The Passover

Dear Brethren,

Happy Passover and Unleavened Bread.  We would like to wish everyone a spiritually fulfilling Spring Holy Day season.  The Footwashing and Passover service is Tuesday evening, April 11th.  Please have an enjoyable Night To Be Much Observed on the next evening of April 12th. And have a meaningful First Day of Unleavened Bread on Thursday, April 13th.

Brethren, when the time came for Jesus' last Passover in His earthly life, things were not shaping up in the way most of His followers expected.   Many, who were close followers and knew Him best, considered that Jesus might be a total failure.  Nothing, it seemed, that He had promised had come to pass.  His disciples dispersed into the night leaving Him all alone to be led away to a lonely death - the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  To those who literally abandoned Him in that dark hour, it seemed that there was nothing left to show for all the hard work of His three and a half years of public teaching and miracles.  Those He was closest to lost faith, doubted, and returned to their old jobs.

But, what was Jesus, Himself, going through?  Remember, He was being sacrificed for them and for us, today.  There was much more to His sacrifice than His physical agony at the time of His death.  The pain of betrayal is the worst pain that exists.  Think about this; Jesus was betrayed - not only by Judas - but by His disciples and by all of us.

Sometimes brethren, for us too, the future looks bleak.  What should we do when our expectations are not met?  It is easy for us to become discouraged and lose faith because things do not work out as we had hoped they would.  Could it be that Christ is allowing us to experience some of what He had to endure for us?  Can we learn another vital lesson - the same one the disciples would learn very shortly after Jesus died?

The extreme physical agony that Jesus suffered was made much worse by the debilitating mental anguish, which burdened Him as a result of the betrayal and abandonment, by his closest and dearest friends.  The deep hurt and profound discouragement that Jesus faced caused Him to beg His Father for relief.  When the grief and suffering seemed to be more than He could take, Jesus prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." (Matthew 26:39)

Brethren, let's admit it, if we had been there, we would have doubted, just like the disciples did.  To them, Jesus had not become the anticipated world ruling King over the Empire of Israel.  He hadn't even established a functioning Church group of true believers.  Those people, who were taught directly by Jesus, didn't have any idea where to go or what to do.  Their little world crashed around them - their hope was lost.  Their minds were not on what Jesus Christ was doing for them.  Don't we find ourselves in similar situations, occasionally?

Jesus Christ is our example.  Have we forgotten what He has done, and is still doing for us?  Jesus is alive and on His heavenly throne - and His Father's Kingdom will soon be set up here on the earth.  Discouragement is natural, but we have His example and the promise that we will be delivered out of our troubles.  "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tested above that ye are able; but will with the trial also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Let us continue with all of our ability, and the help of God's Holy Spirit, to do those things we have been taught to do.  We are a part of the "small flock" as described in the Scriptures.  The words of Jesus apply directly to us today, "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing."  (Luke 12:43)  When we read down a little further in Luke, we see that we should have expected the scattering that we see all about us, "Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division." (Luke 12:51).

These verses are for our encouragement!  We, like-minded brethren today, are to be equating ourselves, with those powerless people that God promises to use mightily. "God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty."  (1 Corinthians 1:27)  Our duty, in humility, is to serve and help one another - even to the extent of laying our very lives down for each other - as Jesus did for us.  "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.  For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."  (John 13:14-15)  Jesus said, "You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.   But it shall not be so among you, but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your servant." (Matt 20:25-26).  This shows us that it is wrong to take advantage of others by wielding authority over them in a forceful way.

Brethren, Jesus Christ does not measure success the same way that the world does.  "The last shall be first, and the first last."  (Matthew 20:16)  Let us be encouraged by the promises that we are never alone as He was on the cross.  "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."  (Hebrews 13:5)  Finally, let us be encouraged by the fact that everything is working out according to His eternal plan.  "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  (Romans 8:28)


Sermon: "Discerning the Lord's Body"
Sermon: "The Old Testament Passover"
Sermon: "The New Testament Passover"

Also see "Passover"