(The following is the first of a sermon series on the approaching “Holy Week,” as we call it here in the Philippines. Take time to read new posts everyday and grow in knowing the true meaning of the cross of Christ.)
Paul wrote, “For Christ our paschal lamb has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7, RSV). The word, “pashal” or “passover” is from the Greek, pascha (Hebrew, pesach), which means, “a passing over.” (ATSD) The Passover is the 1st of 3 great annual festivals of Israel, celebrated from the 14th to the 21st of the month of Nisan (March-April). The Passover applied only to the paschal supper and the feast of the unleavened bread. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary in Power Bible CD)
God commanded the feast to commemorate the passing over of the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. That fateful night, the angel of death killed all the firstborn humans and animals of Egypt (Ex. 12:12). But when he saw the blood of the lamb on the doorposts of their houses, he passed over those houses, and spared them of death (Ex. 12:13).
Thus, God taught the Israelites the key message and meaning of the Gospel of salvation. It is only through the substitutionary sacrifice of the lamb that they can be saved. Only the blood of the lamb can cover them their sins.
The sacrificial lamb of the Passover is a type of Christ. It symbolizes Christ as the Paschal Lamb of God. The blood of the Passover lamb is shed as an atoning sacrifice for sins in the Old Testament. Likewise, the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, was also shed as the final atoning sacrifice in the New Testament (See Matt. 26:28; Heb. 10:7-18).
Every Israelite priest of old (like every priest today) offered such sacrifices, which can never take away sins. However, Christ offered Himself once for all, for the forgiveness of sins (See Heb. 10:11-12). There is thus no need anymore for another sacrifice for sins (See Heb. 10:18). Every sinner today need only to look back at Calvary and trust the finished work of Christ at the cross.
In our next post, we will study the biblical meaning of the atonement.
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