Posts Tagged ‘Passover’

Christ, our Passover Lamb

March 30, 2018

1 Corinthians 5--7–8

For Christian believers Holy Week, the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, culminates with the celebration of his resurrection from the dead. During the same time, Jews are preparing for the start of Passover, the 8-day festival which begins this year today at Sundown on Friday, March 30 and ends on the evening of April 7. 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.

Throughout the Old Testament the reference to the Passover Lamb and other aspects of the Seder and other events appear as “foreshadowing” or as “types” that unfold in the life of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  Note this reference in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 (NLT):

Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.

This verse also brings to mind a most memorable intersection of Good Friday and the start of Passover which occurred in 1998. At that time as a congregation, our church participated in Holy Communion on Good Friday. Although I had observed and participated in the Lord’s Supper countless times since adolescence when I first learned the significance of what that observance really meant, on that particular occasion, I took communion and observed the elements of Christ’s sacrifice with new eyes. That experience brought to mind Isaiah 53 and 1 Corinthians 5:7, inspiring the following poem which recognizes and personalizes the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf:

Taking It Personally

Isaiah 53

 

“For indeed Christ, our Passover,

 was sacrificed for us.”

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

But memorialized this solemn day.

Man of sorrows, with His stripes we are healed.

By the blood of the Lamb we are made whole,

Quickened, cleansed in spirit, body, and soul.

 

Kent Cole Cooley offers “Jesus Our Passover Lamb” to conclude:

First fruits are first

April 19, 2016

 

1 Corinthians-15-Verse-20

The Verse of the Day for April 19, 2016 makes reference to “firstfruits” as found in 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 (Amplified Bible):

But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep [in death]. For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive.

Actually, “Firstfruits” was one of the three feasts established by God for the Children of Israel to observe when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. Passover was instituted on Day 14 of Nisan (the first month), the Feast of the Unleaven Bread was to begin the next day, Nisan15, and the Feast of the First Fruits to begin three days following Passover on Nisan 17. They are referred to as one feast.

Jesus Christ appears as a type, a foreshadowing of events to come, throughout the Old Testament, as in the case of the Passover Lamb. Jesus was recognized as “The Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” Those previous indications are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, whom Paul describes as “our Passover.” Indeed, Jesus died at the very time that the Passover lamb was being sacrificed in the Temple.

Although generally mistaken for Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts seven days, while Passover is only one 24-hour period. When the Children of Israel departed from Egypt on the evening after Passover, God specifically told them not to allow their bread to rise, but to grab everything and leave in haste. There was to be no leaven or yeast to speed up the process of preparing the bread for baking, but God instructed them that no leavening should touch the bread: Just bake it and depart. God then told them that in the future they were to commemorate this feast by removing all leavening or yeast from their houses for seven days. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ makes a connection with this feast when He says, “I am the Bread of Life.”

“Firstfruits,” in its most literal sense, refers to the first portion of the harvest which belongs to God. In terms of time, this portion of the harvest comes first; it is a token or pledge dedicated or given to God in expectation of a greater harvest to follow. When the Children of Israel prepared to enter into the Promised Land, they were instructed to offer the first portion of their produce to God. The “first born,” whether human or animals, was also considered as God’s special possession and can be considered a type of first fruit. Just as Jesus Christ is described as “the “firstfruit “among those who died, so also are believers “a kind of firstfruits of His creation,” so described in James 1:8, which introduces this poem:

Firstfruits

Of His own will He brought us forth by the word

of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits

of his creatures.

James 1:18

Transform and then so fashion our visage
To be like Christ, the brightness of your glory.
In your fire refine us that we might be
Fashioned and cast in His express image:
As boldface type printed upon the page,
As a new coin minted in your treasure,
Stamped with the essence of your character
To convey the power of your message.
So saturate each spirit, heart, soul and mind,
Every fiber of our being, each pore;
So permeate our presence that we might find
Our true calling as Christ’s ambassador.
More than vessel, vehicle, or instrument,
Like Christ, we are firstfruits of God’s intent.

Steve McConnell offers a musical expression entitled “First Fruits.”

Reflections on the Resurrection: Three poems and three songs

April 17, 2014

empty tomb new

In reflecting upon the events leading up the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ and his subsequent resurrection, three poems came to mind that I would like to share in this blog entry for the Thursday of Holy Week. From time to time I attempt to comprehend to a limited degree the unimaginable anguish and suffering that the Savior took upon himself on my behalf. The scriptures speak of “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith . . . who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame. . . .” As I read about or view in a film or some other graphic portrayal, such as The Passion of the Christ, I am sometimes tempted to scream, “Enough is enough.” Such sentiments I express in this first poem which was composed on Resurrection Sunday, March 31, 2001:

More than Enough

How much is enough?

Can you measure the length of each scar on his back?

Can you trace the depth of each gash and follow each track?

Can you extract and analyze sweat, like drops of blood?

Can you remove water and blood and then weigh the good?

Can you collect the tears and hold them in a vial?

Can you assess the shame and disgrace of trumped up trial?

How much is enough?

 

One more mocking bow, one more man to spit in his face,

One more taunting gesture, one more mark of disgrace.

One more lash, one more gash, one more blow to the head,

As he endured the cross, despising the shame as he bled.

To smash once more, one blow short of certain death.

He cried, “It is finished” then yielded his last breath.

 

How much is enough?

Who can assess the worth of his blood and establish a price

For the precious Lamb of God, unblemished, sinless sacrifice?

God’s bounty of mercy is sufficient. His deep love will suffice.

Despite the deficit, God balances each account to set it right.

Where sin once had free reign, now grace has abounded instead.

The Lord himself provided the Lamb, whom He raised from the dead.

In His gracious goodness Jehovah-Jireh reminds us

That He is more than enough, yes, so much more than enough.

 

Listen to this corresponding musical composition, “More than Enough” by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir:

Taking It Personally

As is often the case, Holy Week, or the commemoration of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, takes place during the same period as the Jewish Passover celebration. Such was the case in 1998 when Passover began at sunset on Good Friday, April 15. The congregation at my church partook of the Lord Supper or Holy Communion, and although I had taken communion seemingly countless times prior to that particular occasion, I apprehended to a much greater degree the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ and was inspired to compose this poem:

Taking It Personally

Isaiah 53

 

Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.

The suffering servant bartered for a price,

Battered and bruised for my iniquity.

Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,

Offered once, Jesus Christ, my Passover.

Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should

Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,

Lay on Him the chastisement of my peace.

From His side flowed water and sinless blood,

A new covenant established that I might cease

From dead works by a new and living way.

God’s good pleasure no longer concealed

But memorialized this solemn day.

Man of sorrows, with His stripes I am healed

In spirit, mind and body, for I am

Quickened and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

April 15, 1998

Passover

 

Recently I discovered this recording which expresses in part my response on that unforgettable Good Friday/Passover: “Just for Me” by Donnie McClurkin.

Witness

On a number of past occasions, when I first awoke on Resurrection Sunday, I would greet my wife or our daughters with the words “He is risen,” and the corresponding response would be “He is risen, indeed.” This phrase turns out to be the closing phrase in this poem:

Witness

Luke 24:1-9

The account of the women at the empty tomb

 

Though we did not journey with the women

In the dark before dawn that first day,

Nor were we walking, weeping with them when

Two angels spoke, nor did we hear them say,

“He is not here but risen as he said;

Recall that on the third day he should rise;

Why seek you the living among the dead?”

Though we did not see with our naked eyes,

In our hearts we know God’s desire to bless.

Though we did not touch Christ nor did we see

The open tomb, yet we still bear witness.

We have a more sure word of prophecy.

By the spirit, fruit of our Promised Seed,

We surely know He is risen, risen, indeed.

“My Soul is a Witness” is a traditional Black spiritual sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers in a recording made in 1920. Click here to access a link to an article discussing the contribution of this musical ensemble who were pioneers in developing the spiritual and sharing it with the world. The group has a special connection with Columbus, Ohio where I formerly lived.

Because of what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished through his suffering, his death, burial and resurrection, we can all be “a witness for my Lord.”

Isaiah 53: Taking it personally

March 31, 2014

Isaiah 53-5

The Verse of the Day for May 31, 2014 is taken from Isaiah 53: 5-6:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 53 provides a portrait of “the Suffering Servant” and is often referenced during Holy Week, or the commemoration of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, which takes place during the same period as the Jewish Passover celebration. Such was the case in 1998 when Passover began at sunset on Good Friday, April 15. The congregation at my church at the time partook of the Lord Supper or Holy Communion, and although I had taken communion seemingly countless times prior to that particular occasion, I apprehended to a much greater degree the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ and was inspired to compose this poem:

Taking It Personally
Isaiah 53

Cursed with a curse, He was hung on a tree.
The suffering servant bartered for a price,
Battered and bruised for my iniquity.
Behold the Lamb, unblemished sacrifice,
Offered once, Jesus Christ, my Passover.
Afflicted, stricken, smitten that God should
Freely pour out His mercy, moreover,
Lay on Him the chastisement of my peace.
From His side flowed water and sinless blood,
A new covenant established that I might cease
From dead works by a new and living way.
God’s good pleasure no longer concealed
But memorialized this solemn day.
Man of sorrows, with His stripes I am healed
In spirit, mind and body, for I am
Quickened and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.

Listen to this recording of Isaiah 53: 3-7 set to music from Christian Worship & Scripture Songs (Esther Mui), words to consider deeply today.