Verse of the Day for March 31, 2017 comes from Isaiah 53, the Old Testament passage that describes the Suffering Servant, the Messiah, who would be born to redeem Israel, as a just payment for the sins of all humanity:
Isaiah 53:5-6 (NLT):
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
As the month of April begins to unfold, Christians across the globe will be moving toward “Holy Week” and the commemoration of events associated with the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth. Beginning with Palm Sunday, believers recall Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem leading up to his crucifixion, death, burial, and ultimate resurrection celebrated on the following Sunday.
During this same period, Jews around the world will be preparing for the start of Passover. The 8-day festival begins this year at Sundown on Monday, April 10 and ends on the evening of Tuesday, April 18. Passover, also known as Pesach, commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt, as families traditionally gather for a Seder dinner, where they retell the story of the escape from slavery, through the plagues, and to the parting of the Red Sea.
The passage from Isaiah 53, also brings to mind a reference to the Passover Lamb found in the latter part of 1 Corinthians 5:7 (AMP)
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new batch, just as you are, still unleavened. For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.
Jesus Christ appears as a type, a foreshadowing of events to come, throughout the Old Testament, as in the case of the Passover Lamb and other aspects of the Seder, the traditional meal served as part of the observance of Passover. Comments regarding 2 Corinthians 5:7, posted on the home page of Logos Bible Software, remind us that Jesus Christ died at the precise time that the Passover Lamb was slain.
The celebrated passage from Isaiah 53 and its connection to 1 Corinthians 5:7 also bring to mind a most memorable intersection of Good Friday and the Passover which occurred in 1998 as I was partaking of Holy Communion at that time. That particular experience inspired the following:
Christ, our Passover Lamb
“For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.”
2 Corinthians 5:7b
Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.
The suffering servant bartered for a price,
Battered and bruised for our iniquity.
Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,
Offered once, Jesus Christ, our Passover.
Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should
Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,
Lay on Him the chastisement of our peace.
From His side flowed water and sinless blood,
A new covenant established that we might cease
From dead works by a new and living way.
God’s good pleasure no longer concealed:
Man of sorrows, with His stripes we are healed.
Abiding in the presence of the Great I Am,
We are cleansed and made whole by the blood of the Lamb.
Isaiah 53 also brings to mind the reality of the covenant God made with the Children of Israel so expressed in Exodus 15:26:
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
This verse was the inspiration behind the Don Moen song of worship: “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” a most appropriate way to close today’s entry.