In less than three days, baptized members of the Church of God will observe the annual Passover, by humbly participating in the foot-washing ceremony and by soberly partaking of unleavened bread and red wine, symbolizing the broken body and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. They will deeply appreciate the solemn occasion of this unique festival, reflecting on the death of their Savior and High Priest, who was willing to die for them so that they could live.

They will have examined themselves to make sure that they will not eat of the bread and drink of the wine in an unworthy manner—that they will not be guilty of refusing to discern the Lord’s body. They will have tested themselves to see convincing evidence that Jesus Christ is indeed living within them. They will have reflected on the incredible love which both God the Father and Jesus Christ bestowed on them; and when they participate in the Passover service, they will again be reminded of the great Sacrifice that the God Family was willing to make for them.

In His great love which far exceeds the love of any man, the Father gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish, but could inherit everlasting life.  Jesus Christ was filled with the same godly love. He did not consider it robbery to be equal with God the Father, but He was willing to give up His glory and divinity to become a man; to live and die in the flesh; to struggle against and overcome sin; and to cope with and endure the trials of life.

He knew His fate from the beginning. He KNEW that Judas would betray Him. He KNEW that all—even His closest disciples and friends—would deny and forsake Him and leave Him alone, showing no empathy for His suffering and pain. He KNEW that His own mother and His brothers and sisters would, at first, not believe in Him, thinking that He had become insane. He KNEW that He would be betrayed and delivered into the hands of Gentile sinners and the Jewish leadership. He KNEW that He would be illegally arrested at night, under the “cover” of darkness; illegally “tried”; blasphemed; spit at and hit; beaten under Pilate several times, with more than just 39 stripes at a time.

He KNEW that He would be mocked and tortured and finally crucified to experience a most excruciating death. He KNEW that this trial would be extremely difficult to bear, and He confided in His disciples how distressed He was until His “baptism” was accomplished; and He even prayed that if it was possible, that “cup” would be taken away from Him.

It is terrible enough when a guilty person has to suffer such a cruel and inhumane “penalty,” which only the sick, Satan-inspired human mind could have concocted; but Jesus was completely innocent, even by the legal standards of man. His arrest, “trial,” torturous “punishment”  and execution by crucifixion were illegal and in violation of the Jewish law—a blatant miscarriage of “justice” and an abomination in the eyes of God.

And Christ KNEW it, ahead of time! He KNEW that evil selfish power-hungry hypocritical men would kill Him under the disguise of false accusations. He KNEW that He would be “taken from prison and judgment,” and illegally murdered instead. He was willing to accept this fate as a humble, quiet “lamb”—and He did it for you and for me. He was willing to die for our sins, paying our deserved penalty on our behalf. Even though technically, Romans and Jews killed Christ, in reality, we all killed Him. We all brutally participated in and consented to the illegal arrest, “trial,” torture and murder of a completely innocent man—a “righteous man”—GOD in the flesh. We all killed the One who created us—the One who gave us our very life! THAT IS WHY converted members of the Church of God deeply and soberly reflect, before and during the Passover service, on what they did to Christ, and what Christ did and does for them.

Even though this occasion is a memorial of His death, it is also pointing to the joyful time of His return. On every Passover evening, we proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Even before Christ entered into the final hours of His human life—a life which was rejected by all—He focused on the time of joy which would follow. It was for the joy that was set before Him, that He was willing to endure the cross and despise the shame; and He told His disciples, before going together to the garden of Gethsemane to face His merciless accusers and enemies, that His joy would be in His people.

When we participate in the Passover service within a few days, let us deeply and humbly reflect on its fundamental and momentous meaning: God became man to suffer and die for us—the Righteous and Just for the unrighteous and unjust—so that we, who were the enemies of God, could become His friends, experience healing and ultimately everlasting life with Him in His very Family. That is LOVE—the love of GOD.

©2024 Church of the Eternal God