How is everyone? Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend. This is the day that the Lord has made, be glad and rejoice in it. Even in our trials and tribulation. Amen! Jesus holds the keys to everything and we have access to those keys.
This weekend we are remembering the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When the sinless, faultless Son of God, laid down His life for all of humanity, so that we would not come under the judgment of a Holy God. That we would have new life, and in that life, live that life in the full abundance of His promises toward us who believe.
Jesus knew that the wages of sin was death, but by the shedding of His blood as the spotless Lamb of God, as the Passover Lamb, just as the Angel of Death passed over the children of Israel in Egypt, the wrath of God, the judgment God would pass over those who believed in Him as their Savior.
This weekend can be said to be the greatest in Christendom. It was when a Holy God, forsook His one and only Son to die on a tree, to reconcile His fallen creation back to Him, all done as the ultimate act of love.
Tonight I would like to continue with our series on the Feasts of God, where we will fittingly close out Passover that I began last week.
Tonight as we meet, we just ended day 15 of Nisan, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. In Leviticus 23:
God said to Moses, “In the fourteenth dayof the first month, between the evenings, is Jehovah's Passover, 6 and on the fifteenth day of the same month isthe Feast of Unleavened Breadto Jehovah. You must eat unleavened breadseven days.
And to recap, there are three feasts during this period of Feasts established by God. Many call this the Feast of Unleavened Bread because that feast covers 7 days, but God established three distinct feasts that we read in Leviticus. Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits. Last week I called it the Feasts of Passover because they are all interconnected with the Lamb of God.
The Passover is a feast that showed the Hebrew people how to know God and walk with Him which gave them peace. It was also a picture of the coming Messiah who would take away the sins of the world.
Yesterday, Friday at ~ 6pm ended the 14thDay of Nisan, The Pasach (Pay Sock) the actual Passover. Passover is one day. It was at 3pm on Friday of Nisan 14, that Jesus would die from His crucifixion on the Cross, just at the same time, unblemished spotless lambs would be sacrificed in the Temple.
Jesus died and was removed from the Cross before the end of the day, as God had laid out 1500 years earlier. It has been ~ 1,988 years give or take a few days since Jesus death and resurrection.
The Feast season was a “dress rehearsal” to the Jews of the coming Messiah.
For 1500 years, they would follow a process laid down by God Himself that would give them the visual aid to recognize His Chosen Messiah who would not just cover their sins, but take them away.
The Calendar that God established with Moses the Children of Israel would follow, would help them know the dates of seasons to harvest and to celebrate His feasts.
I ended the message last week at the point where Pontius Pilot, the Governor of Judea found Jesus to be totally blameless fulfilling Exodus 12:6. It was where the Jewish people were to keep a spotless lamb for 5 days to view the lamb to see if there was any imperfections or faults.
As we read in the scripture, Jesus was the spotless Lamb of God, who was blameless, faultless, sinless, Holy and pure. He fit God’s description of the spotless Passover Lamb.
So now after Pontius Pilot bows to the Jewish leaders, Jesus would be sacrificed to fulfill Exodus 12:6-7 where it says:
6 cont. “And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it(Speaking of the Lamb)in the evening.
7 And they shall take someof the blood and strike on the two side posts and upon the upper door post of the houses inwhich they shall eat it.”
An example where Jesus would shed His blood for us on the Cross.
1 Peter 1:18-19: "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect."
And it is striking that the doorway to the front of the home was covered with blood. Jesus said in:
John 10:9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."
So Jesus is delivered to be Crucified on Nisan 14, Passover. Fulfilling what was laid out by God the Father 1500 years earlier. In Luke 23, is the story of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ where her is hung on Cross between two thieves. And it states in:
Luke23:44,“And it was about thesixth hour(which was noon), and there was a darkness over all the earth until theninth hour(which was 3pm). 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in the middle. 46 And crying with a loud voice, Jesus said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. And when He had said this, He breathed out the spirit.
So Jesus died, exactly when the sacrificial blameless and blemish less lambs of Passover were sacrificed fulfilling the Passover Feast. For the Jews who did not believe, they continued in their ritual, waiting for their Messiah to come, and for us, the fulfillment.
And for a moment, because of the what Jesus did Luke 23:46, I would like to move on to something I left out purposely from last week. It was about Jesus with His Disciples eating together for the last time.
Luke 22:7-8, “And the day of the Unleavened Bread came, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat.”
So we see Jesus participated in His last meal before He became the Passover Lamb of God. And as we know, during that meal, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper.
It was a time to remember the broken body of the Lamb of God and the blood that was shed for us. During the Passover meal, the unleavened bread was eaten, and wine was consumed.
It was the representation of the broken Body of Christ and His shed blood.
We take the bread and the wine of the Seder meal which was very a very important piece of the meal, and as Jesus commanded us we follow Him in this Communion which we now consider to be a Sacrament of Church, an observance ordained by Christ.
We correctly participate together in Holy Communion to do as Jesus said in Luke 22:19, “do in remembrance of Me. “
Remembering our deliverance from bondage by the blood of the Lamb, and remembering what Jesus did for us dying on the Cross and shedding His blood for us to be not only free from sin, but also free from the bondage of this World.
So at this time, I would like us to remember what Jesus did. I would like us also to participate together in what Jesus established ~1988 years ago. Communion.
This is an open communion. Anyone can participate, but I truly believe that it is important that just as God said for individuals to participate in the Passover Feast, they had to be circumcised physically as sign of the outward appearance that they had made covenant with God.
We believe in the circumcision of the heart. Believing that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, and as the Apostle Paul made quite evident in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 saying:
1Co 11:27, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.”
So let us examine ourselves now before God, before beginning the Communion.
1Co 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
Let’s continue again with the Word. So Jesus was in the tomb for three days and three nights. Jesus had earlier spoken of this to His disciples of a sign by the prophet Jonah where he would detail his death.
Luke11:29, “But the crowds pressing on Him, He began to say, This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 30 For as Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites, so also shall the Son of Man be to this generation.”
Jesus implying how Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, just as He would be in a tomb for three days and three nights. And just as Jonah was given life again, as was said in Jonah 2, out of the belly Sheol God heard his voice and he was vomited on dry land, so would Jesus be raised from the dead on the third day. Just as Jonah was a voice of repentance to Nineveh, Jesus was to the Children of Israel. The difference being, Nineveh repented, Israel in the most part did not.
Concerning the tomb, Jesus had to be in it for three full days and three nights. Why? Tradition. And I know that I spoke of this sometime last year in a sermon.
In Jesus time, people believed that when people die, their spirit or soul hovered over the body for three days and three nights deciding if it wants to depart to the next world or re-enter the body.
So Jesus, would not be considered fully dead until passing 72 hours. If you remember, Jesus when He heard that Lazarus was sick in John 11, stayed two more days where He was so that Lazarus would be in the tomb for 4 days, and Jesus raised him from the dead. So there was no doubt on the death and resurrection of Lazarus.
So Jesus’s body was taken down from the cross on the 14thof Nisan before sunset with no broken bones as was prophesied and spoken by God:
“They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones.(concerning the sacrificial lamb) According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.” (Numbers 9.12).
After taking Jesus body down, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus in John Chapter 19, took the body of Jesus down, cleaned him, bound him with strips of linen and anointed His body with 100 pounds of spices, put His body in a tomb at the close of the next day. The 15thof Nisan, the 1stday of the feast of the Unleavened Bread. Let’s talk about that feast.
The Feast of the Unleavened Bread
The Feast of the Unleavened Bread is where:
On the evening afterPassover God told the Hebrew people exiting Egypt not to allow their bread to rise, but to grab everything and leave. The ancient peoples used to gather yeast on grape leaves to leaven their bread if they needed to speed up the process, but God said "Don't even let any leavening touch the dough. Just bake it and go."
In their haste they grabbed the necessities and fled toward the land God was preparing for them. God then told them that in the future they were to commemorate this feast by getting all yeast out of the house for seven days. After gathering up the yeast, the yeast was to be burned up outside the home.
The Yeast represented sin. Even though the Children of Israel cleaned their homes of yeast, they could not get every piece, because even in the cleaning process, yeast was in the air. So really it reminds us that we cannot on our own remove our sin, even with the best intentions. Also, the blood of a spotless lamb could only cover the sin, not remove it.
When the Children of Israel made unleavened bread it was flat because it had no yeast to make it rise. Matzah Bread is now the representation of the unleavened bread, and it is made in a special way.
It has stripes that look like bruises and is pierced thru, it is burnt with holes in it. The reason for this is to make the bread cook fast, from start to finish in 18 minutes. The bread was called the bread of affliction.
It is a perfect symbolism that God initiated long ago.
Jesus was beaten and bruised and pierced for our iniquities, our sins. Prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah in Chapter 53. He was and is the only sinless person on this planet and His body is represented by the matzah.
Jesus was the Bread of Life from heaven who had no leaven in Him, no sin.
So we need Jesus' atoning blood to cleanse us of those sins. We have to let Him come in to live inside of us, in the form of the Holy Spirit, where He can slowly find all that yeast and "burn it up". He burns up the sin just like the families burned up the left-over yeast outside the home.
This is where we need to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and Messiah, this changes our position with God. It is called justification. It is a judicial act by God who imputes the righteousness of Jesus into us, and we are made innocent.
Romans 3:21-26, “21 But now, apart from the law, the righteousness of God has been revealed, attested by the Law and the Prophets. 22 The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as an atoning sacrifice in his blood, received through faith, to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. 26 God presented him to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.”
This is all part of the Passover. God presented Jesus as the broken, pierced sacrificial lamb and through His death, removed our sins, and pass over our judgement. Amen!
So for three days and three nights, Jesus’s body was in the tomb, but at the end of the third day, when Saturday was over on the 17thof Nisan, after 6pm, here comes Mary Magdalene.
We read in John 20:
John20:1, “Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.”
Mary sees that Jesus is not in the tomb. He is risen! This leads us into the Feast of First Fruits.
The Feast of First Fruits
Jesus was resurrected near sunset at the close of weekly Sabbath, and the beginning of the first day of the week which is during the Feast of First Fruits.
Jesus fulfilled this feast with His resurrection. His resurrection marked the beginning of the harvest of souls who had been apart from God. The Apostle Paul Said in:
1Corinthians15:20-23,“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”
God set Jesus apart to for the purpose of conquering death and providing eternal life for all of those who would believe in Him for their salvation. Jesus rose from the dead, never to die again.
The Feast of First Fruits corresponded with the harvest of Barley in the land of Israel. Barley was the first crop reaped from the winter sowing. This was a feast for the nation to thank the Lord for the coming harvest.
Leviticus23:9-11, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest,
11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.”
It was during the feast celebration at the Temple that Jesus was resurrected. He was raised at the time of the first fruits offering being waved before God.
When Jesus ascended to heaven and came before the Father, He presented Himself as the first fruits from the dead. He is our High Priest who offered Himself in fulfilment of the Feast of the First Fruits. His resurrection from the dead fulfilled what God established in the Feast years earlier.
Since God accepted Jesus Christ as the first fruits from the dead, believers in Jesus are also accepted by God. He will raise us from the dead and give us new resurrected bodies.
The Apostle Paul in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
So as we look back at the feasts of Passover we see that our loving Father in Heaven had a plan for our redemption. A plan for us to be saved. That is what redemption means. To be saved and regain possession and a position with God that was lost with Adam, but restored by Jesus Christ.
It is with no doubt that Jesus is the Messiah, as He fulfilled all the parts of the law as He stated He came to do. He fulfilled it to the day and hour, and that cannot be denied. Nothing on this earth has been laid out, performed over and over, prophesied thousands of years earlier and all fulfilled like what Jesus did.
It again shows us that the Word of God is true. That God does what He says. When He gives life, He gives life abundantly. When He sets us free, we are free indeed. When He gives us eternal life through Christ that Word will stand. All we have to do is believe.
We are to be like the Apostle Paul said of himself.
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yetno longer I, but Christ lives in me. And thatlife I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.”
Yes, our Jesus, who hung on a Cross, shed His Blood and died so we would have new life in Him. God raised Him from the dead, so we could be free from death eternal, but not to look forward only to life after death, but to live life to the fullest until He takes us to be with Him.
Romans 10:9-10, “If you declare with your mouth, "Jesusis LORD," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”