Christ our Passover

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Christ our Passover

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Nevertheless, it does give an idea of what a rolling-stone tomb of the first centuryA.D. looked like—and it sits in a beautiful garden setting, as Christ's tomb did. Today you can visit that empty tomb in Jerusalem and get a good idea of what the disciples saw.

If you walk down the garden paths around the tomb it's hard not to think about the impact of the resurrection. In a rock-cut tomb like this you can imagine all the events described by the Gospel writers.

Christ's body was carried in and laid on a rock-cut bench inside the tomb. Oils and special herbs would have been applied to the body, which was then wrapped in linen cloth. The round stone was then rolled across the entrance, sealing the room in darkness.

Three days and nights passed in silence and darkness. And then a flash of light penetrated the dark, and life returned to the body—not the same physical life but a spirit life beyond what any human being had ever experienced. The fullness of God energized the lifeless form, and it was transformed into spiritual glory. Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, and mankind had a Savior!

Without a resurrection, Christianity is nothing more than a human philosophy on par with all other creeds and teachings. With the resurrection, all of that is made nothing by this central fact and truth. With it everything becomes possible.

Symbolism in Jesus' last meal before dying and the festival that followed

On the final evening before His death, Jesus had a meal with the disciples. Commonly called the Last Supper, it was actually a Passover meal. But on that evening Christ made some significant changes.

Notice what Paul tells us: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it [i.e., every Passover], in remembrance of Me'” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 [23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered to you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: [24] And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. [25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.
American King James Version×
).

The events of Christ's death and resurrection took place at the time of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. These festivals are first described in the Bible in Exodus 12 at the time Israel departed from Egypt under Moses. Christ's death and resurrection breathed new meaning into these festivals.

The apostle Paul eloquently summed up these festivals to the group of believers in Corinth. He was drawing to the attention of this non-Jewish, mostly gentile congregation the fact that God's festivals are to be observed with new meaning and relevance.

Notice what he told them—and, by extension, us today: “Your glorying [a reference to their pride in tolerating sin in their midst] is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:6-8 1 Corinthians 5:6-8 [6] Your glorying is not good. Know you not that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? [7] Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, as you are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: [8] Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
American King James Version×
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Jesus Christ, our Passover, fulfilled the symbol of the lambs killed each year for centuries as part of the Passover service. His sacrifice, once for all time (Hebrews 9:28 Hebrews 9:28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.
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), was part of God's plan of salvation from the outset.

Christ's sacrifice paid the penalty of death for sin (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
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). That judgment is lifted from us when we repent and accept His sacrifice for the remission of sins. This begins the process of salvation for us. But our hope of eternal life as part of God's family in the Kingdom lies in receiving the life of Christ within us. Understanding this vital key is critical. Look at what Paul writes in Romans as he conveys this truth:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:8-11 Romans 5:8-11 [8] But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. [10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. [11] And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
American King James Version×
).

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