Summary: Seeing God’s forgiveness
What does it mean to be forgiven? That’s something we want to look at this morning. And we are going to look at it through the image of Jesus dying on the cross. We know the story of the crucifixion: we hear it every Easter. When know that Jesus died for our sins. But WHY did he died on that particular day?
Different times we see recorded in Scripture Jesus saying, “My time has not yet come” - almost as if he knew there was a set day he had to die. Look with me if you will in Matthew 26 and we will see what that day was.
Read Matt. 26:17-30.
Jesus knew his time had come. And the time was the Passover. Jesus chose to die on the Passover. Why? To understand this, we need to look at what the Passover was. To do that, we need to go back to Exodus.
Read Exodus 12:1-28
What is the Passover? It is the time when God spared the nation of Israel. Who was spared? Every one who took a lamb, killed it, and placed it’s blood over the doorpost of the house. Why did God have them perform this ritual? He could easily have separated the Jews from the Egyptians. The death angel didn’t need God’s help in determining who to kill. Rather, it was a lesson for the Jews. Their life was costly. The would find protection and safety in the shedding of blood. Why the blood of a lamb? Because years later, a spotless lamb would have to be killed for the sins of man once again.
Each year the Jews celebrated the Passover. It was a ritual. It was a picture of the time when Christ would shed his blood for our sins. 1 Cor. 5:7 tells us Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Christ died for our sins on the cross. Yet, who benefits from that salvation? Only those who apply his blood to their sins.
We know that Christ died for the sins of the world. John 3:16 tells us "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
This morning as we think about the first Passover, we remember the believing Jews received life; the unbelieving Egyptians experienced death. When we think about God’s salvation today, we remember that God has offered salvation to all, but only those who believe and ask Christ for salvation has their sins forgiven and their lives changed.
So, having said all that, we know that Jesus comes to the time for his death. He meets with his disciples to celebrate the Passover. Yet, for them, it was only a Jewish feast they were celebrating. They did not understand what Passover would mean from this night on. It is often easy for us to look at ritual and ceremony and forget the meaning. It would have been easy for the disciples to get caught up in the ritual as well. In fact, the book of Luke tells us they got caught up arguing about who was the greatest. It might have looked something like this!