Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Passover to Come

Look at Luke 22:15 and 16. I want to focus on what Jesus says here: "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Here is something that we usually overlook: we see the word Passover and we think of a big feast that Jesus preparing for us, as if we were the center of everything. We remember his words, "I have a mansion with many rooms, and I am preparing rooms for you." And we also hear him say, "I will eat with you at the Passover feast." We think of a celebration. We think, "oh Jesus is making a lot of food for us. Preparing a feast takes a lot of work!  What with all those people who were going to eat at the feast!" But Jesus says here that he is not going to partake in the Passover until it has been FULFILLED in the kingdom of heaven--in the kingdom of God.

We partake in communion every Sunday and extra days like today (Maundy Thursday).  We are feasting. Jesus isn't participating in this feast. He is involved, yes, in that we are eating his body and blood, but he is not communing with us. He is the sacrificial lamb. This is the communion of the Saints. Jesus is telling us that he is holding off participating in this feast until it has been fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Think of this. The Passover. There is to be ANOTHER Passover.

First let's look at a common minor heresy.  It's not a huge heresy.  There are heresies that are so massive that all the other doctrines collapse like a heap of dominoes when you follow this heresy, but there are small heresies that don't seem interfere with the main doctrines (even though even small heresies do creep in and erode the main things eventually).  One of these is that of an early rapture. Do you believe in the rapture? Well, yes, it's called the judgment--it's called Judgment Day, and if you look at what Jesus says in Scripture, you WANT to be left behind.  You see all of these books about being left behind--the left behind series of books--but when you read scripture, Jesus says, the final days will be like the days of NOAH.  What happened in the days of Noah? The wicked were swept away with the floodwaters. Noah and his family remained: THEY were left behind.

Now, here is Jesus setting up the same thing, saying, "I will not feast until the Passover has come to fruition in the kingdom of God."  There is to be another Passover and it's the same thing as the flood in Genesis and the Passover in Exodus.  It's the same thing: the wicked are to be destroyed.  They are to be ripped out, like the tares from among the wheat.  Remember that parable?  The field tender comes to the owner and says, "the enemy has sown tares among the wheat!  What should I do?"  The owner says, "wait for all the crop to grow to maturity, then you will be able to tell the wheat from the tares, and then you can pull the tares out first."  This is what is happening at Passover.  We put blood around our doorways and the angel of death passes us over.  Everyone else is destroyed.

In Exodus 12 we get instructions on how to kill the lamb, how to prepare the lamb, how to eat the lamb: there's a sense of urgency.  You were to eat the lamb dressed, with your staff in hand, ready to take off.  There is this sense of urgency, but here is the crucial part.  Verse 12: "for I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments--I am the Lord.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." This is not just an interesting story from the Old Testament.  This is prophecy.  Egypt is a microcosm of a worldwide Passover.  This is what Jesus is saying when he says, "I will not enjoy this Passover feast until it has been fulfilled in the kingdom of heaven."  What needs to be fulfilled is the Passover--the worldwide Passover--in which the angel of death comes and kills all of the people who are dead in their sins, who are lost to God forever, people who do not have faith in Christ.

Essentially, what we do instead of putting blood around doorways, to keep the angel of death from coming in and destroying us, what we do is we have faith in Christ, faith in the blood of the Christ, the one whose meal here we partake in every Sunday.  We are expressing our faith physically here in the body and blood of Christ.  We devote ourselves to Jesus.  We put him first in all that we do.  We always include thoughts about God.

WWJD, What Would Jesus Do? is an example.  How do we live our lives?  We don't just ask what would Jesus do, because then we're assuming that Jesus would ever do anything related to the sort of lives we live now in this modern era, but what we are saying is not "What Would Jesus Do?" but "do I put Jesus first?"  What do I do as a future resident of the kingdom of heaven? How should I act? How should I behave? I look to the scriptures, the word of God.  The Scriptures are all testimony about Jesus Christ. I learn there everything that there is to know about Jesus Christ and therefore about God himself.  THAT is putting my faith in Jesus: believing God, believing in God, and believing what God says, believing his testimony about his son, Jesus.

I put my faith in all of that.  It's difficult to do, but God draws his chosen people into it.  That is the new way of putting blood around our doorways.  This isn't the temporary blood of a lamb on that night in Exodus.  This is an everlasting, REAL blood that saves us from eternal destruction.  On Good Friday I'm going to talk about the shadow versus the reality.  The Passover that happened in Egypt in Moses' time was a shadow of the real Passover--the true Passover--which is to come: the Judgment Day, the end of everything.  And at that time we will be passed over by the angel of death.  We will survive to the other side, because of the blood of the lamb around our doorways.

The lamb is Jesus Christ the righteous, who did not sin but became sin for us.  We impute our sins to the lamb.  He imputes his righteousness to us.  We have faith in his blood.  The angel of death passes over us.  The world will pass away, but Jesus's words will never pass away. We will survive the Passover because of Christ, and though many will be lost, because they do not believe and do not have faith--the firstborn of the world, the first born children of all the world--essentially the leaders, principalities, powers, the wicked--all gone, yet we will remain.  We will be passed over.  We will survive, thanks to Jesus.  And after these things he will join us in the Passover feast.