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BE READY for Passover
Are we getting ready for Passover – or will it be upon us before we realize it!? Every year there are some of God’s children who say, “Wow, is it Passover time already?!” – and they’re caught off guard. They forgot! It’s nowhere on their MARCH calendar but when they look at April – wow, there it is! Yep, Passover is almost here! It seems like yesterday that we were at the Feast of Tabernacles, right? It’s true, the holy day cycle starts again in just a few weeks as I write this.
DON’T be or remain among those people who haven’t spiritually or mentally prepared for Passover at all yet. You be ready and be sure you do a thorough SELF-examination (read 1 Cor. 11:27-29) as we’re told to do and then after that, take the Passover. You examine yourself; you repent of areas where you could fight sin more, start doing so – and then take the Passover. And sure, be thinking about deleavening your home, but more importantly – deleavening your LIFE. The hidden and secret sins of our lives, as well as the obvious sins, is what the leaven largely points to.
BUT I BELIEVE TOO many of God’s children have made Passover – and the foot washing, bread and wine service – just another ceremony. Passover must NOT become “just another ceremony” – when we meet with others, read some scriptures together, wash one another’s feet and take a piece of matzah and a thimble-full of red wine (or for some of you – juice) – and then we go home. It should mean more and be more than that.
Passover DAY in 2020 is April 8, Wednesday. For many of the Church of God brethren, they’ll be observing the foot washing and the bread and wine ceremony the eve before – evening of April 7, Tuesday evening after sundown. Then for them, the Night to be Much Observed will be the following evening, at the end of Passover day, on April 8 after sundown, starting the first day of Unleavened Bread, a “high day” holy day. Remember God’s days begin and end at sundown.
The days of Unleavened Bread are Thursday April 9 starting the evening before, through Wednesday April 15, ending at sundown.
April 9 – the first day of Unleavened Bread and April 15, the last day of Unleavened Bread, are both holy days of God, and annual sabbaths (Leviticus 23:1-4). much like the weekly sabbath except on the annual holy days, cooking is expressly allowed. On these annual holydays, we do not go to work but worship God together instead (Lev. 23:4-8).
But Jews and those who strictly follow the rabbinic calendar will be keeping the Seder/Passover on evening of April 8, Wednesday evening, 2020. And this will also start the Days of Unleavened Bread, when we all eat Matzah for 7 days. Jews often add an extra day on their holy days to “be sure” they are on the right day. They do not do this on the fasting day of Atonement however.
But either way, Passover season is almost upon us and we need to be prepared spiritually even more so than physically. Are you pondering how profound the Passover is – and how profound is the blood of Yeshua covering and cleansing us? You’ll read more about that today.
Have YOU given much thought to Passover this year? Are we ready to take the bread and the wine in a worthy manner? Have we examined ourselves to find where we are tolerating sin and weaknesses in our lives – and asked our Maker to truly make us a NEW CREATION in Christ?
Passover and its entire season should be much more than a ceremony. We’re called to be personally involved ahead of time in preparation spiritually for it, even more than physically. And DO realize that the whole Passover and days of Unleavened Bread SEASON was eventually referred to – eventually – as “PASSOVER”. We new covenant believers tend to separate them as Leviticus 23 does, but they eventually were seen as the season of Passover.
Ezekiel 45:21 calls the “Passover, a feast of seven days”.
Luke 22:1 – “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called ‘Passover’, drew near.”
Now back to preparation. If you’re not on your guard – ESPECIALLY if you’re not – this is the time Satan will do his best and his worst to have you and me commit terrible sins that will so discourage us that we might even conclude we can’t observe the Passover this year, for we conclude we are unworthy of being a part of it. Please read that again. OR, Satan will put so many distractions (Corona virus? Health issues, setbacks) in front of you that you spend little time thinking about God’s love – and once again, we come to Passover ill prepared spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Something “more pressing” grabbed our attention.
And if you’re feeling more spiritual attacks than ever, more temptations than usual, more crises and distractions popping up than normal …. Yep, Satan’s working overtime to get you to feel defeated and just want to give up spiritually! So often that is what happens prior to the spring and fall holydays especially. So read this blog carefully and let’s have the most meaningful Passover we’ve ever had. We children of God are called to be spiritual warriors against Satan and his ways.
Or are you feeling like Passover seems suddenly almost here – and you are unprepared? If that is what’s happened, resolve to make changes so it never happens again. Mark “preparation time” on your calendars a month before next year’s Passover season. It’s our own fault if we’re unprepared. But frankly it’s also a reflection on your ministers if that happened. Pastors should be discussing Passover-related topics for the next few sabbaths (as we are in this blog and upcoming sermons before Passover). Regardless, you decide each year when you mark up your calendars and E-calendars, to note 3 or more weeks before Passover each year, to start thinking heavily about God’s love for me and for you.
So here’s my point: If you’re among those keeping it in April, and you realize it has come up so quickly and you feel caught off guard, this blog is for you!
God’s people must NOT, must NOT, let the pivotal event in all human history since Adam and Eve were created, to “sneak up” on us or catch us off guard.
And men, husbands – LEAD your family in preparation and announce that “Passover is just x-number of days away, and so let’s all be spiritually thinking and preparing for it.” You’re the head of your family under Christ, so lead. Maybe you can ask for volunteers in your family to share something they’ve each studied about aspects of Passover with the whole family. Fathers - lead them. Protect them from being caught off guard.
Click on “Continue reading” for the remainder of this vital topic and what it pictures and how Christ’s blood continually cleanses us, all the time.
Remember that Passover pictures the sacrifice of the Son of God, called “the Lamb of God”, who himself was also God (John 1:1-3, 14), who gave his life to pay the penalty for your sins and mine and of the world (John 1:29) so that humanity would not all have to individually die for each and all of our own sins.
This event, this spilled holy blood of the Lamb, broke the back of Satan’s tyranny and claim over us, pictured by the death of all the first born in Egypt. That 10th plague broke Pharaoh’s hold on Israel.
The Passover paid the ransom for sin, paid the penalty for sin, soothed God’s wrath over all our sins, and cleansed each of us from all of our sins. ALL of them, bar none. ALL of them, no matter how horrendous they were (1 John 1:7, 9). If you and I deeply repented of each of our sins and our failings and then came humbly before our Maker and confessed our sins and accepted Yeshua of Nazareth as the promised Messiah (Anointed One), then ALL of our sins are washed away in his blood. For forever and ever.
This absolutely requires that we repent and continue to repent daily, to confess, and turn from our sins – and then call on the name of Yeshua (Jesus), for there is salvation in no other name (Acts 4:12). Be sure you speak out the words of accepting your Savior as your savior! Then we gave up our old self – pictured by full immersion (not sprinkling) in water as we buried our old self and our old way of living and came up new and risen in Christ’s perfect life (Romans 6:3-6).
So upon baptism by water IMMERSION we were baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ. “For by one spirit were all baptized into one body…and have all been made to drink into one spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). These are the thoughts that should be filling our minds in the next few weeks as we prepare for Passover.
Into whose body were we baptized? Of course, it’s The Messiah’s body. “We, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another” (Romans 12:5). So now we are seen as “members of HIS body, of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph 5:30). “His body, which is the church” (Col. 1:24)—and ourselves individually as members of that body.
We are part of HIM, folks. The Bible speaks repeatedly of how we are “IN HIM”. So if you think of your own body and your own blood, your blood is coursing through your whole body, giving nourishment and cleansing your body from head to toe, literally, non-stop.
This is a HUGE point to grasp; one not often preached – that the cleansing is continual.
Well we are now part of His body and so HIS blood CONTINUES to cleanse us (1 John 1:7, 9). Just like YOUR own blood cleanses YOUR body when you cut yourself and infection begins. Your blood immediately sends out white blood cells and attacks the infection, protecting and cleansing your body. God’s blood does the same for the parts or members of HIS own body – you and me. His blood at Calvary forgave us of all our past sins. Now as we live in him, He continues to cleanse us as long as we continue to stay attached to him, to abide in him as John 15 tells us. Remember life is in the blood. He spilled his blood for me and for you.
Apostle Paul also wrote about how personal Christ’s sacrifice was to him. He speaks in Galatians 2:20 how his Savior “loved ME and gave himself for ME”. Paul didn’t see it simply as the Son of God dying for the whole world – which is also true for each one who accepts his sacrifice; Paul saw it as God’s son dying for HIM personally. He focused the fine point of that death right on himself.
When God looks down upon his children, does He see all of us coming under His son’s blood? This has to be as real as the Israelites coming under the blood of the Lamb.
Remember what God said in Exodus 12 – “When I see the blood [splashed on the door posts and lintels of the houses], I will PASS OVER you” – and the people in that household were spared (Exodus 12:13). WE – when we repented and answered our Creator’s call – also came under the blood. God must see us as people who take this all very seriously.
So, ARE you ready for Passover? You do NOT want to be taking it in an unworthy manner or unworthily. We need to give it careful thought. We need to be sure – ESPECIALLY these days as we come up to Passover – that we’re not casually accepting ANY sins in our lives. Many of us have had “secret sins” that we never tell anyone about, and most people don’t know about. But God knows! And billions of angels know. So now is a time of purging, cleansing and renewing the washing of our lives as we come to beautiful Passover.
You’re ready to drink of his cup and eat of his bread broken for you -- if you are very soberly thanking and praising Yeshua for his great work in your behalf. You’re ready if you’ve been giving thought to Passover the last so many days or even weeks. You’re ready if you have examined yourself and realize – “Boy do I EVER need the washing and cleansing of his blood over me”. Paul says AFTER we have examined ourselves, “so LET him drink of the cup” and eat of the broken bread.
“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. But let a man examine himself, and SO LET HIM EAT of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment on himself, no discerning the Lord’s body.” (1 Cor. 11:27-29).
We don’t examine and then decide we are unworthy. No, no, no. Ultimately just the Lamb is worthy. But when we are IN him, as we are – by His Spirit – we too become worthy because we are a part of Him, his holiness, HIS perfection, HIS righteousness. But we never, never take this lightly.
We diligently put out leaven – but be sure you are even MORE diligent in putting out spiritual leaven. SO many spend hours deleavening but just minutes on their knees as they spiritually make sure no leaven (sin) has started to creep back into their lives.
That’s what the physical leaven points to: SIN, in all its many disguises. Be sure right now you’re fighting sin and temptations in your life. Be sure you are cleaning out the crevices of your heart. Be sure you’re shining the light of his holiness into the dark corners of our inner being. Be sure you’re looking behind every action you take and word you speak – that there’s not a sinful motive (more leaven) hiding behind what seems to be perfectly acceptable. You know what I mean: so many times we think a cupboard has been deleavened only to find some more leaven at the bottom of a stack of boxes. What had seemed deleavened – was still leavened! Our seemingly good works may have dark motives behind them… be sure you are clean.
Be sure your focus is on the spiritual elements of this season way more than the physical parts of it.
We were washed at our after-repentance baptism, but we also still do the annual foot washing each Passover to remember that the cleansing process is ongoing as we wash the dirt off one another’s feet. Sure, the foot washing also reminds us to be humble and to serve one another, as well as to keep the spiritual dirt of sin off of us – AND, something too many miss –to remember that we are acknowledging that Yeshua has ALREADY WASHED this person before whom we kneel as we prepare to wash his/her feet! And we accept that person as a fully cleansed, forgiven and accepted brother or sister in the body of Christ – no matter what we may have heard negatively about this child of God.
So please – be sure to be taking time to focus on Passover and that means focusing on Messiah! Go to “Search bar” on the home page and type in 2-3 key words, like “Passover”, Crucified with Christ, see the blood, and so on. I suggest you hear my sermon on “Do this in remembrance of ME!” (Christ speaking).
So many believers recount the story of the Exodus and the parting of the Red Sea – but forget that the whole story of the way Israel was saved from Egypt and delivered through the Red Sea. How? By the blood of the lamb over their doorway and threshold – which all pointed to Yeshua and HIS blood, HIS sacrifice as the Lamb of God. So that’s why Yeshua says, “Do this in remembrance of ME” he says (Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24-25).
There are other sermons you might wish to study or listen to – such as:
** CRUCIFIED WITH Christ
** How Christ fulfilled the Passover in minute detail
** Repenting of what you ARE
** “When I see the Blood”
I would also recommend this: if you can – before Passover, spend a day in fasting as you examine yourself, your life, your commitment to the Way to which you’ve been called. But even if you don’t fast, at least spend some time in the days preceding Passover and even after Passover —to recommit to a life attached to Jesus Christ.
Thank you, Messiah. Thank you, our Father, for the love you both have shown for each of us. Help us, dear God, to love you, to obey you, to recommit to you to be far more zealous, faithful, holy, and more trusting of you in the coming year. Help us to let NOTHING distract us from you. Thank you, thank you, dear Abba, our dear Father. Thank you Yeshua.