Friday, 18 April 2014

From Passover to Pentecost: tasting death

The Biblical concept of 'tasting' implies much more than a mere sampling. When the writer to the Hebrews refers to Christ's Calvary passion he shows the real significance of the picture.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. Heb 2:9 NKJV.
Christ did not merely sample death but experienced it in its deepest depths. This is un-limited atonement, for everyone. He experienced death for the whole race. The idea of experiencing something very thoroughly is repeated twice more in Hebrews;
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, Heb 6:4–5 NKJV.
These are sobering words but they apply to people who have truly experienced God.

When Moses 'kept the Passover' (Heb 11:28) the families of Israel were not spectators but participents. Just as Christ did not merely observe the sin of the world but participated in it. He identified himself with what the race had become, being made sin, while knowing no sin. (2 Cor 5:21) We do well to remember that the Passover blood on the lintels and doorposts was symbolic of something that was taking place inside the house;
Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight. And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it. Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails. You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover. Ex 12:6–11 NKJV.
The emphasis in this passage is not on the blood but upon the flesh. The blood, as signifying the death of the Passover Lamb, is essential but it is God who must 'see it';
And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; Ex 12:13 NKJV.
The flesh, the consequence of the death, is for the people; they must participate, they must eat it.

When John recorded the events of Calvary he made the telling observation that, contrary to Roman custom, the legs of Jesus were not broken.
And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken. John 19:35–36 NKJV.
What 'scripture' does John have in mind?
In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. Ex 12:46 NKJV.
John is identifying the crucified Jesus as the Passover Lamb. And Passover Lambs did not die to provide a spectacle for the watchers but to provide the necessary food for the journey into a new destiny. So he tasted my death so that I might taste his.

Luke records that there were spectators present at the cross.
And the people stood looking on. Luke 23:35 NKJV.
Am I a spectator or a diner?

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