It feels strange to approach so close to Easter while still in summer! Now that Jesus has commanded the disciples to make the Passover ready, I can smell Holy Week in this passage, for there is an indescribable and terrible feeling of holiness I feel whenever Holy Week is here.
And why shouldn’t it be here in the middle of August as well, for what Jesus did at the Passover has meaning for Christians every day of their lives?
But it does seem strange. I like strange things, though, because they make me pay attention when otherwise I might not.
Luke’s message that Jesus Christ is the Passover sacrifice, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, is made clear here. It’s all right there in verses 1 and 2. In verse1, Luke tells us that the Passover was drawing near, and in verse 2 he tells us that the chief priests and scribes sought how to kill Jesus. Then again, in verse 7, Luke says “Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.” To us, it is plain that Jesus is the Passover.
We would do well to remember the original Passover, how when God brought judgment upon the house of Egypt the tenth and final plague was the killing of the firstborn, which symbolizes the inheritance and succession of the kingdoms and families of men. There was no escape from this terrible plague of death and extinction, unless the Passover meal was celebrated. This meant taking the Passover lamb, butchering it, eating it, and painting its blood on the doorposts so that the Angel of Death would pass over in peace any household so marked.
The fact is that the Passover was a very active feast for the Jews. It was not just a date on the calendar like Easter may be to some Christians. It was not just a safe, hygienic spectator event like an Easter service might be for some Christians.
No, it was a bloody, active feast in which you saw a lamb killed and ate it. It was a full contact sport, if you will, and it would have been very difficult to be passive about it.
In the first place, the Passover had to be prepared for: it didn’t just happen. Verses 7-13 are all about the disciples preparing the Passover. When the time came, eating the Passover was essential: it was not a voluntary part of the Passover.
This is a picture of how we participate in the true Passover, which is Jesus Christ Himself, the spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Even though all has been made ready by Jesus Christ Himself, who is the Host of the Passover as well as the Lamb, we are called upon by Him to be participants in the Passover. How can we, who made the Passover necessary, expect that we should have no part in the Passover?
Participation is mandatory. First, we must plan to come to the Feast. I think especially this means that we should prepare our lives so that we are ready to partake of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Communion as often as possible. After all, it is the Lord’s Supper that is the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover.
But it also means that we must prepare to participate in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God every single day. The daily Passover of participating in the Sacrifice of Christ doesn’t just happen. The sacrifice is always available, but we must arrange our lives so that we are prepared to come. We must set times, we must say “No” to other things, and we must rearrange our lives. But most of all we must come and participate.
This is signified by Jesus’ words: “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat.”
We are to feed off the Passover Lamb every day of our lives, and not just at Holy Communion. Again, the importance of eating and drinking the Lord’s Supper, every week, if possible, should not be missed. Eating the Body of Jesus Christ and drinking His Blood, are essential for full participation in the life of the Passover Lamb. But there is a daily feeding off the sacrifice as well. Both those who think the Holy Communion is next to nothing and those who think it is next to everything starve themselves and others.
How shall we feed daily? How can we eat the Passover on a daily basis? Remember two things. First, remember why the Passover Lamb had to be sacrificed: for your sins. If you want to participate in the sacrifice, then you must appropriate the sacrifice again, and this means daily confession of sins and daily repentance. But a more comprehensive way is to think of feeding off the Lamb of God. He is your Daily Bread: my devotions here are only a bony John the Baptist finger pointing the Way. He who multiplied the few loaves to feed the 5000 and 4000 is your food for the day, and He will never run out.
If Jesus were walking beside you, telling you to make things ready to eat with Him today, I think you’d do it. The truth is, He is walking beside you today, and He is telling you to make things ready to eat with Him.
By now, I think you know the many ways that Jesus offers Himself to you each day. Go out and celebrate the Passover today by feeding off Jesus in as many ways and at as many times as possible. And yes, snacking is allowed!
I can’t wait until tomorrow, for then Jesus miraculously transforms the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper!
Prayer: O Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on me! Draw me to Yourself today, and allow me to feed off you again. I have grown weak and joyless, and I need your energy and life today. Hear my prayer, and draw me to Yourself that I may feed once again.
Point for Meditation: What are the various ways in which Jesus Christ offers himself to you each day? Are there some means of grace or spiritual disciplines by which Jesus might feed you that you have not been making use of?
Resolution: I resolve today to do two things. First, I will remember that Jesus is the Passover year round. Second, I resolve to prepare this day to meet Him and feed off Him in one way that the Spirit has been telling me I should.
© 2013 Fr. Charles Erlandson
Category: Give Us This Day