<I am sorry to have apparently dated this wrong when writing and scheduling it. It was supposed to have come out to you a day earlier — on Good Friday, not Saturday morning.>
I always say that I am not much of a sentimentalist. Fortunately for me, neither is my wife to a large extent. We did make a big deal of kid birthdays, and with five boys growing up, realize that it adds up to over three months’ worth of celebrations … lots of ice cream cakes! But we’ve never been much for anniversaries, Valentine’s Day or that sort of thing.
At the same time, I am very quick to remember dates of big things in our lives: loved ones who died, or anniversaries of relocation events, life crises and job changes, etc.
I wouldn’t call God a sentimentalist, but he was interested in remembrances of big events in the history of the nation of Israel. God understands the human capacity to forget important things and events, especially those of great significance where the Lord was involved in a big way to demonstrate His love and His plan.
The children of Israel (meaning the family of Jacob) went to Egypt at the time of Joseph serving the Pharoah, numbering about 75 people. Over the next roughly 400 years, the work of Joseph was forgotten in Egypt and the Israelites had become a slave people of perhaps up to two million.
The miraculous events through the ministry of Moses served to make their escape from bondage possible, marking their birth as a nation. All of this happened with the event of the Passover, with the blood of the sacrificial lamb applied to the doorframes of their homes … all of this with significance not just for that day, but for every day from that day forward … and not just for Israel, but stretching 3500 years later and all of the way to us today on this Good Friday of 2016 …
Exodus 12:1 – The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household. 4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on 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.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.
The principle of innocent blood being shed to cover for the sin of another dated all of the way back to the first human sin and the animal sacrifice for coverings. Sacrifices were a part of the entire Old Testament history of the patriarchs and the Jewish people. But the perfect and final sacrifice for sin had to be of the same substance as humanity, yet perfect. Only one person qualified, and God orchestrated the events of that human sacrifice to take place on the observance of the Passover from 1500 years prior …
Luke 22:7 – Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.
There is nothing more important for us than to understand what God has done in great grace to save mankind. He has had a plan (it says in Scripture) since before the beginning of the world. That plan of redemption has been intricately and beautifully interwoven and worked out over all of time. The gospel message of which we have been speaking in this series is the exposition as to how we may be connected to God’s eternal grace in Christ.
So, a review as to how it all comes together …
God said through Moses: “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.”
Jesus said to the disciples during the Passover dinner: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
Paul said to the Corinthians: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”
And I say to you: “See you tonight at 7:00.”