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Passover and Easter Update 2014
This year, as in some previous years, Passover and Easter fall in the same week. Their connection is not just one that has to do with our annual calendars but they mirror each other, though separated by thousands of years in terms of their historical context. The one took place 3300 years ago in Egypt and the other 2000 years ago in Jerusalem. What they both have in common is:
1. The condemnation of the world.
Without the vicarious suffering of another the world, including all of Israel in Egypt, would fall prey to death at the hands of the Angel of Death. Death is more than just our physical expiration; it is being separated from God for all eternity. We are all a people condemned to die because of our sins.
2. The marvelous grace of God.
That which saves us from death is not our good works or efforts but the grace of God alone. The Jews in Egypt were as much at risk as the Egyptians were as the Angel of Death approached. Their only hope was the blood of a lamb that had to be appropriated on the door posts and lintels of their homes. In like manner only the blood of the Lamb of God, applied to the doorposts of our hearts can save us from death. God’s grace is wonderful and frees us from a “works based” attempt to please Him. By grace we have been saved!
3. The changing of our circumstances.
The Israelites of old had to be dressed and ready to leave Egypt in haste. They would now be a changed people who would find their new life in God who came down to deliver them by His mighty hand. They would never be the same again. In like manner we leave the world (Egypt) and follow Christ Who has transformed us, changed our hearts and made us “new creatures.”
4. The pursuit of the enemy.
Though redeemed and brought under God’s protection the Israelites were relentlessly pursued by the Egyptians at many levels and not just physically. It’s one thing to come out of Egypt but it’s entirely another to get Egypt out of your heart! For forty years and more the Israelites battled and struggled with the latter. We too have been saved from sin but it takes a lifetime to get sin out of our hearts! In both cases however the enemy has been defeated. “The horse and rider has been thrown into the sea!”
5. The care, provision and protection of God.
The Exodus story serves as a marvelous lesson about the love that God has for His people. Those redeemed by the blood of a lamb are God’s precious people a holy nation and a royal priesthood. He watches over them day and night. Likewise the Church is also deemed a holy nation and a royal priesthood and Jesus said “Lo I am with you always even unto the end of the age.” The lesson is clear; those that are blood bought” enjoy God’s presence and cannot be separated from Him.
6. The hope of a promised land.
The Israelites went out of Egypt with the sure assurance that they would inherit a land of milk and honey; and they did. We too have gone out of the Egypt of sin looking for a city that has “foundations whose architect and builder is God.” God desires to dwell forever with His children and indeed He will. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also.”
Isn’t it amazing how Passover and Easter reflect each other? The truth is, they do reflect each other and are really one and the same! Just this week, as Passover was beginning, a radical Nazi attacked two Jewish centers in America. Shouting “Heil Hitler” he opened fire at will and indiscriminately at Jews but in fact killed three Christians! This tragedy speaks to us in many ways but powerfully it reminds us that Jews and Christians belong together and in the end that which will finally unite them will be the blood of a Lamb! What a wonderful Day that will be!
May you celebrate a blessed Passover and Easter.