Thursday, March 24, 2016

Easter Thoughts ... Two Words from Jesus that Changed 1500 Years of History

We know the picture above as the Last Supper.  Jesus and the disciples knew this meal as Passover.  And, one of the most revolutionary things Jesus ever said was said on this night.  For centuries the Jewish people celebrated Passover as a way for them to remember God’s deliverance from Egypt.  They were told to celebrate this and remember their release from slavery.  (Exodus 12:1 – 14) The meal was very symbolic and everything that was said pointed back to God delivering them from Egypt.  But, on this particular Passover night, Jesus said “I know that for centuries we have celebrated Passover to remember being delivered from Egypt, but from this point on, everything changes.  Now I want you to remember Me.”  (1 Cor. 11:24) “Remember Me.”  With two simple words Jesus was in essence changing 1500 years worth of history.  This would be like me saying, “OK.  I know for the past couple hundred years we’ve celebrated our nation’s birthday on July 4th.  Not any more.  From this point on, we celebrate my birthday.  The fireworks, the cookouts, the red, white, and blue it all points to me now.” 

If there was ever anything that Jesus said that completely baffled the disciples it had to have been this!  As good Jewish men, they would have celebrated the Passover every year of their life as a way to remember how God delivered them from bondage in Egypt.  But, on this night Jesus is saying, “I am the Lamb to which every Passover has pointed. I’m freely offering myself for you for your sin.  So, from this point on when you do this I want you to ‘remember Me’ the Lamb of God.” 

During the time of Jesus, there were a lot of people claiming to be the Messiah the anointed one chosen to deliver the Jewish people. There were a lot of people claiming to be the one chosen of God to bring the Jewish nation back to greatness.  But, no one no one desired to claim the title of lamb.  Why?  A lamb was sacrificed.  A lamb was slaughtered.  A lamb was the substitute a lamb took the full wrath of God so we wouldn’t have too.  You wouldn’t have to search long for someone wanting to be known for greatness, but no one wanted to be known as a sacrifice enter Jesus. 

In John 1, you can read about when Jesus first started his public ministry on earth.  And, the very first description of Jesus given was by a man named John the Baptist.  And, of all the things he could have called Jesus, the very first thing he said about Him in John 1:29 was “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Countless people would have been willing to hear John say of them, “Behold, the Messiah the chosen one who will bring Israel back to greatness.” Only Jesus was willing to hear John say “Behold, the Lamb of God the one who will be slaughtered the one who will be our substitute the one who will stand between us and the judgment of God behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” American sin African sin Asian sin Arab sin your sin my sin literally He picks it up and carries it away.  (Stanley)

Every religious system offers a way of deliverance from judgment that typically revolves around doing something to earn God’s favor.  It takes different forms, but the solution is typically do less wrong and do more right and God will be happier with you.  And one day you can stand before Him and hope that you did more to make Him happy than unhappy.  Every religious system offers a solution do this, don’t do that one-two-three strikes your out.  Oh, sorry.  You’ll just have to try harder.  Every religious system offers a solution, but there has only been one Person who offered Himself as the solution.  Every religious system will say “Yes we have a spiritual need.  We have a spiritual emptiness.  We have something inside that causes us to feel guilt or shame.  So do this to work your way out of it.” Only Jesus says, “Trust Me to get you out of it. I don’t just have a solution I am the solution.” (Stanley)

So, on this night I remember Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away my sin.  Thank you, Jesus.

Who, oh Lord, could save themselves,
Their own soul could heal?
Our shame was deeper than the sea
Your grace is deeper still

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

You, oh Lord, have made a way
The great divide You heal
For when our hearts were far away
Your love went further still
Yes, your love goes further still

You alone can rescue, You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us, led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

You Alone Can Rescue by Matt Redman

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