This week we jump out of our series on the Gospel of Luke to celebrate Jesus and Easter Week. But, we’re not exactly jumping out of Luke.
We’re considering three passages that show us what Jesus came to do. And all three deal with Jesus’ work as the once-and-forever Passover lamb of God.
Luke 19.28-40 describes Jesus’ arrival at the Passover celebration in Jerusalem. Most of us know this passage well. Jesus enters as the king of the Kingdom of God. In Luke’s account, Jesus responds to the complaint of the Pharisees aimed at those celebrating Jesus: “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (:40).
But, Jesus doesn’t come to rule. Not yet. Instead, He comes hailed with palm branches, not trumpets. He comes to do something else before He reigns.
Question: Why did Jesus show up in Jerusalem right then and in the way He did?
Exodus 12.1-13 is about anticipating Passover with Jesus. Now we’re back in Egypt with Moses and the rabble of Hebrews who are about to become the Nation of Israel. We’ve also cleared 9 of the 10 Plagues, and God’s people are given specific instructions to eat a lamb with their shoes on their feet and their staffs in their hands. Also, they’re to paint the doorframes of their houses with the blood of this new sacrifice, the Passover lamb.
Why? Because God is about to visit judgment on all those who don’t take refuge in Him. Because Israel is about to become one new nation under God. Because this new nation is about to pass from bondage to freedom. All this must happen on the 10th day of the month known as Nisan.
Question: What does Exodus 12 have to do with Jesus?
Luke 22.14-20 is about passing from life to death because of Jesus. Now we’re in the Upper Room with Jesus and His disciples. Jesus has entered Jerusalem on the calendar date of Nisan 10, the very day when devote Israelites would have been gathering up their lambs for Passover. In this passage, it’s Nisan 14. The lambs have been sacrificed, and Jesus celebrates Passover one last time: I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover over you before I suffer (:15).
But, Jesus doesn’t just celebrate Passover with His followers. Instead, Jesus transforms the traditional meal (that always pointed to Him!) to reflect the truth that He is the once-and-forever Passover lamb. And, in the early hours of Nisan 15, just when devout Israelites would have recalled the judgment of God falling on Israel’s enemies some 1,480 before, God’s judgment will fall on Jesus at the cross.
This was necessary because the blood of lambs can’t pay for our sins. That blood can only point to the blood of the One who can.
Just as Israel took cover under the blood of lambs, we take refuge, by faith, under the blood of Jesus. Just as Israel formed a new nation at the exodus, we come to Christ and become a new people under the New Covenant. Just as Israel ate the meal and then passed over from bondage to freedom, we pass from bondage to sin to freedom in Christ.
Because Jesus offered Himself as our Passover lamb, we have a new relationship with God, by faith and in Jesus.
Here’s a few questions to think about as we enter Easter Week:
- How is it helpful to connect the different parts of Scripture in tracing themes like Jesus, the Passover Lamb? How does connecting these dots between Old and New Testaments make you want to spend time in God’s Word?
- Lots of people missed Jesus, because they’d celebrated Passover so long without desiring Jesus that they kinda got inoculated against God and His things? How do we need to come to God this week so that we don’t miss Jesus in the religiosity of our Easter celebrations?
- What to your mind is most profound about Jesus’ transformation of the Passover meal into the meal we call The Lord’s Supper? That we’ve made a new beginning, in Jesus? That we’re joined with others trusting in Jesus under the New Covenant? That we can look forward to a feast with Jesus at the renewal of all things? Or, something else …?
Have a blessed Easter Week, in the Lord!