The Feast of Passover pictures the sacrifice made by Jesus Christ so that salvation will be available for mankind. Through God’s love and mercy, He sent His Son to die for our behalf. In just a little over a month, we will again keep the Feast of Passover and remember the life and death of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that there are many lessons that we can learn from the feast of Passover. However, I want to focus our minds and hearts on this one question. I believe this is a fitting and timely question that we should all answer and reflect upon.
How much do you and I appreciate the sacrifice and death of our savior, Jesus Christ?
Christ’s suffering started since the foundation of the world
Jesus Christ is a God who was made flesh. He came to this world of sinners as a perfect man who would be slain from the foundation of the world. Ever since the world begun, God’s plan of redemption has already been laid. Jesus has already known that He would have to die for our sins. His suffering started long before He is still in His heavenly throne.
Even before Adam and Eve sinned, Jesus knew that He will one day suffer the most indescribable pain ever known within the human realm. He will be stripped of His powers and live as a lowly human being. Do you know how hard that could have been? Imagining the emotional and physical pain He would go through just to save us?
Jesus’ grew up within a judgmental society
When He was finally born into this world, He was not even born in a decent house, but in a manger together with livestock and animals. He became a man of sorrow. He is known to be an illegitimate and bastard child. In one discussion He had with the Pharisees, the Pharisees say we know Abraham our father, but of you we don’t know. It might have been difficult for Christ to live as a child to endure the ridicule and social stigma put upon Him as an illegitimate Child.
Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights
Before Jesus started His ministry, He has to fast 40 days and 40 nights. Because of the great wonders that Jesus Christ has done, we often forget that He is still a human being who can feel pain and emotion. Can you imagine how weak, dehydrated, and hungry Jesus Christ would have been? I would say that He is in the brink of death. To make things worse, within those 40 days and 40 nights, He was also tempted by Satan day and night! Some of us might have thought that the temptation happened at the end of 40 days, but it is not. Mark tells us that He was tempted 40 days and 40 nights.
When He started His ministry, Jesus is entering an unfriendly territory. He would have to face the established religious system of His day. He will have to face opposition, mockery, ridicule, and shame.
Jesus was abandoned by His family and friends
Another thing that could have been more painful for Christ is the fact that even His townsmen, relatives, family and friends has deserted Him at the moment He needs them the most! While He was still teaching, His family especially His brothers, did not believe Him! His brother would have told Him, “Who are you to teach us what is right or wrong? Who are you anyway? We are just playmate when we are still kids, who you are going to preach to us?
His disciples who have been with Jesus Christ at approximately 3 ½ years was able to dissert and leave Him! For the disciples, it is unimaginable for them to see Jesus being tortured and eventually killed.
It is really true that Jesus will die? The same man who walked on water; the same man who was able to calm the roaring sea; the same man who was able heal many sick people; the same man who was able to cast away demons; the same man who was able to miraculously feed more than 10,000 people; the same Jesus who has raised the dead to life? Will He die a death of a criminal? They could not believe it that even Peter rebuked Jesus Christ when Jesus was predicting His death!
The death of Jesus Christ
Then the day finally came when Jesus will have to offer His body and shed His life for us sinners. Jesus died the most painful death that no words can even describe. Thus, they have invented a word just to describe this type of death. Excruciating – meaning out from the cross! Jesus has to die the death of a criminal. Imagine having to go through all those pain!
Crucifixion is the harshest method of torture and killing in the Roman world. Jesus Christ knowing this was so anxious that His blood turned to sweat. According to modern medicine, this phenomenon is called hemathidrosis where tiny capillaries burst and blood starts to trickle and mix with sweat.
After the arrest of Jesus Christ, He was presented to the high priest where He was bullied, struck, and mauled. After that, all His clothing was removed to prepare the body for scourging. Jesus was then flogged with flagrum which is a device of evil designed to inflict maximum pain on Jesus. As the flogging continues, the whip will first cut through the skin, then the subcutaneous tissues, then the muscles. Blood will ooze from the torn veins and arteries delivering intense pain. Eventually, the back of Jesus Christ will be unrecognizable that it will look like a shred of torn bleeding flesh. When Jesus seems to be near death, then the scourging will stop.
Scourging is so harsh that most people who are condemned for the crucifixion will die well before he is nailed to the post.
After that, Jesus was mocked by the soldiers by clothing Him a robe then putting a crown of thorn on His head. Again, this will result to profuse bleeding. As if that is not enough, the robe was again stripped off from Him leaving His wounds to open again and bleed.
The way to Golgotha is a long and enduring walk. Jesus was at His limit that He did not have the strength to carry the cross. He stumbled and fell. The torture He went through is too much for His human body. When Jesus arrived in Golgotha, He was then thrown against the beam where He will be crucified. The Roman soldier will then palpate the wrist of Christ and determine where he will place the six-inch nail. As the nail was push through the wrist to the wood, the nerves of Christ was crushed sending indescribable pain signal to His brain. This is then repeated to the other wrist, then to the two feet. Each of these nails will surely make any heart to faint because of the pain it causes.
Dr. Metherell, an expert on how crucifixion is carried out, described Jesus’ suffering on the cross with these words: “Once a person is hanging in the vertical position…crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. The reason is that the stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into the inhaled position; basically, in order to exhale, the individual must push up on his feet so the tension on the muscles would be eased for a moment. In doing so, the nail would tear through the foot, eventually locking up against the tarsal bones.
“After managing to exhale, the person would then be able to relax down and take another breath in. Again he’d have to push himself up to exhale, scraping his bloodied back against the coarse wood of the cross. This would go on and on until complete exhaustion would take over, and the person wouldn’t be able to push up and breathe anymore” (Strobel, pp. 265-266).
Let us read Isaiah 52 starting on verse 13 until chapter 53:1-12 to get an idea of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
13Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14As many were astonished at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
15So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is DESPISED AND REJECTED of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was WOUNDED for our transgressions, he was BRUISED for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
The Law cannot save us. It can only tell us what is wrong and right, what sin is and what it is not. The law has pronounced a DEATH PENALTY to all of us. All of us in this world have sinned. Not a single person is perfect and even if you will keep the commandments perfectly from this day on, you will never erase the sin you have committed in the past.
Imagine yourself, you owe a man a debt that you cannot possibly pay and you are given a death sentence. No matter how sorry you are, pleaded to the court, you have done everything just for the court to withdraw the death sentence, and still you will be executed. But here comes the man you have wronged, and he said, I will die for him!
Through the grace, mercy, and love of God the Father, He offered His Son to die for our sin. Can you really do that? If you have a son or daughter, will you let your child die for a criminal? It would surely be difficult for us. Yet, that is what God and Jesus did for us, just to make salvation available for us.
Jesus has to die to blot out our sin. We are the reason that Jesus has to die. Do you know who really killed Jesus? It is you and I.
Let us read Romans 5:6-11.
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Even after Jesus was resurrected, his suffering does not end there. I am sure that you don’t want to crucify Christ anymore, but still we crucify Christ every time we sin. The result and consequences of our sin bring sorrow and sadness to Him and God the Father.
Hebrews 6:4-6 tells us:
“For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are CRUCIFYING once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”
Every time we sin, we are crucifying Christ over and over and over again.
After telling you the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ, can you now see the deeper meaning of Passover? Can you now see how God and Jesus love us to the point that They are willing to give up their lives?
OR are we so used to sin that even our conscience we cannot trust anymore? Are we too comfortable with our sin that we don’t seek repentance and change our lives? Will we come and partake of the Passover this year as a better person compared to the person we are last year?
Let us not become too comfortable with sin, that we don’t see the need to change. I know there is a lot of work to do. There is a lot of growing up to happen. I don’t see myself as better than any of you here. I am as sinful as you are.
Let us HATE sin so much that we don’t want anything to do with it. Let us do our best to fight the good fight.
We are engaged in a spiritual battle, choose your side.
In our battle against Satan, who is winning? Are we winning or we are losing?
We need to wake up each and ask God, pray to Him to help you, help me, help us, to become more like Him and less like us. Let us strive to become worthy to partake of the Passover meal. Let us not present ourselves to be just the same person as before. God expects us to grow. Let us not waste the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our savior. Let us appreciate His suffering and death and our appreciation should lead us to repentance and to commit our lives to Him.