3.21.2008

Resurrection day '08: behold, the Lamb

One card I sent out for Resurrection Day this year states that God cares about your life down to the last detail. The literal translation of the paraphrased James passage quoted on back states, "...the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." Both are so true. I've seen in my life and the lives of friends time and again how God shows His compassion, and how even minor events which seemed completely unrelated have tied together in the most extraordinary ways, showing how God was working in them all along.

Nowhere do we see God's mercy and compassion more than in the event we celebrate this time of year—Jesus' death and resurrection. It may not sound merciful or compassionate at first glance. I mean, a horrific death is involved. But what is Resurrection Day about but just that—resurrection and life? And not just Jesus' life, but the life we can have eternally through Him.

I truly wish Resurrection Day was always set to coincide with the Jewish Passover. The reasons for the timing, and even the name, of the holiday most call "Easter" are rather complicated, so I'll spare you that history lesson. But knowing the story of Passover gives this celebration even more meaning.

When the Jewish people were enslaved to the Egyptians and not allowed to leave, God did many things to get the attention of Egypt, but they refused to yield. His final message was to be the death of every first born male in any family that didn't follow a very detailed prescription.

The Israelites were to sacrifice a spotless male lamb at a specific time. They were to apply the blood to the door frame of the house and break none of the lamb's bones. Then the first born in that household would be spared as the lamb died in their place. Death would "pass over" that house.

Did you catch all that?

• A male lamb — Jesus is "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)

• With no defect — "...He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us..." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

• The bones were not to be broken — In Roman crucifixion, if a victim did not die in a certain period, their legs were broken to speed the process, as they could no longer push up to take a breath. Because Jesus was already dead, his legs remained unbroken. (John 19:33... That one always gets me.)

• The lamb had to die and it's blood had to be applied — Just as we must trust in Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. If we believe Christ died in our place for our sin, God's judgment of sin passes over us. (Romans 3:23-26)

• Oh, and the "specific time?" Jesus was crucified during Passover and died about the ninth hour. That's 3 p.m., the time of the evening sacrifice. Pretty specific. (Mark 15:34-37)

Even the Passover Seder dinner celebrated by the Jews to this day is laden with references to Jesus, the Messiah.

I love the fact that all this is just one of the many parallels and predictions pointing toward Jesus. He fulfilled over 300 Biblical prophecies, and the odds of one person doing so have been calculated to some astronomical multi-trillions number I can't begin to type.

In all this, we see His mercy and compassion, and we remember that He didn't forget the most important detail—His triumph over death.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you." And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me."
-Matthew 28:5-10
Details really are important to God. And every detail of your life really does matter to Him. After all, He did all this for you if you truly believe.

Resurrection Day blessings! :)

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