Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reflections from Our Seder Dinner (2)

*Below is a copy of what I briefly shared with our church at our recent Seder Dinner, which we held for FFC families as a way to bring some meaning and insight to the Jewish Passover meal. My role was to twice highlight the New Testament parallels found in Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb, and show how certain elements of the meal were now fulfilled in him.

No doubt the bitter herbs of each Passover meal reminded the Hebrews that, though they were free from Egypt’s penalty – i.e., they wouldn’t die under Pharaoh – they still weren’t completely rid of Egypt’s presence. The effects of their rebellion and wanderings lingered. Their old desires to “go back” at times haunted and hunted them. Life still pressed in on them, and their enemies still sought to “drown” them.

In other words, even in their deliverance, there was still a longing for an even deeper freedom. Not just from the penalty of their oppressors, but also from the presence of their oppressors. This is why the prophets were so important to the Jewish nation – they spoke of a future when God would ultimately fulfill his promise of deliverance and bring about his kingdom in which there would be no unrighteousness.

Sadly, they thought this is what Jesus, in his first coming, came to do. They didn’t understand he came the first time to deal with sin’s penalty. It is in his second coming that he will deal with sin’s presence. This is why the bitter herbs are still an important part of the Passover meal – they remind them – and us – that things still aren't as they will be. Our souls, irritated by the enemy, are engaged in a fight with the flesh, and at times, unfortunately, we sin. Our bodies experience the debilitating effects of the curse brought about by sin. And so we eventually break down. Decay. See what I mean? Things just aren’t what they will be when sin is no longer even around. For sure, at every Passover, as they remembered the bitterness of their past and present, they no doubt looked forward to the future day of final freedom and deliverance – from sin’s very presence.

Not surprising, Jesus fulfills this as well, and he stands is the ultimate end of God’s promises of deliverance. But this specific fulfillment is still yet to come. And not just for them, but us too – we are all waiting for the day when Jesus will forever free us from sin’s presence. And this will occur when he comes again, this time to save us from the very presence and power of the enemy who is deep-down mad that he can’t penalize us!

Again, Hebrews says it like this – “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (9:28)

On that day, Jesus will rescue us, not from a penalty, for that has been accomplished. He will actually deliver us from sin’s very presence. Wow, what a day when we receive a glorified body and no longer battle our sinful flesh, externally or internally.

Till then, we endure through the power of the Holy Spirit, and we work and wait with the comfort of the Holy Spirit. All the while looking for the true Passover Lamb of God to come and fulfill these final promises of deliverance – rescue from the irritating and debilitating presence of our enemy.

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