“O come and see, the beautiful God-man hanging upon a tree…”
I was sitting in the prayer room last Monday and I read this verse:
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium [the Roman fortress], and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. (John 18:28)
This verse struck my heart. These Jews wanted to celebrate Passover and so they wouldn’t enter the Roman fortress. Have you ever realised that Jesus was crucified on Passover?
The Passover was and still is the feast celebrating when the angel of the Lord killed all the first born sons of the Egypt to rescue the Jewish people from slavery (see Exodus 12). Back then God commanded His people to kill a lamb and brush its blood on the door frames of their houses. Where ever there was the blood of the lamb the angel of God passed over that house and spared its inhabitants.
When the angel struck dead all the first born of Egypt then Pharaoh set his Jewish captives free. God brought them out into the wilderness of Sinai and met them at Mount Horeb. Here He expressed His heart for them. “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people…” (Exodus 19:4, 5)
Now fast forward two thousand years and the Jewish people are still celebrating the birth of their nation and the day the Lord passed over and delivered them.
Then I had a picture of the crowd who witnessed Jesus’ crucifixion slowly melting away as people hurried home to kill their lambs and prepare for the feast. These Jews wanted to celebrate Passover and yet the true Lamb was dying before their very eyes, left out and nailed to a cross outside the city gates. Oh the irony and the symbolism.
Of the reason for the original Passover God said to Moses, “…then you shall be a special treasure [Hebrew – Seg-u-llah] to Me…” The wrath of God passed over His people because of the shed blood of lambs. The purpose of the true Passover is the same. The wrath of God passed over humanity because of the shed blood of THE Lamb.
In response we are called to hear God’s voice and keep His covenant (Exodus 19:5). That is not language used for servants or even children. That is bridal language. That is wedding language. So that we might be His special treasure.
And if I am and you are His special treasure then surely He will take care of us. Then surely we have nothing to fear. Then surely there is reason for great joy and much hope. Oh God, would you write this truth on my heart and the hearts of many in this nation! May we live out the reality of being Your special treasure!