“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”. (Luke 22:15 ESV) And sharing this meal with His disciples, he gave them the bread and the drink with these words, “This is my body, which is given for you” and “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19,20) The Jewish people had experienced delivery from slavery on that first Passover. On that day, it had been required that a lamb be slain and the blood of that lamb served as a mark of protection from death. Many Passovers later, as Jesus ate with his disciples, He knew that deliverance was now coming, once and for all, for all people. Deliverance from slavery to sin and death was coming in the suffering, death, and resurrection of THE LAMB OF GOD, the ultimate Passover lamb.
To much of the onlooking world, it seemed the day we call Good Friday was a day of torture, shame and humiliation for the very good teacher and miracle worker called Jesus. It looked as if His life had come to nothing. To the disciples perhaps it looked as if the three years they had spent following him around the region of Israel, Jordan and Lebanon had been a waste and their trust had been misplaced.
It was a bloody day of injustice. An innocent man had been crucified. It was a dark and dreary almost lightless day. It looked like everything had gone terribly wrong for Jesus and His band of followers. It looked like all hopes were dashed. It looked like evil had won!
In reality, what the day is all about is the greatest cosmic battle of all time! A battle for the life of every person who has ever lived or will live. A day when all the sins, atrocities and unjust acts of humankind were laid on one innocent man and the wrath of God was poured out upon Him—so much so that the sun ceased to shine and the ground shook and graves opened up and the great veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom.
But this was not the end; it was an end. It was the end of the seemingly endless sacrifices for sins which the Jews had been making for more than a thousand years. It was the end of any hope for evil to win. It was a new beginning, a gift given to all who would believe and receive the gift. This gift is the gift of salvation from sin to eternal life, the gift of citizenship in the Kingdom of God and adoption by God as His sons and daughters.
And just a few short days later on “the first day of the week” Jesus rose to life. As men and women saw the empty tomb and the resurrected Jesus walking about Jerusalem and the surrounding region over the next 70 days, they discovered that what man had meant for evil, God had meant for good—OUR Good! Hallelujah, He is risen! He is risen in deed!
“And I saw between the throne … and the elders, a Lamb standing as if slain …. the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb …. and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are YOU to take the book and to break its seals; for YOU were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation’.” (From Revelation 5 NASB emphasis added)