The Centrality of Christ
A study in the book of Hebrews
We are in passion week 2021. In a recent weekly time with the kids, we discussed the practice that at the time of Jesus’ passion week experiences, each family, after arriving in Jerusalem for the week long Passover feast, would purchase a lamb for the family. The lamb would go everywhere with the family. And then, a week later, on Passover, the lamb would be slaughtered. The lamb was food for the family meal as well as symbolic of God’s great deliverance of his people from Egypt and slavery. It formed their identity as worshippers and followers of YHWH. It symbolized God’s redemption through the shed blood of a lamb sprinkled on the doorposts long ago.
This is powerful practice and imagery. Imagine a Jewish, Hebrew family, arriving in Jerusalem for the Passover feast. You have this lamb with you for a week, you get attached to it, feed it, care for it, hold it, you know that it’s life will soon be given as a symbolic gesture of God’s deliverance. A substitute, the lamb’s life for my life. And this practice is lived into and celebrated on a yearly basis – a highlight of all festivals.
And then Jesus arrives this particular year for Passover celebration. And unknowing to the people in the city that year, unknowing to even his own disciples – despite the fact Jesus predicted and told them what was necessarily about to happen – his suffering, crucifixion and death, the people did not understand that he was coming to be THE LAMB OF GOD.
The drama, symbolism, and reality of Jesus as THE LAMB OF GOD is powerful and palpable. When Jesus speaks the words at the Passover meal with his disciples, “This is my blood, this is my body,” I don’t think they have a clue what he is talking about. Yet, they soon will.
On Good Friday, we celebrate the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. THE ONE who suffered, was crucified, died and was buried for our sake, on behalf of the entire world. In the Book of Hebrews, we have seen the superior truth of who Jesus is – the fulfilment of all of God’s promises. 2 Corinthians 5:5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Jesus has been made perfect, as Hebrews says, in every way, that we might become the righteousness of God. Unbelievable salvation, the perfect Lamb.
‘Hallelujah! What a Savior!’ So it is that Easter comes 3 days after Passover. The sign of Jonah, the exclamation point on Jesus victory over sin, death, and hell. Again, on our behalf. No greater love or pure grace will ever be known. God’s justice satisfied! The door to salvation is open wide! Just as 2 Corinthians goes on to say, “Now is the day of salvation! Be reconciled to God.” Hebrews gives us much to chew on with this as well, “Don’t delay. Don’t neglect such a great salvation.” Believe it, receive it, live it. Friday (7:00pm indoors) and Sunday (9:30am outdoors) this week, we will celebrate it!!!!!!!!!
It’s a fact, exclamation point, He is risen!