Positive Pre-Passover preparation
Many of you understand that we are to avoid taking the Passover in an unworthy manner, or “unworthily” as KJV says (1 Cor. 11:27-29) but are to first examine ourselves.
What does that mean? Over the years I’ve actually known people who decided not to take the Passover at all because they decided they weren’t worthy enough. This is what is motivating this blog.
What does it mean to take the Passover “worthily” or “unworthily”? If we take it in an unworthy manner, which is apparently very serious – as we will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord (v. 27). But on the other hand, if we don't take Passover at all, we’re still guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, right? For if God Most High does not see the blood of the Lamb of God - His Son -- covering us, do our sins get passed-over (where we get the term Passover from) – Exodus 12:12-13? Remember? “When I see the blood, I will pass over…”
So let’s read it and understand it.
1 Corinthians 11:25-30
“In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.
27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so LET him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the [Lord's] body.”
Click on “Continue reading” to learn more about taking the Passover in a worthy manner.
First of all, in March 2009, there’s a whole sermon dedicated to this very topic. I recommend you study and hear that sermon. In fact, every year – in March-April especially – will be numerous pre-Passover and Passover topics. Topics like “I am Barabbas”, “The Emblems of the Passover (cup, bread, foot washing, etc.), How Christ Fulfilled the Passover in detail, etc. etc. As we come to Passover, there’s a lot you can review there.
And right off the bat, I want to note that upon examination of ourselves (not someone else), it says “so let him eat… and drink…”. The focus of Paul here is not on whether or not we take the Passover, but HOW we take it. We are to examine ourselves so we’re in a proper state of mind before eating of His bread and drinking of His cup.
Because Paul does say to “examine yourself” before eating and drinking of Passover, some decide this means we are to focus on ourselves for several weeks -- focusing on all our failures, existing issues that remain problematic in our lives, sins we’ve committed in the past weeks or year, and commit to doing better in the coming year, then take the Passover.
Is this what Paul is getting at, in context? My focus in this website has always been to focus on Yeshua, our Savior – and not on ourselves. We must examine ourselves even as we keep the focus on Yeshua. I’ll explain as we go along. If our focus is on the self, we will end up either self-righteous (how blind) or very depressed (how blind). I say “how blind” because both would be avoided if we focused on Yeshua!
In context before and after this passage, Paul was addressing HOW the Corinthians were observing the Passover meal and service in Corinth. That’s the context. Some were getting drunk, others were pigging out, while still others had nothing, and nobody waited for anyone. God was not being glorified, and the body of Christ – the poor individual members especially – were being disregarded and ignored, and some were going hungry (see 1 Cor 11:20-22, 29-32). In context, Paul’s talking about examining their mindset and behavior as they came to Passover. Paul wants more consideration for the poor members of the body of Christ and wants there to be more orderliness in the proceedings.
We’re “proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes” – so obviously it’s a time when we come solemnly to drink and eat of Christ. But neither should Passover feel like a dirge or funeral.
So what should we be examining?
---First of all, in context, Paul speaks of examining whether we are “discerning the Lord’s body”. The word “Lord’s” is in italics meaning it wasn’t in the original. But because it’s there in many English translations, many feel it’s talking about appreciating what Christ went through for us. I believe it can include that, but in context, it’s about the wider “body” – the body of believers, who are also “the body of Christ” (Romans 12:4-5). The word “discerning” is translated “recognizing” in other translations. Are you recognizing them, giving them their proper honor due?
But what do we see going on in the Ekklesia today? There’s widespread dishonoring going on as groups refuse to meet together or pastors disfellowship other pastors who are not part of their group. So as a result, in verse 30 we read that many are not being healed and are dying, because God is upset and is judging for not honoring the body of Christ (the individual members). Read it for yourself – v. 28-29-30.
So what can you do to help heal the body and bring people together? Those not gathering are scattering, Yeshua said.
---Examine yourself to see if you remember we were called out of the world, sanctified by the blood of Yeshua – set apart for His holy, set-apart use. Though this sanctification is instant in one regard, we are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord. We are to grow more and more into His image. We must remember we are to be holy, for without holiness nobody will see God (Hebrews 12: 14). So certainly part of the self-examination is to be sure we are keeping the main thing the main thing in our lives and remembering our high calling. We cannot claim to be children of God and continue living a life of intentional sin. So examine that too.
---Another place says to examine yourself to see if you’re in the faith. 2 Cor 13:5
--- Examine yourself to see if you are bringing him glory in everything you do and say – or are mired in terrible ongoing sins that need to stop!?
---Examine yourself to see if you really trust Him. Examine yourself to verify you are focused on HIM and have total and complete faith in him to finish what he started in you (Philippians 1:6), or do you focus on yourself instead of him, and get mired in depression as a result?
---Examine yourself to see if you are grateful for all he has done for you. Examine yourself to see if you are showing appreciation for our Master.
---Examine yourself to see if you are seeking Him with all your heart and letting Him live in you again.
---Examine yourself to see if you are showing true honor and love for Yeshua by honoring the parts of his body: the brethren. All of them. That’s really a main thrust of what Paul is talking about all through the book of Corinthians. A brother or sister is anyone led by God’s Spirit (Romans 8:14), who seeks to do the will of God (Mark 3:31) and who believes in Christ’s life and death and resurrection for us. Are you accepting back into the fold those who wish to come back? Are you reaffirming your love to those who had fallen into serious sin and have repented?
But in all these “examine yourself” statements, I’m pointing you back to focusing on HIM more than on yourself.
It’s usually going to end up being a wrong focus to focus on ourselves more than we do on our Messiah during these pre-Passover weeks. And yet I guarantee that is what so many are doing right now. But doing so will result in you being either self-righteously smug and blind, or very depressed as we see how far short we still fall from the high standards God has set. Hint: perfection.
Paul warns us not to take the Passover unworthily, or in an unworthy manner. We are told to “walk worthy” of our calling but in the end, again – even our worthiness is only in Christ, not in ourselves. Remember that even John the Baptist, whom Yeshua called the greatest prophet, claimed he wasn’t even worthy to loosen Yeshua’s sandal straps (the job of a slave) –John 1:27. Paul felt unworthy to be called an apostle (1 Cor. 15:9). But we’re still called to have conduct worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27), and to walk worthy (Col. 1:10) of our Lord always pleasing him. Also 1 Thessalonians 2:12; be counted worthy of the kingdom (2 Thess 1:5).
In a vision John saw of God’s heavenly throne, the “24 elders” surrounding God’s throne cast their crowns before the throne declaring, “YOU are worthy, O Lord…” (Rev. 4:11). In the next chapter, there was a search for anyone worthy to open a scroll in God Most High’s hand. And NO one in heaven or earth was worthy -- at first (Rev 5:3-4). But finally the Lamb of God came forth amidst great joy as they sang HE is worthy (v 6-9).
When we are IN Christ, as HE is the one worthy, we also become worthy and IN HIM we can take the Passover in a worthy manner. That’s how we take the Passover in a worthy manner: by graciously rejoicing that we have been accepted to be IN HIM.
So Paul is NOT speaking about being good enough or righteous enough so now we can take the Passover. No. I examine myself and decide I really, really NEED this Passover and look forward to the positive message behind the bread and the wine of Passover. I want to be sure God sees the blood of the Lamb over me so He will pass over my sins too. I want to be sure I’m in agreement that all the pagan gods that were in my life (we all have/had them) have been demolished by Yahweh. And as I examine for Passover, I want to examine my own heart to accept that every single one of my sins – and your sins -- have been forgiven – yes, even “that” one. Satan’s head has been stepped on. We’re washed and covered in the blood of Messiah – and when Father sees the blood, He passes over our sins. PRAISE YAH! HALLELU YAH!
In His death, He frees us from sin and from Satan’s bondage. I want us focusing on him and his victory – not on our stumblings. So examine yourself – examine your heart – focus on your Victory in Christ – and take the Passover. And oh yes, one more thing: we will be washing feet again too as we realize – yes, we have picked up some dust since last Passover. And we wash one another’s feet to also acknowledge we accept our brother or sister - - who has been washed by the King himself.
What a wonderful Passover . What a wonderful Savior. What an indescribably loving Father.