DayBreaks for 3/30/18 – Our Passover Lamb

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DayBreaks for 3/30/18: Our Passover Lamb

From the DayBreaks archive, February 2008:

1 Cor. 5:7b – …For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

There is a saying, “All good things must come to an end.”  Actually, that’s a lie.  Not all good things must come to an end.  Paul tells us that faith, hope and love abide.  The Word of God abides forever.  God is forever.  And for Christians, heaven will be forever.  But I would have to suspect that on Good Friday so long ago, Jesus took great comfort in knowing that all bad things must come to an end, and in fact, as far as His earthly suffering was concerned, Good Friday marked the end.  Anyone who watches The Passion of the Christ must believe that the crucifixion itself, as horrible as it was, must have been welcomed as the end of the road – Jesus knew it would soon be over.

What happened to Jesus?  Was He murdered?  Was He killed?  Was He executed? Was He (as Texans might say), ‘lynched’?  While lots of words might have been chosen, I wonder how many on Good Friday would have said that He had been “sacrificed”?  Probably not many, except perhaps the Three-in-One.

In A Violent Grace, by Michael Card, Mike was musing on the events of Good Friday when he posited this insight: “It was one thing for pastors today to speak of Christ being a substitutionary sacrifice and a propitiation for our sins.  It was another for a priest in Jesus’ day to lay hold of a soft white lamb and slit its throat…For Jesus, it began the night he was born.  The first to come and kneel at His manger were shepherds.  He arrived in the season when lambs were being born – that’s why the shepherds were in the field all night.  The worshiping shepherds saw a baby boy a sweetly sleeping, but they never expected that the lamb who was born that night as a baby was the Lamb of God.  Thirty years later, John the Baptist was standing up to his waist in the Jordan when he saw Jesus approaching.  ‘Look!’ he exclaimed, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’  With those words ringing through the air, Jesus began three years of public ministry…I wonder if one of the last sounds to reach Jesus’ ears during the final hours on the cross was the bleating of lambs.

One thing is for sure: the final sounds Jesus heard on the cross were not comforting.  He did not hear the voices of the crowd shouting “Hosanna!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  He did not hear his followers weeping for him, nor did he hear his apostles words of comfort as he hung suspended between heaven and earth, for they’d all (save one) cowardly run away.  And so, perhaps, with the Passover being observed in the city just across the valley, perhaps the sound of lambs was indeed the last sounds he heard. 

I hope that we will hear the sounds of the Lamb that was sacrificed.  And that we won’t just hear it, but we will take it to heart.  It was my fault that Jesus was on the cross – and it was yours.  The next time He needs us, I hope He will hear us.  He is our Passover Lamb and because of Him, the death angel has passed us over and we live in a new life.

May your Resurrection celebration be a special one.  Listen for the Lamb!

PRAYER: Great Lamb of God, have mercy on us sinners! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

DayBreaks for 2/25/14 – Painting the Doorposts

DayBreaks for 2/25/14 – Painting the Doorposts

Exodus 12:7, 13 (ESV) – Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it…13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

During the sermon on Sunday, the preacher referred to the story of the Passover and how it began. Later on during the day, I found myself pondering the thoughts of the Israelites as they were told what they needed to do in order to avoid a visit from the angel of death.

You know the story: they were to slaughter a flawless lamb and paint the blood on the sides of the doorposts and also on the beam over the top of the door. If they did that, when the death angel came it would bypass that house.

I couldn’t help but wonder: how many of the Israelites that did as they were instructed did so out of fear or out of faith? How many of them really believed the death angel would slide through the streets that very night and they acted because God said it would happen and they believed Him?  How many painted the posts simply because they were afraid and wondered, “What if it is true?” In other words, they responded because of fear of what might happen in case they didn’t take action rather than faith in what God said would happen?

Why do I wonder such things?  Perhaps it is because I see my own lack of faith and am seeking some small comfort and reassurance wherever I can find it. As I tried to put myself in the position of an Israelite father faced with the decision of what to do, I suspect that I might have painted the doorposts more out of fear than certainty. I wouldn’t have wanted to take a chance with my firstborn (or any of my other children).

But here’s what I love about it: I suspect that I would not have been the only one who acted on that basis.  I suspect that there were many who were skeptical, acting out of fear. And what did God do? He honored them regardless of whether they painted the doorposts out of fear or faith.

It is interesting that God never said, “If you paint the doorposts and believe, the death angel will pass by.” God sure does know our hearts, doesn’t He?

I am comforted by this. It seems to me to be a foreshadowing of the prayer, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.”

PRAYER: God, we are trying. Sometimes we act, not so much out of faith, but out of fear, but You still seem to honor that and I’m grateful. Help us mature into men and women who truly believe and who act because we know You are as good as Your word! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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