, etc. and to put other things before God (Matthew 15:18-20; Galatians 5:19-21; James 4:1-6).
And even as Christians - yes, truly called, repentant and redeemed Christians - we will slip occasionally and sin! But, as long as we continue to be repentant, striving to overcome sin,
"we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).God, through the Holy Spirit, reproves and convicts us of our sins (Mat 10:26; John 16:8). As long as we endure the chastening or correction of the Lord, He forgives and accepts us, applying Jesus' sacrifice so we can continue to live under grace (Ephesians 2:8; Heb 12:1-8).
And, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us...
"Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
"For consider Him that endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your minds...
"My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
"For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.
"If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
"But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons" (Heb 12:1-3,5-8).
No one is truly worthy of Christ's sacrifice, "for all have sinned" (Romans 3:23), but the Passover is not optional for Christians. For a truly repentant Christian to not take the Passover is to deny Christ, rejecting God's love and forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice for their sins and disregarding His instructions and example (Matthew 10:32-33; Titus 1:16). (See "Are You Neglecting Salvation?")
We can become worthy of His sacrifice only when we allow God to put His laws in our minds and write them in our hearts and finish His good work in us and thus fulfill His joy. Jesus Christ said:
"there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance" (Lk 15:7).To become worthy and to take the Passover in a worthy manner, we must examine our thoughts, motives and actions and repent of selfish and evil desires and ways - no longer denying our sin or blaming others to justify ourselves. We must come to hate the sin in us,
"those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (slander)" (Mat 15:18-19). Mark's account adds, "covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness (lawlessness), an evil eye... pride, foolishness. All these things come from within and defile a man" (Mk 7:21-23).
But just how serious is sin? Many in the world (the unconverted) joke about it and take pride in what they get away with, but how does God look at it? Sin is the cause of all the world's problems and suffering - that is why Jesus had to suffer and die! We must therefore set our will to not compromise God's law.
God in His love for humanity, whom He created in His image to be chidren of God (1 John 3:1-3), allowed Jesus Christ, who was without sin, to suffer the shame and crucifixion of the cross (in our place) to condemn sin in the flesh - not to do away with the law as some teach (Romans 8:2-4; Heb 12:2; Mat 5:17-19). His sacrifice is meant to purge our conscience from dead works - that is from breaking God's law (Hebrews 9:13-15; 1 John 3:1-9).
Taking the Passover in an unworthy manner is taking it with little or no respect for Christ's sacrifice for us by continuing to live in sin - indifferent to the importance of His death as payment for our sins.
"...He who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason [being unrepentant and still living in sin] many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).
But do not despise the chastening of the Lord.
"For whom the LORD loves He chastens..." (Hebrews 12:5-6).
Though not all trials are the result of God's chastening. Peter writes,
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you...
"But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings [His sufferings were caused by the sins of the world - including ours]; that when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy...
"But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
"Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" (1 Peter 4:12-13,15-17).
Paul gives dire warning to those who were once enlightened - having tasted the blessing of God's grace and having received the gift of His Holy Spirit - that turn back to sin.
"For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins,
"But a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.
"He that despised Moses' law died without mercy...
"Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God and has counted the blood of the covenant wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?" (Hebrews 10:26-29).
"For [it is - erroneously added by translators] [impossible ("adunatos," meaning without power)] those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers ("dunamis," miraculous powers, abilities, abundance) of the age to come (when the Kingdom of God reigns on earth and time of great white throne judgment - Mat 11:20-24; 12:36,41-42; Rev 20:5,11-14), if they sin willfully and fall away (from God's calling and grace - Mat 13:18-22), to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6; see also John 5:21-29; 2 Pet 3:9-15). In other words, if one quenches the Spirit by willful sin (1 Thes 5:19; 2 Tim 1:6-7), they will not be chosen to be part of the bride of Christ (or firstfruits of salvation - Mat 20:16; 22:14; 25:1-13; Rev 14:4-5; 17:14). For without the power of the Holy Spirit, one cannot come to repentance. For it is "the goodness of God [that] leads [one] to repentance" (Rom 2:4)
"But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition ("apoleia," meaning ruin, loss, destruction); but of them that believe to the saving of the soul ("psuche," life)" (Hebrews 10:39).
"...beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have showed toward His name..." (Hebrews 6:9-10).
"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through [messengers] proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation... God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:1-4).
Our goal must now be as God commanded, "you shall be holy; for I am holy" (Lev 11:44-45), and as Jesus commanded in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you shall become perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Keeping the Passover and all of God's Holydays, and understanding all they picture, as well as striving to obey God in all things (Matthew 4:4), following Christ's example, keeping God's laws in the Spirit as He magnified them (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) and summed them up in the two great commandments - love to God and love to your neighbor, is vital to attaining that perfection (Matthew 22:36-40).
Therefore, as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 5:8,
"Let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth"!
For "[Jesus Christ] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those [Levitical] high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for the people's, for this He (Christ) did once for all when He offered up Himself" (Hebrews 7:25-26).
The New Testament (Covenant) Passover, with its symbols of the unleavened bread and wine, and the Days of Unleavened Bread are to be kept once every year at the appointed time in the spring (Numbers 9:1-5) - not at anytime at our own discretion nor as some weekly or monthly ritual. The Passover Feast is an annual reminder of sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ for our sins to be kept according to God's instruction (Matthew 4:4; Lk 22:7-20; John 13:1-17; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; 11:17-26).
The Passover is to be kept according to the Biblical (Hebrew) Calendar (see Biblical calendar), given by God in the beginning (Gen 1:14; Ex 12:1-6,11,16-20; Deut 16:1-8; Psa 81:1-8) and handed down through His priesthood through Noah and to Israel and to the New Testament Church (Deut 29:29; 30:11-16,19; John 14:15-18,21-26; 16:13-15; Cor 10:1-6,11; 12:1-11; Jam 1:5-7).
God reckons days from sunset to sunset (Gen 1:5,14; Lev 23:32). Weeks are 7 days with the first day beginning on what is now called Sunday and the 7th as the Sabbath (Gen 2:1-3; Ex 20:8-11). Months are from one new moon (the first visible cresent that appears after the conjunction - not the conjuction when the moon is not visible as kept by the U.S. Naval Observatory) to the next new moon (Ex 12:2; Num 10:10; Psa 81:3-4). There are 12 to 13 lunar months of 29 and 30 days each in a biblical year (Lev 23:4-6,24,32). Years are correlated with the revolution (orbit) of the earth around the sun (Gen. 1:5,14) with each new year beginning near the time of the spring equinox. The first day of the new year (year is from "shaneh," meaning to duplicate a revolution of time) begins in the spring season near the spring equinox at the first new moon, the month of Abib (Ex 13:4 - meaning tender, green - as in springtime), later called Nisan (Esther 3:7). This month ("chodesh," new moon) may begin before or after the spring (vernal) equinox.
"This month ("chodesh," new moon) shall be unto you the beginning ("rosh," head, chief, beginning) of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you" (Ex 12:2).
When the first day of the new year, the new moon, occurs before the equinox, the equinox must occur before the 10th day of the month (when the Lamb without blemish, a male of the first year, was selected - Ex 12:2-3) in order to confirm the new year before the Passover, otherwise a 13th month is intercalated (inserted) into the passing year and the new year is delayed to the next new moon after the equinox. Normally in a 19 year time cycle 12 years will have 12 months and 7 years will have an extra month or 13 months. The spring equinox (the first day of spring) occurs on or about March 20th or 21st on the Roman (Gregorian) calendar in common use. The new moon and biblical New Year (1st of Nisan - Ex 12:1-2) occurs on April 9th 2016 on the common Roman calendar.
For those who do not have a copy of the Hebrew calendar available, the Passover (preparation day when the Passover was killed - Mat 26:17-20; Lk 22:7-14; John 19:14), was commanded to be kept on the 14th of Abib (Nisan - Deuteronomy 16:2; Ezra 6:19; Esther 3:7). This occurs in the year 2016 beginning Thursday evening after sunset, April 21nd, to sunset Friday ("Between the two evenings" - Lev 23:5), April 22rd.
Jesus observed the New Covenant Passover service (Luke 22:15-20) with His disciples on the first evening of the 14th of Nisan (see "Combined Narrative of Jesus' Last Passover..."), which in 2016 is after sunset Thursday evening, April 21st. The "night to be much observed" (Ex 12:42) is Friday evening (which is a High Day Sabbath - John 19:31) beginning after sunset April 22rd and begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread which runs from Nisan 15-21, which in 2016 is from April 22nd after sunset to sunset Friday, April 29th. Both the first and last days of Unleavened Bread are special Sabbath Holy Days, which may or may not be on weekly Sabbaths from one year to the next (Lev 23:7-8).
For information concerning where you can keep the New Covenant Passover with an organized group and a faithful minister of Jesus Christ, you may contact a Church of God nearest you that believes in and is obeying Christ's instructions. Any baptized member of the body of Christ who is physically not able to meet with a faithful minister of Jesus Christ and an organized group of faithful believers may request from them instructions for keeping the Passover at home.
For more Biblical information about the One True Religion and Church of God, see "Mystery of PENTECOST...The One True Religion & Church of God.".
Have a spiritually rewarding Passover!
Copyright ©: March 1984 by Allen L. Stout; 1998 - 2016 Serf Publishing, Inc. Latest Update: 4/20/2016
|Calendar Year||1st of Nisan||Passover, *14th of Nisan||Days of Unleavened Bread, *15-21st of Nisan|
|2014||April 1||April 14||April 15-21|
|2015||March 21||April 3||April 4-10|
|2016||April 9||April 22||April 23-29|
|2017||March 28||April 10||April 11-17|
|2018||March 17||March 30||Mar 31- Apr 6|
|2019||April 6||April 19||April 20-26|
|2020||March 26||April 8||April 9-15|
*Passover & Holy Days begin at sundown of evening before.