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Friday, November 5, 2010

11/5/10 Luke 22:1-6 The Passover Lamb

In November we will be looking at the Passion (suffering and death) of Christ.  It is a key concept for Christians, and should be studied any time of the year.

 1 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

(The Adoration of the Lamb- Jan Van Eyck- Ghentt altarpiece)

Thoughts: Each year at Passover, a good Jew always says, "Next year in Jerusalem."  One estimate of how many celebrated Passover in Jerusalem in the first century was 2.7 million (265,000 lambs sacrificed, according to Josephus,- one for every ten people).  The Feast of Unleavened Bread began the week before the Passover and ended with the Passover.  Jesus longed to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem, but also knew the danger awaiting him there.  He was to be the Passover Lamb (Ex. 12; 1 Cor. 5:7b). The Passover Lamb was sacrificed to protect God's people from the angel of death.  John the Baptist at the beginning of Jesus' ministry said about our Lord: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29).
At the same time that Jesus was on the way, the chief priests and temple officers sought to kill him.  The commentary in Luke is that Satan entered Judas- one of the twelve.  That is a fearsome thought in and of itself- that the devil could use one of the twelve to betray Jesus.  Yet, despite the devil's efforts, the chief priests' efforts, and Judas's efforts, the Lord triumphed.  The betrayal of Jesus was a horrible thing- but God used it to enable his people to be forgiven of their sin by The Passover Lamb.

Prayer: Deliver us from the evil one, Lord.  Keep me from being used for evil purposes, and help me to honor you this day.  Forbid it that I would betray you, my Lord- my sacrifice.

John Calvin abridged: God appointed that His Son should be offered as a free sacrifice on the day of Passover that the reality and the shadow be seen together.  When Luke says that "Satan entered him" it is not as though the Holy Spirit was there before, but that Judas gave himself fully over to the cause of Satan, desperately seeking the destruction of the Christ. Satan enters into the reprobate when he takes possession of their senses, overthrows the fear of God, extinguishes the light of reason, and destroys every feeling of shame.  It appears that the cause of Judas' evil is greed, which Paul says is the root of all evil.  This shows us that we should repent and not harden our hearts to be used of Satan.  How monstrous it is that people who are designed to be the image of God and the temple of the Holy Spirit should not only be turned into filthy stables and sinks, but the wretched abodes of Satan.

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