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Expressions from the Heart

Christ, our passover–part two

Christ, our passover–part two by Julie McAllen

For Christ, our passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Cor 5:7)

Picture that night in Egypt as the Israelites huddled inside their houses hearing the wails outside of those witnessing the death of each firstborn in the land. They were saved by the blood of the passover lamb painted on their door frames earlier that evening. When they left Egypt, liberated from bondage and on the frontier of new life, they owed it to that blood. Saved by the blood of the lamb!

As Christians, we too claim to be saved by the blood of the lamb. Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb. I am deeply moved by that title given to Jesus. A constant prayer of mine is to understand more fully the meaning of his blood shed for me. I’ve learned that just as those redeemed Israelites leaving Egypt were later given instructions on the meaning of blood in Leviticus, I also was delivered by the blood while waiting for further understanding. What do I know about the blood of this passover lamb?

To begin, I would like to say I can sympathize with the doubting Jews of Jesus’ day. In John 6, Jesus loses a large amount of followers due to his proclamation that they should drink his blood. If I had been a Jew at the time, this would have confused me as well. Jehovah God had laws against eating blood. It was understood by this time that blood was sacred to God, so what was this Jesus talking about? Was he asking them to break God’s law and eat blood?

 53Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John  6:53-59)

Those who continued to follow Christ after this hard-to-understand teaching were blessed to be part of the first communion meal, the passover, which we have come to call the last supper. But unlike their forefathers saved by the passover blood, the disciples were given instruction that very night as to the meaning of this new tradition involving blood. The gospels tell us those gathered at the table were told Jesus’ blood would be poured out for forgiveness of sins, to confer upon them a kingdom, to give them thrones on which to judge, and to mediate a new covenant (Matt 26:28; Luke 22:20, 29-30). But like most of what Jesus taught them, it was not fully understood until later when Holy Spirit led them into His truth.

The writer of the book of Hebrews understood. By God’s Spirit, he connected the Old Testament with the New covenant.

Poured out for forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God

 16In the case of a will, it is necessary to prove the death of the one who made it, 17because a will is in force only when somebody has died; it never takes effect while the one who made it is living. 18This is why even the first covenant was not put into effect without blood. 19When Moses had proclaimed every commandment of the law to all the people, he took the blood of calves, together with water, scarlet wool and branches of hyssop, and sprinkled the scroll and all the people. 20He said, “This is the blood of the covenant, which God has commanded you to keep.” 21In the same way, he sprinkled with the blood both the tabernacle and everything used in its ceremonies. 22In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (Hebrews 9:16-22)

Most of us are quite familiar with the understanding that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. We readily claim the blood of Jesus upon us!  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins (Matt 26:28)

19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:19-23)

Have you ever considered that? As you claim the forgiving blood of Christ, you enter the Most Holy Place, a place once reserved only for Levitical priests. Forgiven through this blood, we can have confidence to draw near to God, in fact to sit right next to Him! This without the intercession of anyone else in religious duty. The blood of Jesus alone qualifies us for this audience with God.

A Holy Priesthood

 23Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. 27Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. (Heb 7:23-27)

Do you recall all that blood being sprinkled by the Levitical priests for purification? God saw to it that we would have a priest forever interceding for us. A High Priest whose blood is able to purify us from all sin (1 John 1:7), because as a holy and blameless one, he could offer himself.

18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.(1 Pe 1:18, 19)

Each and every member of the church was bought with this precious blood of Jesus, the slain lamb, who is pictured standing in the center of the throne where he is worshiped. Yes, the very blood of God purchased us (Acts 20:28).

 6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased men for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
(Rev 5:6-10)

If you have claimed the blood for your salvation, have you claimed it also as your vocation to be a king and priest to serve God?

 9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pe 2:9, 10)

We have been bought with the blood and our cry is “you are worthy!” But did you notice that is also his cry back to us? He calls us royal, holy, and a people belonging to God. He considers us worthy now. Do you claim the blood when under attack and feeling less than worthy? We belong to God! Who can possibly condemn us? We have entrance to the Most Holy Place because we are washed in the blood of the lamb. Forgiven and purified, we have been given the honor of standing as priests before His Throne of Grace on behalf of those who have not yet claimed the blood of Christ for themselves. Do you bring them before Him in prayer honoring that priesthood given by the lifeblood of God? And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me (Luke 22:29)

As the disciples ate their last Passover meal with Jesus before he was betrayed into the hands of sinners, they drank from the cup representing his blood and were told they would receive forgiveness of sins and a kingdom.  When Jesus was taken from them that night to be crucified, they did not understand the wisdom of God told through the old covenant. Holy Spirit would take care of that later. For in God’s wisdom, those who shed the blood of Jesus thought they could silence his message, but it was His plan all along to speak even louder through the redeeming blood of Christ!  As the enemies of Christ nailed him to the cross, forgiveness and a kingdom were poured out on us through his blood. The blood of Christ is a profound message of wisdom that was cleverly kept hidden until the Spirit revealed the Divine Mystery of which we now partake. Praise God for Good Friday!

 7No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9However, as it is written:
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him”— 10but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

(1 Cor 2:7-10)

As you celebrate this Easter season, claim the blood of Christ, our passover lamb!

Keep yourself in God’s love, Julie


April 9, 2009 - Posted by | According to Scripture, Expressions | , , , , ,

1 Comment

  1. Julie, thanks for such a well-written post on the Passover. This week has been a special week for me, too, where so many thoughts about Christ’s blood have come to mind. You mentioned in your post that by claiming the forgiving blood of Christ, you enter the Most Holy Place, reserved only for Levitical priests…The blood of Jesus alone qualifies us to enter into such a holy place – without intercession of a priest. It’s noteworthy that when Jesus died, the curtain in the temple that blocked the entrance to the Most Holy was torn in two pieces from top to bottom (see Matt 27:51 and Ex 26:33).

    We no longer need a priest to purify us of our sins…the blood of Jesus took care of that once and for all. We ALL now have entrance to the Most Holy place because we now belong to God. It took a long time for me to understand the meaning of Christ shed blood. But now, I claim the blood! It was shed for me, so that I no longer have to carry the burden of my fallen sin and flesh. I have been reconciled to God – we ALL have been reconciled!

    Thanks, again, Julie. God bless you! You have an amazing gift of teaching. I praise the Lord for You!

    Comment by Linda | April 11, 2009

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