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 The Passover: Why did Jesus Christ have to die?

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PostSubject: The Passover: Why did Jesus Christ have to die?   Sat Apr 11, 2009 4:36 pm

Most of us have heard that Jesus Christ died for our sins, but what does that really mean? Why was His death necessary? What part does Christ's sacrifice play in God's plan for mankind? How is Jesus Christ's death reflected in God's holy festivals?

Jesus' sacrifice is the pivotal event in God's plan to save humanity. Speaking of His certain death, Christ said He, referring to Himself as the Son of Man, must be "lifted up" (crucified) even as "Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," so that "whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:14-16).

We see here that Jesus' sacrifice, the central message of the Passover, was a supreme act of love for humanity. This important event laid the foundation for the remaining annual Holy Days and festivals. It is the most momentous step in God's plan.
Just before the Passover feast that would see His execution, Jesus said that "for this purpose I came to this hour ... And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself" (John 12:27)

The day on which this profound event, the crucifixion, transpired was the 14th day of the first month of God's calendar, the same day on which the Passover lambs were to be killed (Leviticus 23:5). Paul later wrote the congregation at Corinth that "Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Now let's look back through the Bible for the instructions and meaning God gave concerning this day. Doing this will help us understand why God expects us to continue observing the Passover.

God's Passover instruction
God, through Moses, told Pharaoh to "let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness" (Exodus 5:1). Through a series of plagues, God displayed His great power and delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. After nine plagues He gave Israel specific instructions about the imminent 10th in the series of terrifying calamities and the steps each Israelite family should take to escape it.

God said that, on the 10th day of the first month, each Israelite was to select a lamb or goat large enough to feed each household (Exodus 12:3). It was to be a yearling male, without any sort of defect. On the 14th day of that month at evening, the Israelites were to kill the animals and place some of their blood on the doorposts of their homes. The animals were then to be roasted and eaten along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The Israelites hurriedly ate this meal.

The Creator further instructed the Israelites that on this evening He would kill all the firstborn of Egypt to convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery. The firstborn of each Israelite family would be protected if the sign of the blood were on the entrance of their homes. God would "pass over" their homes—thus the meaning of the name of this observance (verse 13).
God said this day would be to the Israelites a memorial, "and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance" (verse 14). Bible writers later explained that the annual Passover observance symbolized Christ. Paul referred to Christ as "our Passover" (1 Corinthians 5:7), and John recorded that John the Baptist recognized Christ as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

The unblemished male animal represented Jesus Christ as the perfect, sinless sacrifice for our sins. Hebrews 9:11-12 tells us that "Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come ... not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." Jesus Christ bought us with His blood, pouring out His life as our Passover lamb so God could forgive our sins.

Why did Jesus Christ have to die? Our Savior had to die because that was the only way God could forgive our sins. The Bible tells us that sin is the violation of God's law of love (1 John 3:4). We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We have each earned the death penalty for our disobedience (Romans 5:12; 6:23). Paul illustrated the profound love of Jesus Christ in giving up His life on our behalf (Romans 5:6) All would be doomed eternally had not somehow the penalty for our sins been paid. Christ, who lived a perfect life as the unblemished Lamb of God, substituted His death for ours. In fact, His death was the only possible substitution for ours. His sacrifice became the payment for our sins. He died in our place so we could share life with Him forever. We can no longer live according to our own desires. We become God's redeemed, or bought and paid-for, possession (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Both Jesus and the apostle Paul made it clear that the Passover is to continue as a Christian observance. Jesus Himself instituted new Passover symbols and practices to teach Christians important truths about Himself and God's continuing plan of salvation.
The Passover in the Old Testament foreshadowed Christ's crucifixion. The New Testament Passover is a memorial of that crucifixion. By observing it, we "proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). Now let's examine Christ's specific instructions concerning the Passover ceremony and the lessons we should learn from it.

The bread: symbol of Christ's body
Later, while the disciples were eating, Jesus explained that one of them would soon betray Him (Matthew 26:21). But notice verse 26: "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat; this is My body.'"

Christ's body was to become a sacrificial offering for sin, for indeed "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man ... offered one sacrifice for sins forever ... For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:10-14). God forgives us through Jesus Christ's sacrifice, and He "sanctifies" us—sets us apart—for the holy purpose of obedience to Him.

Our decision to eat the Passover bread means we understand that Jesus Christ has "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself" (Hebrews 9:26). He willingly consented to suffer an excruciating death for us. Christ bore in His body mental and physical suffering brought on by sin.

Jesus' sacrifice is also intricately associated with our healing. Peter wrote of Christ's suffering that He "bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24 ). Isaiah prophesied of Jesus' suffering on our behalf: "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:4-5).

The Passover bread reminds us of the close relationship Christians have with Jesus Christ. In Romans 6:1-6 Paul shows that, once we are symbolically united with Christ in death through baptism, "we should no longer be slaves of sin" but "should walk in newness of life." Eating the bread demonstrates our commitment to allow Christ to live in us.

The Passover bread reinforces our understanding that Jesus Christ, the true "bread of life," must live within us, enabling us to live an entirely new life. God forgives our sins to sanctify us—to continue to set us apart for a holy purpose, to redeem us (that is, purchase us for a price). We now belong to God so He can fulfill His purpose in us.

The meaning of the Passover wine
Why did Jesus command His disciples to drink wine as a symbol of His blood during the Passover service? What does this symbolize?
Notice Matthew's account: "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom'" (Matthew 26:27-29).

What are we to learn from this symbol? First, Christ knew that drinking wine as a symbol of His shed blood would impress deeply on our minds that His death was for the forgiveness of our sins. "This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me" (1 Corinthians 11:25). Jesus "loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood" (Revelation 1:5). God forgives our sins through Jesus' shed blood (1 John 1:7).

Many people normally understand this tenet—that God forgives our sins through Jesus Christ's blood—but not everyone realizes how it occurs. Paul explained that "according to the Law ... all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [of sin]" (Hebrews 9:22, New American Standard Bible).

In partaking of the wine at the Passover service, we should carefully consider its meaning. That small portion of wine represents the very life blood that flowed from Jesus Christ's dying body for the remission of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). With this forgiveness comes freedom from eternal death.

Our taking wine in the New Testament Passover ceremony is an expression of faith that God really has forgiven us. We are free from sin and guilt (John 3:17), and our hearts are "made free from the sense of sin" (Hebrews 10:22, Bible in Basic English). We live in newness of life with a clear conscience (Romans 6:14).

Our covenant with God
The blood of Christ also signifies that He has entered into a covenant, or agreement. When Jesus instituted wine for the New Testament Passover, He said drink it because "this is My blood of the new covenant" (Matthew 26:27).

Why is this wine called the "blood of the new covenant"?
The writer of the book of Hebrews explains that, after God enjoined the Old Covenant on ancient Israel, and after the Israelites' response of obedient commitment, the covenant was ratified by the ceremony of the sprinkling of blood. The Bible writers called this the "blood of the covenant" (Hebrews 9:18-20; 13:20; Exodus 24:3).
By accepting the sacrifice of Christ for the remission of sin, we enter into a covenant relationship with the God of the universe. The terms of this covenant are absolute, because it was sealed with the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:11-12, 15). This covenant is renewed every year when we partake of the Passover.

The Passover wine is symbolic of this covenant relationship that is ratified by the blood of Jesus Christ.
During His last Passover with His disciples, Jesus explained that this celebration has significant implications for the future as well. In Matthew 26:29 He told them, "I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."

Keeping the Passover each year reminds us that God is the forgiver of sin who grants us eternal life in His Kingdom through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Passover.
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PostSubject: Re: The Passover: Why did Jesus Christ have to die?   Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:37 am

I don't remember who posted this but seems like we omitted quite a few things during Passover.
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