April 2, 2015—Tonight might look and feel pretty ordinary but it’s the anniversary of the most important event of human history.
In 1447 BC or close to it, on this night beginning Nisan 14, the Israelites huddled in their homes in the land of Goshen. Lamb blood is smeared on the lintel and jambs of their doors. At midnight the death angel passes over them and kills only the firstborn of Egyptians and their animals.
Fast forward to 31 AD, same night, this night. Jesus has instituted His New Testament Passover and shared the new symbols of foot washing, unleavened bread and wine with His disciples in the upper room. Afterwards He removes to the Garden of Gethsemane to mentally prepare for His ordeal He has dreaded since the foundation of the world. He passes His final test of “Not my will be done but yours.”
About midnight He sees the mob torches snaking their way in the darkness to seize Him and surrenders Himself to the worst beating anyone has ever suffered and then to horrifying crucifixion ending at 3 p.m. the next day.
No need to smear blood on the door. His will mingle with sweat, flow from wounds and spurt on the ground. As you wash one person’s feet, be willing to wash anybody’s. As you share the little piece of unleavened bread, thank God for spiritual, physical, mental and emotional healing made possible by His stripes and for being part of His spiritual body, the Church. As you drink the small portion of wine, thank God for Jesus taking the death penalty you deserved and saving you by His shed blood.
The most momentous night. But just the first step in His momentous plan of salvation!
He won’t stay dead!
FUN FACT: There is nothing fun about this long night into tortuous day. Somehow “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith … endured the cross, despising the shame, and has set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). Somehow He saw “the joy that was set before Him.”
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