This is a holy week for Christians. This past Sunday marked the celebration of Jesus’ triumphal entry of Jerusalem to the shouts of “Hosanna!” This Friday is when we observe his crucifixion before the chants of an angry mob. How’s that for a dramatic drop in the polls?
Easter is a moveable feast. The calculation of its date was set long ago, but the gospels place the events of Easter at the time of the Passover. The gospel of John actually puts the crucifixion on the day set for the slaughtering of the lamb. This weekend represents the centerpiece of the Christian faith–the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
The blood that He shed has made a way for us! He is both our Passover Lamb and the Sacrifice of Atonement. Two Jewish holy days came together in Jesus. The Passover celebrates the deliverance of the Hebrews from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. The Day of Atonement was set up for the high priests to present blood for the sins of the people. Jesus presented his own perfect blood in the heavenly tabernacle as our Great High Priest.
7 … For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. (1 Cor 5:7 NIV)
19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek. (He 6:19-20 NIV)
24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (He 9:24 NIV)
Strict guidelines were given for the high priests to present sacrificial blood on the Day of Atonement. Only the high priest could step behind the curtain into the Holy of Holies beyond the eyes of man. The truth of the matter was that he might die in the process. A rope would be tied to him so that he could be pulled out if that happened. However, if he walked back out, then everyone knew that the sacrifice was accepted.
When Jesus died, he also performed a priestly administration of blood, which had to be carried out beyond the eyes of man. There was only one place he could do that, so he stepped beyond the curtain of death itself. He administered his own sacrificial blood in God’s presence. Then he walked back out! The resurrection of Christ is so much more than a wondrous miracle. When this Priest walked back out of death’s curtain, it proved to all that the sacrifice was accepted.
17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1 Co 15:17 NKJV)
Thank you Mel Gibson for providing us with such a powerful picture of Christ’s passion. This Friday (and every day) let’s look to the cross for God in his great mercy has forgiven us. Then let’s rejoice on Sunday that Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted. His blood is sufficient for all time.