Christ is risen! At Easter we celebrate one of the greatest events in human history – the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. But Easter has a history that goes back 1,500 years before the event of the Savior’s Resurrection. In fact, it is good to start with the meaning of the word Easter, or “pesach” which means to pass by. 3,500 years ago, the Jewish people were in heavy Egyptian captivity and cried out to God to deliver them. The Most High listened to their cries and sent Moses to deliver them. Whenever he went to Pharaoh to demand the exodus of the people from Egypt, Moses was refused and as a result, God punished Egypt with great plagues that were nine in number. Finally, God announced to Moses about the last, tenth, and greatest plague:
Now the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year for you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are, each one, to take a lamb for themselves, according to the fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; in proportion to what each one should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall completely burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this way: with your garment belted around your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in a hurry—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and fatally strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the human firstborn to animals; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will come upon you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. ‘Now this day shall be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. (Exodus 12:1-14 NASB)
Every holy feast left by God bore a triple meaning. First of all, it was a reminder of a great past event such as the Passover – the deliverance from Egyptian slavery. The second meaning was to check each man’s relationship with God, and the third meaning was to point to a prophetic event of great significance in the future. So it was with the Passover – it reminded us of deliverance from Egyptian slavery and pointed to deliverance from the bondage of sin that was possible only through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Golgotha. And just as the blood of the Passover lamb saved Israel from death in the past, so the Lord Jesus was announced by John the Baptist to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Without bloodshed there is no forgiveness of sins. No man has been able to solve the problem of sin on his own, and no animal sacrifice has been able to satisfy God’s justice. Therefore, God alone sent the Lord Jesus (Lamb of God) to take away the sins of mankind. Since then, anyone who believes in Him and enters the New Covenant is born again and inherits eternal life.
Jesus lived on this earth for 33 years, and at the age of 30 he began his public ministry. In the first year of His ministry He came to the temple in Jerusalem, on the feast of the Passover, as all the men of Israel were accustomed to do. In fact, the Lord Jesus came some time before, as they all came to cleanse themselves in preparation for Passover. But when the Savior came, an incident happened. He had to whip and take out of the Temple those who sold and bought there and those who exchanged money. Why so? Because they turned the House of God into a trading house and a cave of robbers. History says that the most important priests had an agreement with those who sold in the Temple and had established a dirty business. When the man brought the animal for sacrifice, the priest had to first check if the animal met all the necessary criteria. If the animal was bought from the city, then the priest disqualified the animal. The one who had come to worship had to return to the city and sell the animal for half the price he had originally paid for it. The man’s astonishment was that when he returned to the Temple, in the yard where the animals were sold, he could find the same animal that was being sold at a much higher price than the one he had originally bought from the city. Obviously, this was a real robbery, and Jesus rebuked them and drove them out of the temple for such acts. Do you see? Some people, even those who claim to be very religious, make the feast of Easter an opportunity to make filthy gain because the pursuit of material things darkens their minds and they cannot see the spiritual riches that were sent by God on this day and that still remain to be received by most people. It is sad to see how some politicians, after all year acting with hypocrisy and cowardice promoting anti-Christian and anti-human laws, at Easter seek to impress the people with all sorts of “godly” deeds. They do this for political and electoral dividends. With such an attitude, the whip of the Lord Jesus Christ is directed towards them. He does not want their death, but a true repentance to be shown in a life lived with true piety and leading to eternal life.
In the second year of His earthly ministry, while the Passover was being celebrated in Jerusalem, the Lord Jesus remained in Galilee where He told the people the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. One day he saw the crowds following him hungry and told the disciples to feed them. Unfortunately, all the disciples were able to gather were two fish and five loaves of bread that they found from a little boy. Jesus commanded the people to sit on the grass, blessed the bread and the fish, and over 5,000 people ate, were satisfied, and 12 baskets of crumbs were still gathered. If you are with Jesus and follow Him wholeheartedly, He will also fulfill your needs for this life. However, people who ate these breads too quickly changed their priorities, or perhaps revealed the true state of their priorities. After doing this miracle, Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee without being seen by the crowd. The next day, all the people crossed the sea and when they found Him…
Jesus answered them and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate some of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (John 6:26-27 NASB)
Since they ate those loaves, the people wanted to have him as their king to supply them with abundant food and they no longer valued the spiritual goods that the Lord Jesus came to bring. He is most interested in the salvation of our souls. All the material things we run after every day are only for this life and none of them can assure or offer us eternity. At his death, the great emperor Alexandru Macedon ordered that his hands be taken out of the coffin so that everyone could see that after conquering the whole world, he would leave without taking a single thing from it. When will we understand this great truth?
May God help us to make an assessment of our priorities this Easter. Let’s research our lives and see what we run after. Let us first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Let’s work for eternal life. May God help us to do so. Christ is risen!
Translated by Liza Bîrlădeanu