Friday, April 10, 2009

Passover and Easter

Hey all,

I am going to get into it because I have a topic that is burning in my mind.

I haven't told you all this because I didn't want to get all Jesus on you but I do a men's Bible Study on Monday night. It is called Bible Study Fellowship, BSF for short.
It is a seven year study, but it goes year to year, taking the summers off.
This year the study is on Moses. BSF is an international organization and every BSF class (there is like 5000 going on in the world presently) is doing the same study from the same material.
But when you study Moses you learn so much about the Jewish faith and what is the backbone to the Christian faith.

Because it is Passover began this week Easter Sunday in a couple of days I think it was time for this lesson.
I would say you will be hearing this from a "scriptural child" so if you have some constructive criticism...bring it on.

I will start with Passover.
The Israelites.
It kind of starts with Abraham. His son was Isaac. Isaac had two sons Esau and Jacob.
Jacob would eventually change his name Israel.
People that were born of a guy named Israel were guessed it Israelites.
The Israelites were God's chosen people.
Now you ask, "Why them? Why not everyone?"
Great question. God's ways are not ours. So we will never know until we get to Heaven.
But we do know one thing...He didn't chose everyone.
So the Israelites are His chosen people and they lived in Egypt. There was a new king and he looked out and said, "Dang there are alot of Israelites" (not his exact words) and he began to fear they might take over. So he made them slaves and oppressed them.
During this period they still "multiplied and spread".
But because of the multiplying and spreading the king made a law. Every Hebrew son that was born was to be killed after birth.
Moses was born in this period. You might not know the story...He was born of a Israelite family and somehow they got him to the Nile river and let him go in a basket.
The Pharaoh's daughter found him and he was brought up in the Pharaoh's home.
This allowed him to grow up being schooled in the finest schools learning many languages and learning how to lead people and learning how lead an army.
When Moses was a man he finally was called by God to lead the Israelites from slavery to the Promised Land (modern day Israel).
So Moses was chosen to go to Pharaoh and ask for the release of his people.
Pharaoh said, "No." (again, not in those exact words)
So this is when the Lord started the plagues on Egypt, if you have seen the movie The Ten Commandments you know this. First he turned his staff into the snake and Pharaoh wasn't impressed. Then he turned Egypt's water into blood still not impressed. Then there was a series of more plagues that seemingly wore down the Pharaoh.
But he still wouldn't budge.
Moses said that if you don't let us go all the Egyptian first born sons will be killed.
The last plague was the Angle of Death.
Moses told all the Israelites, "each man is to take a lamb for his family...a male without defect...and slaughter it. Then they are to take some of the blood and put on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses." Then the Lord says, "On the same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn...The blood will be a sign for you an the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt."
Now this was the first Passover (get it... PASS OVER)
Then he goes on to say, "This is a day you are to commemorate for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord." (Exodus 12)
Then the Pharaoh finally let them go.
Now, I don't want to give it away but a sacrifice is what God wants to look the other way.

So lets go a little forward in the Bible.
The same Israelites are in the desert waiting to get into the promised land.
So you know the Israelites are just like us. They became disgruntled. They found it very difficult to live by the rules. They hated the food and were thirsty all the time.
The Lord was continually testing them and they were constantly failing.
A couple times the Lord says that He is tired of their complaining and He was just going to get rid of them. And on all these occasions Moses had to step in and plead the people's case, "Give them another chance."
Okay the rules. They would break them. So God set up a system to pay for your sins.
And again this is with blood.
In Leviticus it says, "When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands...he must bring to the Lord a young bull with out defect as a sin offering for the sin that he has committed."
Then it goes on to say how to sacrifice the bull and what to do with the blood and how they are all suppose to eat the bull.
Again, a sacrifice is the atonement for the sins of the people.

So move ahead about 500 years to Jesus' time.
So why did Jesus come?
He lived not only to be one of and know what is like to live in flesh. He also came to show us the perfect example of how to live.
Speaking of perfect...remember the spotless or unblemished animal we need to sacrifice for atonement of our sins?
It is said that Jesus was the Lamb of God.
Yes, the Old Testament points to how we need a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
In the Garden when the guards came to get him there was a little skirmish and Jesus told everyone to let them take him...."Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled." (Matthew 26:53,54)
It had to be done. For us to be with God again. For us to go to Heaven.
The one that knew no sin became sin for our sake.
Jesus lived to be that perfect sacrifice for all sins.
Sins we have already committed and will commit. He was crucified for all people.
Man that is heavy.

But what I am saying is Passover is the pointing to Easter.

Now the crucifixion day is today. Jesus was taken down from the cross and put into a cave for what people thought would be his grave.
Well, no one knew that when they came to visit him on the third day that he would have conquered death.
This is what I find the most complex about the Bible and Jesus. Why didn't any one of Jesus' friends get it. They were his best friends and he didn't explain to them what was going on. He always talked like, "I will tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days." And then all His buddies are like, "what the heck is he talking about?"
But He never says, "Hey guys this is what is going to happen. I am going to be crucified on Friday, but not to worry I am going to be back for dinner on Sunday."
Why did He just come out and tell them? This will be the first thing I ask Jesus when I meet Him face to face.
So what is Easter?
Easter is Sunday. The third day after Jesus' death when he rose from the dead. He wasn't dead anymore.
Jesus' not being in the cave means he conquered death and He opened the gates of Heaven.
Meaning, now the sacrifice was "finished".
Now all we have to do is believe in the power of the "perfect sacrifice" and you get to go to Heaven.
Amen and Alleluia.
But remember if you really believe it then your life will change. You will live differently. You will act differently. You will be different.

That is it. I did my best.
I hope it wasn't too heavy. If you have any questions or comments remember you can post anonymously.

Happy Passover (do people say this?) and Happy Easter,
Now I could really go for a Malted Milk Egg.


Anonymous said...

Great sermon, John! One question, though. Did Jesus die for all people, or just His people (meaning believers)? If He died for all people, wouldn't all people be going to heaven? Think about it and let me know what you come up with.

patti said...

WOW! John, great summary of the OT and the NT all on one blog entry! Im so impressed and LOVE how it sounds in your words! Preach the Truth!

I ADORE BSF...seriously as an adult it changed my life...getting into the word daily is amazing. I almost completed the 7 years but not quite. TOP NOTCH study.

Happy Easter, brother

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder how many people recently slaughtered a 1 year old lamb, ate it roasted (not boiled) and spread it's blood over their doorway so their first born child wouldn't be killed by god. Please comment if you did. This passage seems to say that you are supposed to.


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