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For the runners who made it and didn’t make it across the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
May all who died due to the bombing be resting in peace, all injured healed, all those whose lives have forever been physically and psychologically altered find peace, and may all broken hearts be mended.
*Image found on the web*
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
“Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
“Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand.” Exodus 13:3
In our day-to-day lives, the word passover is broken up into two words that are typically associated with events like being “passed over” for a promotion, or “passing over” a certain stage in our lives. For many Jews and Christians, these words are cemented together to describe one of the most significant events in the Old Testament.
The Passover holiday commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage by God. Prior to being freed from their captivity, the Old Testament records that the Israelite people suffered horrible abuses from the Egyptian pharaoh’s, leading to an edict to throw all of the male Israelite babies in the river. The Old Testament Book of Genesis is the first time readers learn of the Israelites enslavement by the Egyptians.
Genesis 15 records a covenant made by God with Abraham where He shares details of this future enslavement:
“Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” Genesis 15:13-14
In the Book of Exodus, God chooses Moses to be the vessel He uses to fulfill this covenant promise to Abraham. Moses (with the help of his brother Aaron) approaches Egypt’s pharaoh with God’s desire that he free the Israelite’s from slavery. God struck Egypt with a total of 10 plagues, the first 9 of which did nothing to convince the pharaoh to free the Israelite people from their captivity. God hardened pharaoh’s heart and for the tenth plague vowed to kill every firstborn child in Egypt. Enter the Passover.
To ensure that death would pass over their homes, the Israelite people were instructed to put the blood of a male, unblemished lamb on their doorposts. The death of Egypt’s firstborn children is what led the pharaoh to free the Israelite people, sending them off to the land of Canaan. A decision he’d later reverse, sending the Egyptian army out to stop the Israelite people from entering into Canaan, resulting in the Egyptian army being swallowed up by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-28). After some hemming and hawing, and several twists and turns, the Israelite eventually enter into the land promised to them by God.
Today, the Passover Seder serves as a central ritual in the Passover celebration. This carefully ordered dinner is a time for those in attendance to relay the story of the Israelites exodus from Egypt, to drink 4 cups of wine recalling the 4 times the Israelites were described as being redeemed, to eat foods such as Matzah, and above all, to celebrate the freedom God promised and fulfilled through His covenant with Abraham. Passover is a time for believers to celebrate the power, strength, and faithfulness of a covenant-making, and covenant-keeping God.
Although some Christians participate in Passover Seder meals and activities, unlike the Jewish celebrant, Christians believe that the longed for Messiah, the unblemished Lamb of God, the only One that can reconcile man to God, God in the Flesh, is revealed in the New Testament. For the Christian, the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary is the only sacrifice that will lead God to “pass over, forgive,” sins to all whom repent and place their trust and faith solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
In spite of this MAJOR fork in the road between Jews and Christians, on some level, I think Passover can still serve as a time for these groups to celebrate and praise the covenant nature of God they seek for deliverance.
What is the most significant aspect of Passover for you?