Easter is a word used by the church to describe the wonderful day, almost 2000 years ago, when Jesus arose from the dead, three days after he was crucified and buried in a tomb.
Jesus was crucified on the Jewish festival day called Passover. Passover commemorated the day that God delivered the children of Israel from their slavery in Egypt (approx. 1,500 BC). God told Moses an angel would pass over all of Egypt to kill the firstborn in each household, if Pharaoh (king of Egypt)did not let the children of Israel go free. Pharoah ignored the message and would not let the people go.
God told Moses to advise the people that the death angel would spare the firstborn of each family that would sacrifice a lamb and apply the blood on the lintel and doorposts of their home and remain in the home until the death angel passed over that evening.
Those families who believed God, and applied the blood, saved their firstborn children (since when the death angel saw the blood on the door frame, he passed over the house and spared their firstborn). But, the firstborn of each family who ignored God's message and failed to apply the blood, died that very evening.
Jesus was referred to by John the Baptist as the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He is also referred to as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the earth (Revelation 13:8). Jesus is our Passover Lamb. He paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in our place, so that our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. However, the blood of Jesus Christ is of no help to save us if we fail to apply the blood to ourselves by believing in Jesus and receiveing Him as Lord and Savior of our life.
Jesus died for us on the Jewish Passover. He rose from the dead three days later on the Jewish festival day known as Firstfruits (the beginning of the spring harvest season) which falls on the day following the Sabbath following Passover. The Bible says that "Christ is risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of those that died". Jesus rose from the dead and promised that all who believe in Him will also some day rise from the dead to live in His presence forever. (1 Corinthians 15:20-26)
It is exciting to understand that Jesus' death and resurrection literally fulfilled these Jewish festivals and to know that God the Father sent Him to earth to be our Passover Lamb, so that we could, by faith in Jesus, be saved from death and receive eternal life!! "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life"!!
In the Bible passages that follow, you will discover many other interesting things about Jesus and His mission to save us from our sins so that we can live with Him forever. As you read and think about these passages, it is our prayer that your minds will be filled with joy and excitement about all that Jesus has done for us, and that you have or will find salvation through Him.
In the Book of Revelation, chapter 5, John the Apostle describes a vision he had concerning a future heavenly event when the Messiah will take the scroll that has seven seals. Only the Messiah has the credentials and has fulfilled the requirements to open the book and to redeem us by taking away our sins.
We can learn much about our Savior, His earthly mission, and our future, by studying Revelation Chapter 5 and parallel scriptures. They provide us with insight about the identity of the Lamb of God, His qualifications to open the book and to be crowned with glory. The passages also explain the wonderful benefit we who trust in Him have obtained because He was worthy to open the book. Those of us who believe in Him will witness first-hand this wonderful event that John told us about.
I hope the following passages will lift your spirits high in the hope and expectancy of God’s promises and the second coming of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, in power and glory!Rev.5:1-14 And I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: "Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and unroll it?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I wept because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, "Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and break its seven seals." I looked and I saw a Lamb that had been killed but was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God that are sent out into every part of the earth. He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne. And as he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense—the prayers of God’s people! And they sang a new song with these words:
"You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were killed, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. And you have caused them to become God’s kingdom and his priests. And they will reign on the earth."Then I looked again, and I heard the singing of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus: "The Lamb is worthy—the Lamb who was killed. He is worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." And then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea. They also sang: "Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever." And the four living beings said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped God and the Lamb.
Isaiah chapters 52 & 53 give us a prophecy, written about 700 years before Jesus was born, about the mission of the Messiah, the Lamb, that would be sacrificed for the sins of the people, so that they could be redeemed.
Isa 52:13 See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. Many were amazed when they saw him—beaten and bloodied, so disfigured one would scarcely know he was a person. And he will again startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence. For they will see what they had not previously been told about; they will understand what they had not heard about.
Isa 53:1-12 Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal his saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed!
All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins—that he was suffering their punishment? He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.
But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.
Isaiah asked the all-important question, "Who has believed our message? In the Bible we are told that those who believe Isaiah’s message and put their trust in what the Messiah has done on their behalf, will receive forgiveness of sin and God’s most special gift, the gift of eternal life. Consider and meditate on the following passages:
The Lamb of God
John 1:29-34 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel." And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."
Rom 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For "no human being will be justified in his sight" by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin.
Righteousness through Faith
Romans 3:21-26 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.
Christ’s Sacrifice Takes Away Sin
Hebrews 9:22-28 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the sketches of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves need better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made by human hands, a mere copy of the true one, but he entered into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for mortals to die once, and after that the judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
1 Peter 1:18-21 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
Acts 4:8-12 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is ‘the stone that was rejected by you, the builders; it has become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."
And the disciple John declared:
1 John 5:9-13 If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
Please join us in celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of our great Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. We praise Him, worship Him and thank Him for the salvation and eternal life that we have been given through faith in Jesus…
for He alone is worthy!