Rev. Joel Frische
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
It’s starts out so nice. Dad brings home a cute little fluffy, perfect, one year-old male lamb. It’s kind of like getting a new pet. But then just a few short days later you go “Silence of the Lambs” on it. You take that sweet little lamb, slaughter it, smear its blood on your house, roast it with fire, even its head, legs and its innards. Then you pair it with some wine, a bit of flat bread and bitter herbs and then you eat poor little fluffy. But that’s not all. If there is anything of fluffy left, you go pyromaniac on it. You incinerate it by the next morning. What starts out so nice, gets ugly really quickly.
But sin is ugly and messy. God’s judgment over sin is real. The wages of sin is death. There’s no getting around that one. It’s clear in the Old Testament just as it is in the New. Feast on the forbidden fruit like Adam and Eve, break God’s commandments, close your ears to His Word, expect to die. He’s gonna go pyromaniac on you!
But just as sin is messy business, so is salvation. You’re old enough. You’ve been taught the Christian faith. You know that God’s work in Christ for the salvation of His people isn’t some cute, fluffy story. It involves, at times, suffering, blood and gore, and yes, even brutal death. For sin to be atoned, covered up, washed away, blood must be shed, a death must take place. So it was for Israel, so it is for you. Sin requires payment, a payment you or no other sinner can make. A payment bigger than even a cute little lamb. And know this, if Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world doesn’t pay it FOR YOU, death will never pass you over.
Atonement for sin in is messy business indeed. Consider that Passover lamb. There were approximately 600,000 men, not including women and children, whom God freed from bondage in Egypt. If even half of those men had wives and children you’d have tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of households, each with a one year-old, spotless, male lamb to be slaughtered at twilight on the 14th day of the month, roasted, eaten and the leftovers burned. But God was at work, bringing life from death. God’s people feasted on the flesh of a lamb without blemish, whose blood on the doorposts spared them from the angel of death and set them on the road to the Promised Land. Actually it foreshadowed a greater blood and a greater redemption.
The story is far bigger than that. God had something better in store for these children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, definitely something better FOR YOU. He’s got more for you than a piece of real estate in the Middle East or a plate of lamb chops. Christ is your Passover Lamb, sacrificed FOR YOU. He is the spotless Lamb of God, whose blood has purchased and freed you from the bonds of sin, death and the power of the devil. But in this Passover of old, the Lord has much to teach you about your salvation in Jesus.
When God’s people of old observed the Lord’s Passover as they prepared to depart with haste to the Promised Land, everything changed. What Yahweh, the Lord is about to do to set His people free is so huge that their entire calendar is reordered. The month of their redemption now becomes the first month in their record of time. Time is reordered according to the Lord’s salvation for His people.
And every year at this time from henceforth they were to observe this great feast to Yahweh. He commanded them to keep the feast. It was a statute, a Law. And yet this Passover feast, even generations later, bound them together with those who had gone before them. For redemption from bondage was not just for those people at that time, but for all Israel, for all time. And as huge as the Passover Feast was for God’s people of old, Jesus takes it, He fulfills it and makes something greater FOR YOU!
Jesus takes this Passover and He makes it His own. He fulfills it. He makes it a Feast for you that’s not just a memorial of his death, but a life-giving feast of redemption from eternal death. Every celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a Passover anew, death passes over you and you partake of life eternal. “This is my body, given for you. This is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.” Your Passover Lamb who was CRUCIFIED on the cross once for all for the sins of the world, for your sin, now offers Himself to you, feast after feast after feast. And as you partake of His flesh and blood He binds you with Him and with all believers in heaven and on earth.
Just as the Passover of old was so huge that it reordered the calendar, look at how Christ CRUCIFIED really does the same for you. Time is reordered. It begins with your Baptism, the 8th day, the day of a new creation. Every day is now a Sabbath rest in Jesus as your Old Adam drowns and dies and your whole life is reordered in Him. Each new church year follows the life of Christ, a journey from the manger to the cross to the empty tomb and then to the out into the church, where God’s people feast on the Lamb who was slain.
That Feast is the climax of what takes place in the Divine Service. The hymns, the liturgies, everything building up to that moment when your spotless Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world comes to you with His gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation, targeted right at you, in your mouth. And then out of your mouth comes prayer and praise that confess back to the Lord His goodness, His mercy and His love for sinners.
We even eat Christ’s Passover Feast with haste, not in the same exact way that ancient Israel did, but not that differently either. They were on the brink of the exodus, the way out of bondage, the road to the Promised Land. So they ate with haste, their sandals on their feet and their staff in their hand, ready to go. So it is for you when you feast on Christ’s body and blood. You are a stranger and pilgrim in this fallen world, on the road to a new heaven and a new earth, where the Feast of the Lamb and His bride never ends. When you partake of the foretaste of that great feast to come, you’re ready to depart, not just to go home, but to be with Christ for all eternity. Lord now let Your servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen your salvation.
You see, the Passover is your story, because it’s all about Christ the spotless Lamb, without blemish, sacrificed, for you. JESUS CRUCIFIED! DEATH PACIFIED! YOU JUSTIFIED, SANCTIFIED, holy in Jesus. Your paschal Lamb has set you free. Alleluia!
In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Created: October 28th, 2014