Now Is the Time!

Truly converted members of the Church of God will soon observe the annual memorial of Passover. This year, they will assemble for this most solemn occasion on Sunday evening, March 24, 2013—following the example of Christ and His disciples.

Notice Christ’s words:

“With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15).

Notice Paul’s words:

“Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). And: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

These are indeed sobering concepts… suffering, sacrifice, death.

The first Old Testament Passover was observed during a time of great turmoil, anxiety and destruction—a time of suffering, sacrifice and death.

“Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill [the Passover lamb] at twilight [between sunset and dusk or nightfall]… you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover… For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt… and… I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:6, 11-13).

Protection from the plague was granted during the Passover time—but only, when the blood of the lamb was on the two doorposts and the lintel of their houses, covering, symbolically, the body—shoulders and legs—and the head of the person (Exodus 12:7). Today, Christ’s body and blood cover and protect us from physical and spiritual death,  but only, if we discern the Lord’s body (1 Corinthians 11:29). Otherwise, sickness, weakness and even death might still be facing us (verse 30).

Consider what this means: Discerning the Lord’s body! Understanding the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Appreciating His willingness to suffer and die for us! Believing it! Applying it to ourselves and embracing it! Making every effort to insure that we are behaving in a worthy manner! (verses 27-29).

The Old Testament Passover lamb was eaten by those who were to be freed from the physical slavery of Egypt—those who were about to depart and travel, with a belt on their waist, with sandals on their feet and a staff in their hand (Exodus 12:11). Christ came to free us from the spiritual slavery of sin. Are we making haste to depart from that slavery–to leave it behind quickly and to travel on the road towards the Kingdom of God?

After Judah’s return from the slavery of Babylon and the completion and dedication of the Second Temple, “the descendants of the captivity kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month. For the priests and Levites had purified themselves; all of them were ritually clean… then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel” (Ezra 6:19-21).

Are we—spiritual priests, Levites and God’s temple (1 Peter 2:5, 9; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20)—purifying ourselves to become spiritually clean? Are we separating ourselves from the filth of the nations? Are we truly seeking God?

We should use the coming days and weeks before Passover as a time of meditation and self-analysis.  The Israelite had to take for himself a lamb on the tenth day and keep it until the fourteenth day (Exodus 12:3, 6), knowing that he would have to kill it at the prescribed time, to be protected from death. As the entire congregation of Israel had to kill the Passover lamb, so each and every one of us is responsible for and has therefore killed Jesus Christ. But have we not accepted His Sacrifice—have we not “sanctified” or set Him aside for ourselves (1 Peter 3:15) to be protected and freed from sickness and death?
Now is the time to reflect on Him and what He did for us, and to evaluate ourselves—is He REALLY living in us and directing our path (2 Corinthians 13:5)? Is He REALLY our example whose steps we follow (1 Peter 2:21)?

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