He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
Several years ago, TIME magazine held a debate between Christian geneticist Francis Collins and evolutionary biologist and atheist Richard Dawkins. The two men debated the origins of the universe, and in his concluding remarks, Dawkins said, “[A supernatural intelligent designer] does seem to me to be a worthy idea. Refutable–but nevertheless grand and big enough to be worthy of respect. I don’t see . . . Jesus coming down and dying on the Cross as worthy of that grandeur. . . . If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”
In a way, Dawkins actually made a case for Christianity. If Christianity were a manufactured myth, it would be a lot more grandiose than God coming in human form and dying on a wooden cross. Wouldn’t you have come up with a better story than that? The fact is, as Paul said, “the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18).
That is the simple message Jesus illustrated through the ritual we are going to study as we look forward to Holy Week. Let’s pick up the story in Luke 22:1: “The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching.”
The Passover meal commemorated the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt thirteen hundred years earlier. God sent ten plagues to persuade Pharaoh to let His people leave; for the final plague, God sent His angel of death to kill the firstborn in every household, both Egyptian and Israelite. But God offered a way out. He said, in essence, “If you take the blood of an innocent lamb and sprinkle it on the doorpost of your house, when I see the blood, I will pass over you in judgment.” The Passover meal celebrated God’s provision of a way to escape His judgment.
The Passover meal was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In Egypt, God told the Israelites, “You have to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. You are going to need some bread for the journey, but do not leaven the bread–you do not have time for it to rise.” And God established this weeklong feast to commemorate the event (Exodus 12:14-20). So Jesus and His disciples, like thousands of other Jews, went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. But Jesus was planning to give this symbolic meal a brand-new meaning.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “ In Remembrance Of Me” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.
David Van Biema, “God vs. Science,” TIME, November 5, 2006, https://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1555132-1,00.html.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.