United Church of God

Personal From the President: March 31, 2022

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Personal From the President

March 31, 2022

The Lamb of God and You

Without it, there simply is no plan of God for humanity. This festival opens the door for eternal salvation, for reconciliation with God to all. It makes possible a wonderful life of everlasting joy, of unfathomable things to come “which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

I write here of the deeply humbling Passover and its astonishing meaning for you and me.

It is important to comprehend that the entire Bible essentially points to Jesus Christ and His many roles. As the Creator of the Universe, Jesus was fully aware of what He would do, even at the moment of the creation of the earth long ago. As John tells us, “the Lamb [was] slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). During the entire course of history, Jesus had this in front of Him. Each century, each year, each Holy Day season brought Him closer to the sore trial He would face.

John the Baptist powerfully perceived this when he first saw Jesus striding toward him. Nearly 2,000 years ago, John cried out: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

What does the Lamb of God mean to you?

In two weeks, we will observe the Passover ceremony described in the New Testament and based on Christ’s example. Many of you have observed it multiple times. Some will take part for the very first time as newly baptized members of the Body of Christ. Together we will observe this sobering, yet awe-inspiring ceremony, where we will take part in the washing of each other’s feet, the receiving in faith of the New Covenant symbols of the bread and wine, and the hearing of the Word of God from the book of John.

What did Jesus do for you and me? The book of John opens eloquently and powerfully with crucial background for comprehending the magnitude of this annual festival. John declares that Jesus Christ is both a divine Being(John 1:1-2) and that He eternally pre-existed with the One from whom we received our calling—God the Father (John 6:44). The eternally existing Word, as Jesus is described here, became flesh (John 1:14). Let’s look deeply into and consider what that means for each of us.

As we approach the Passover festival, Paul instructs us carefully to examine ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:28-30) and appropriately discern the Lord’s body. The English word “discerning” here comes from the Greek word transliterated diakrino, which means to “separate, make a distinction, discriminate.” We are to humbly meditate on what Jesus did and who He is, asking God for a full appreciation.

Over the next two weeks, let’s strive to achieve this. Let’s focus on and appreciate the full dimension of Who Jesus is and exactly what He did for each and every one of us. The apostle Paul illustrated that dimension when he wrote to the disciples of Jesus living in Ephesus that God would “grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Ephesians 3:16, English Standard Version, emphasis added throughout).

What would be the outcome of being “strengthened with power”? Paul writes plainly: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” and that the disciples—including us today—would have the spiritual ability to fully discern and understand the “breadth and length and height and depth”—the full dimension—of the love that Jesus Christ has for each one of us and, further, what the full application of that means for us.

Let’s remember that Jesus’ role as the Lamb of God was well known in the first century. Paul openly declared to a gentile church in Greece that “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7, ESV). In Revelation, the capstone book of the New Testament, Jesus is identified as the “Lamb of God” no fewer than 28 times.

The book of Revelation links us with critical connectivity from the prehistory to the future. We read here the accounts of victory in what was accomplished by the blood of the Lamb that God wants to share with us.

Consider the events taking place at the very throne of God:

“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). A powerful song breaks out within the heavenly throne room of God: “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).

A major part of our worshiping is to be in a renewed and refreshed spirit of humble repentance before, during and after the Passover service. An unexamined mind can occlude the full benefit of the festival. I earnestly invite you to think on this: some of our sins are obvious to us and others around us. Some are known only to you and God. Secret and presumptuous sins may be known by others, but you may be clueless. The solution? Use this time of Passover preparation to ask God to open your eyes, grant you repentance, and lead you to a path of change.

The rewards of doing this in a good attitude have both immediate and long-lasting benefits! When the ancient Israelites sacrificed their Passover lamb, the blood on the doorframes led to their physical salvation (Exodus 12:12-13). How much more does the sacrifice of the Son of God mean to us?

The coming Passover should be a time of spiritual alignment, a time of getting in sync with God the Father, and a time of recommitment to our elder brother Jesus Christ, who lives in us today (Colossians 1:27). Let us all prepare to observe the Passover in a worthy manner!