Sunday School Lesson – “The Passover Lamb is Crucified” Luke 23:33-46; John 3:16

VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 23:33-46; John 3:16 (KJV, Public Domain)

At twilight, at six o’clock that evening (being the time the Jewish day started), the celebration of Passover would begin, and the lamb of the Last Supper would have been killed for the feast (compare Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22: 7-13).  Before twenty-four hours would pass, before this very time the next day, Jesus Christ would hang on the cross and be sacrificed as the Passover Lamb once and for all: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Many things have happened between Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples and His journey to the cross.  Following Luke’s account, not long after that Last Supper, after exposing there is a betrayer among them and squashing arguments of who is the greatest (Luke 22:24), Jesus soon found Himself on the Mount of Olives, in that garden called Gethsemane, where He battled in prayer (Luke 22:39-46).

Soon after, the betrayer arrived in the garden with “a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees” (John 18:3).  The price had been paid, and Judas Iscariot would fully follow through on his part as an informant for the enemy, double-crossing Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:47-48).

After His arrest and the desertion of His disciples (Matthew 26:56), and the denial of Peter (Luke 22:54-62), Jesus stood before Pilate, a man condemned, and yet not condemned.  Not condemned, because there was no sin attached to Jesus or in Jesus that would condemn Him (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).  Even Pilate’s own mouth voiced His innocence with these words: “Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:  No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him” (Luke 23:14-15).

Yet, the Bible tells us, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  For that to happen, the Passover Lamb had to be crucified.

Pilate passed his sentence and condemned to death (Luke 23:24) He that came to bring life (John 10:10). 

Stripped and beaten, crowned with thorns and spit upon, scourged and mocked (Matthew 27:27-31; Mark 15:16-20; John 19:1), he “Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.  And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha” (John 19:16-17).

Jesus and the Cross

Luke 23:33-38 “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.  And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.”

This was His destiny if we want to call it that.  This was the appointed time for Jesus to arrive at this place, this place called “Calvary, this place in history.

“Calvary” was more than a lovely thought in the hymns we sing and the story we pass down, it was a real place, where real pain and sacrifice were experienced.  It was a real place where love would win the ultimate victory.

Before He left heaven, this place, carrying out this plan of salvation was already determined: “But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20; see also Acts 2:23; Hebrews 9:26; Revelation 13:8).  The very details of His crucifixion were recorded in Psalm 22 many years before it happened.

Calvary would be the place where God would satisfy the greatest need humanity has ever known: salvation.  Calvary is the place where “they crucified him,” where Jesus laid down His life on the cross (John 10:18).

Submitting to the Father’s will on the cross would mean things would forever be different.  He had done more than come to change the world, He had come to change the hearts and lives of men.  He had come to “seek and save that which was lost” (Luke 19:40).  He had come to reconcile broken humanity back to the Father (Colossians 1:20; 2 Corinthians 5:18).  The cross made the way for that to happen.

With that, the act of crucifixion commenced.  As His body was forced to lie on that rugged beam, being held in place, the nails were driven in His flesh to secure Him, to punish Him, to kill Him.  Being lifted high, with the weight of His body pulling and being jarred against the tearing of flesh and the pain of the wound of the scourging, He was hung between two “malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left” (we will talk more on them later).

This symbol of our Lord’s cross, posted between two others, is another real symbol in history testifying to the realness this moment demanded.  Our Lord’s death is not a fairy tale or a wonderful read of something lovely someone did for us.  His story is real, with incredibly real details that support the account of what He did for you and me.

Hanging there, Jesus wastes no time in speaking His first words from the cross: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  Jesus refuses to let pain speak for Him.  He refuses to let resentment, bitterness, or anger have a word here.  Instead, love speaks.  The same love that drove Him to the cross (John 15:13) is the same love that is pleading for their forgiveness.  When the course of these events is over and Jesus ascends back to the Father, all who believe in Him will find life and forgiveness (John 14:6; 3:16; Acts 3:19; 2:38).

Earlier, Jesus prayed for His disciples (John 17), and here He prays for the executioners, the nailers, the mockers, the whippers, and for them who yelled, “Crucify Him!” (Luke 23:21).

In an article I previously published titled, Focus Shift, I wrote:

Instead of ranting and raving, Jesus, in His agony and pain sought the betterment of the very ones who were killing Him.  He knew He would die.  He knew the pain would not cease until He did.  This plan was going to go forth.  Yet, He focused on the needs of others rather than Himself.

How awesome is that?  Often, we hear these words during a Seven Last Words service on Good Friday, but can we even begin to imagine the strength and willpower it took for Jesus not to focus on Himself during that time?  For Him to look beyond what He was currently going through to care for and about others?  I don’t think we have a clue.  He immediately pleaded with the Father for their forgiveness.” (©WordforLifeSays)

So, thus, He prayed.

As they “cast lots” for His garment, fulfilling even more prophecies (Psalm 22:18), the response of the very people Jesus just prayed for while in agony was startling.  They “derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”

The “soldiers” too “mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar.”  That old phrase, “rubbing salt into an open wound,” comes to mind when I read these words.

Love lays down on the cross.  Love prays for His transgressors.  Love bleeds in the place of man.  Yet, love is scorned and mocked with wagging heads (Matthew 27:39; compare Psalm 22:7-8), tormenting Jesus with more than the nails in His flesh.  The hurting words of the people must have pierced His heart in a way a sword never could.

Yet, He refused their taunts.  He refused the temptation to leave this appointed place.  He refused to save Himself from this hour (John 12:27).  Remember what He said in the garden?  “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:53-54).

Therefore, He hung, with Pilate’s “superscription. . . over him”, written in “Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Why was Pilate so adamant about keeping his superscription as it was?  The Jewish leaders insisted that he revise the wording by saying, “Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews” (John 19:21).  But Pilate refused and stated, “What I have written I have written” (John 19:22).  What was meant to be a written charge of the condemned became a written testimony for all to see.

Pilate knew they handed Jesus over by unjust means (Matthew 27:18), and they had no real evidence to condemn Him.  Even more startling was his wife’s interruption of the proceedings to send a private message to him, straightly telling him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).

He spoke twice in Luke, “I find no fault in him” (Luke 23:4, 14).  Was his conscience bothering him?  That, mixed with the warning from his wife, could have stirred something inside of him, but not enough to totally release Jesus from this fate.

Was he making a point?  Who really knows his thoughts behind the process, but the words of the superscription, written in the three main languages of the day and region, would stand to proclaim, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Jesus and the Thief

Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

So, there Jesus hung in between the two thieves (Mark 15:27), fulfilling scripture once again, being “numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:28; Isaiah 53:12).

Originally, both thieves had a thing or two to speak out against and challenged our Lord, and “reviled him” (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32).  Jesus was truly taking a battering on the cross.  There would not even be a camaraderie with His fellow condemned.  As His body bled and writhed in agony, would He be forsaken by all?

The challenge picked up in intensity as the pain and feeling of hopelessness crept in for one of the thieves.  He “railed. . . If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.”  In his railing against the Lord, he probably wasn’t as much concerned with Jesus and His claim to deity, and saving Himself, as he was for his own life being spared.  Out of fear for his life and his own pain, he made this selfish request.

But, challenging his challenge, the other thief spoke up, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?”  Being this close to the end of his life may have awakened a reality in this man that the other seemed to miss.  None of them would leave these crosses alive.  The Roman soldiers would make sure of that (John 19:31-34).  All of them faced the same outcome.  Or did they?

Was there no fear of God in the first thief, even in this late hour of life?

As the prodigal son did in the pigpen (Luke 15:17), had this second thief finally come to himself and realize the wrongs that undid his life?  Did he question the choices he made that led him to Calvary as well?  Did he see something in Jesus, even in this late hour of his own life –  the man who speaks forgiveness from the place of pain, that he wanted for his own life, what little of it was left?

We don’t have all the answers to the questions or thoughts this man was struggling with on the cross, but we do know that he recognized two things.  First, he recognized his own undone state, that he “justly” was suffering for his “deeds.”  Recognizing personal sin is the first step to true repentance.  Jesus may have been nailed next to him, but he knew what Pilate and Herod already knew: “this man hath done nothing amiss.”

I don’t know how much of Jesus this thief could see physically with his eyes, but with his heart, it appears he had seen enough to believe that even now something better can come from his wasted life.  “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”

Others were jeering, mocking, and cursing Him, but this dying thief recognized Jesus by what others missed, addressing Him as “Lord.”  He would die as a consequence of his actions, of this, he was sure, and he accepted that.  At the same time, he also accepted that the One who hung next to him was “Lord.”

To the “Lord” he prayed, “remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.”  He didn’t rile.  He didn’t even suggest to Jesus to be released from his cross.  But when his story was done on this earth, he wanted to be where Jesus was, in His “kingdom.”  As the minutes passed, and the struggle to breathe and endure the pain and humiliation of the cross were getting extremely harder, this thief was looking ahead, with hope, for something better.

His late hour faith in Christ was rewarded with these words from our dying Lord: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”  Today, Jesus promised him, this will all be over.  Today, this man would be saved once and for all.  Today, Jesus would carry this precious soul to heaven with Him.

Jesus and the Father

Luke 23:44-46 “And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

Earth responded to the Lord being crucified.  From noon, “the sixth hour”, to three o’clock in the afternoon, “the ninth hour”, “darkness” covered the “earth” (see Amos 8:9).

At this “ninth hour” Jesus cried out from the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).  The nails, the taunts, the pain were incomparable to this feeling of separation between Himself and the Father, a feeling He had never experienced before.  These very words were prophesied to be voiced at this time (Psalm 22:1), as the sin of the world laid literally on the shoulders of Jesus.

Heaven also responded to the crucifixion of our Lord when “the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.”  The need for further sacrifices was no longer there.  Through Jesus Christ, God was making a new way for believing souls to gain access to Him.

Before the cross, Jesus taught that He was the “way” (John 14:6) and the “door of the sheep” (John 10:7).  In John 10:9, Jesus says, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”  There was no longer the need for “the veil of the temple.”  The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep (John 10:11), and heaven tore the “veil” because the way has been made:

“God made a way through the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ.  To the life that will turn their heart and soul over to Him, He made a way.  “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me,” (John 14:6).  He is our access key.  He is the one who paved the pathway for us in righteousness and through His blood provided a space for us in His heavenly realm.  If we are His and have turned to Him, there is a place with your name on it in heaven.  A place waiting and wanting to be filled by you, but you must come through Jesus Christ only.” (God Made a Way/WordforLifeSays.com)

Seeing that all was done, every prophecy and command fulfilled, Jesus, spoke, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  Then, to the Father, Jesus cried out, echoing the words of Psalm 31:5, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.”  There was nothing left for Him to do.  This portion of His story was written, and written perfectly well, and now it was time for the ending.  The work of the cross was finished.  The Passover Lamb had been crucified.  The price for sin has been paid (Romans 5:8; 6:23; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

Jesus and the World

John 3:16 “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.”

John 3:16 isn’t just a wonderful sentiment.  It’s more than a good word spoken to a seeking man by the name of Nicodemus.  John 3:16 was the expressed saving power of God on display in one verse, and Jesus knew that when He died on the cross, when He was lifted “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness” (John 3:14), through His sacrifice, those who believe will find “eternal life” (John 3:15) in Him.  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Why?  Because, “God so loved the world.” 

Love is God’s great motivation for everything.  From the calling of everything into existence to His moving through history, in all of it, God has operated in the sphere of love.

There is a popular quote that you may have heard before touting, “Love makes people do strange things.”  While love, or man’s idea of love, may have tripped people up and caused confusion over what love really is or how to respond to it, God never had any misgivings.  Anything and everything He did for love was an on-purpose act with a direct point of what He wanted to accomplish, even the death of Christ on the cross.

Love doesn’t make God do strange things.  God’s love does impossible things that only His perfect heart can do.  Although some may not understand the act of sacrificing Your perfect Son for the most unworthy of people, and they may view it through the eyes of limited human knowledge, thinking it strange, God sees it as the only way out for mankind to have a renewed relationship with Him.  God knows that for any man, woman, or child to be redeemed, they need to be reconciled to Him.  Only what Jesus did through the cross, as our Passover Lamb, can do this.  Only God’s love put Jesus there for us, for the “world”, to hang on Calvary’s tree: “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,” (John 3:16; emphasis mine).

Because of what Jesus Christ has done, we now have “access by faith into this grace,” and we have a reason to “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).  Through His sacrifice of blood, He bought the key that would give us an open door to our heavenly Father.  And with everything we face in this life, our promise through Christ stands, and we who “believeth in him” shall have “everlasting life.” 

Thank God for the Lamb!

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” 1 Corinthians 5:7

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For His Excellent Greatness

 

“Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.” Psalm 150:2

See God for who He truly is.  That may be difficult at times but with the eyes of faith looking around and with a heart that is filled with knowing Him, we can see the wonder, the beauty, and the majesty of His glory, and that heart cannot help but celebrate His excellent greatness.

Appreciate God for His glory.  There is none like Him in all the heavens or the earth (1 Kings 8:23).  His words set this world in motion (Hebrews 11:3).  His love has redeemed man from his worst sin (Isaiah 44:22; Ephesians 1:7).  His power upholds us daily (Isaiah 41:10; 46:4).  And His grace gives us what we didn’t deserve (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:4-5).

The world itself testifies to the goodness of our Father (Psalm 19:1).  Even for the Son, if the people were to cease to praise and recognize His Kingship, the very rocks will cry out as a holy witness, singing, “Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9; Luke 19:40). 

Awake, oh hearts, today, and see the King of creation for who He is.  It is not a trivial thing to praise our God for we know that He was, and is, and is to come (Revelation 1:8).  Our praise belongs to God and our hearts are not fully satisfied until it experiences and expresses its love before the Father. 

Daily, His excellent greatness is on display.  Daily, as we experience the days and live this life, everything around us tells us of the glory of our God.

Look past the deeds of man.  Look past the reports of evil.  Look past the trash sin has littered this land with and see the beauty of God.  He is there.  He is here.  And, He is infinitely better than anything our eyes may see today.

There are many ways God’s greatness is made known to us daily.  If we breathe, we experience it.  If we awaken in the morning, we experience it.  If we are alive, we experience it, and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.

There are not enough words in the human language, nor enough tongues to articulate Him, so we just ascribe glory to His name (Psalm 29:1-2), as our praise joins with the rest of creation to celebrate God’s excellent greatness:

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.

I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.

They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.

The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.

The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

All thy works shall praise thee, O Lord; and thy saints shall bless thee.”

(Psalm 145:1-10)

We may not be able to articulate fully all that God is in our lives, but with hearts overwhelmed in praise, we celebrate Him for His excellent greatness:

“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” Revelation 5:13

“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

And we agree, in praise and prayer, AMEN!

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Sunday School Lesson – “Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples” Luke 22:14-22

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VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 22:14-22 (KJV, Public Domain)

Jesus’ time on this earth was ending.  On this night, He would be betrayed.  From there, the course of events will move quickly toward the cross where the Passover Lamb will be sacrificed for the sin of the world.

Before we arrive at that point in history, let us review the specifics of Jesus’ last Passover celebration with the disciples that we now refer to as the Lord’s Supper.

The Hour has Come

Luke 22:14 “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”

At the beginning of chapter 22, we see a more detailed telling of events that lead to our opening verse.

Verse 1 plainly tells us, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.” (For more on the original Passover view this lesson here).  It is also during this time that the hunt for Jesus’ life is in full swing (vs. 2) and Judas Iscariot was all too happy to oblige them with the means and opportunity, for the right price, of course (Vss. 3-6; see also Matthew 26:14-16)

“Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed,” (Luke 22:7).  And I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but before all these events would conclude, Christ Himself will be identified as our ultimate Passover Lamb sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7).

As the time drew near to kill the lamb, Peter and John were sent to prepare for and make “ready the passover” (Luke 22:13; read Vss. 7-13).

Opening to the first verse of our lesson text, we see, “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”

To me, the phrase “the hour was come” is so pivotal in the story of Jesus.  Although here it is referring to the hour of the meal that according to Jewish times would have been at twilight, or just after sunset, or evening (compare Matthew 26:20; see also Leviticus 23:5), I think of those times when Jesus voiced, “My hour has not yet come” (see John 2:4; 7:6).  As Jesus was entering in the “hour” of the feast, He was also entering into the “hour” of His suffering, also referred to as His passion (Acts 1:3; compare to John 13:1) that would bring the hope of salvation of the world.

As Jesus was entering into the “hour” of the feast, He was entering the “hour” of long-awaited prophecies being fulfilled concerning Him and the world He would finish on the cross (compare John 13:1).

After this sacred meal, Jesus would be arrested and led as a “lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7).  As they led Him to Calvary, He would be “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).  As He hung on the cross, Messianic psalms such as Psalm 22 would become so scarily read as it outlines centuries before the crucifixion of Christ in exact detail.

Yes, I believe this hour is very pivotal.

Thus, “he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”  Yes, all “twelve apostles” joined Jesus in this final Passover feast, including Judas Iscariot, the Lord’s betrayer (which we will discuss in greater detail a little later).

Luke 22:15-16 “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus never hid the reality of the suffering He would face from His disciples.  There were many times when Jesus tried to prepare their hearts for this time (see Matthew 16:21; 20:17-19; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:21-22; 13:33; 18:31-33).  But, as Luke 18:34 reminds us, the truth of what Jesus was trying to convey to them regarding His suffering often escaped the disciples understanding: “And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

Therefore, Jesus told them, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer”.  Although the time and significance of everything that was about to transpire was lost on His disciples, Jesus knew and held this occasion very near to His heart.  He knew that after this day He would not eat of this feast anymore “until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 

Despite what the chief priests and those who sought His life thought of Him, Jesus knew where He was going.  After everything pertaining to His mission on earth and every prophecy fulfilled, Jesus knew that He would return to the Father, “the kingdom of God,” and one day His saints would join Him in the ultimate celebration of celebrations.

Do This in Remembrance of Me

Luke 22:17-20 “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.  And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

May we not overlook the taking of the cups here.  While this cup was one of several in the part of the regular Passover feasts celebration, I can’t help but be reminded that in a little while our Lord will be on His knees praying in that sacred garden for a certain cup to pass Him by. But with a heart of submission and acceptance, He takes on the full role the Father has ordained for Him, “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).

Jesus will suffer.  He will be crucified on a criminal’s cross.  He will die, but for the joy of being in fellowship with His disciples, at this moment, He gives thanks.  He keeps His eyes and His heart heaven focused.  He goes through the rituals and prescriptions of the Passover meal, without missing a beat, and still giving thanks.

With that same emphasis given toward the “kingdom of God shall come” as He did in verse 16, Jesus knows that He will not “drink of the fruit of the vine” in this celebratory manner until that great and glorious day.

He hasn’t returned yet, so our Lord is still waiting for His celebratory feast.

With His focus on spiritual and heavenly things, Jesus sets about a new way for His disciples and all who would accept Him as Savior to remember Him as they approached this sacred meal.

Taking the “bread” and giving thanks and breaking it, distributing it to His disciples, Jesus speaks these words: “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”

This Passover bread would have broken easily considering it was without yeast as formerly instructed to the people (Exodus 12:8; Deuteronomy 16:3-4).  With its maybe flat and cracker-like structure (as we know it today), it would have easily snapped and been susceptible to breaking or tearing, causing much harm.  Jesus took much harm on His body when He died for our sins.

The bread being broken was a symbol of what His “body which is given for you” would endure.  Isaiah prophesied of His suffering body, saying, “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed,” (53:4-5).

His “body” was given for our sins (Galatians 1:4).  When we partake of this holy meal, we are remembering, by faith, everything Jesus endured for us.  We are remembering the sacrifice “given for you”; given for all of us (John 3:16).

Of the “cup” He speaks, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”  Hebrews 9:22 reminds us that, “Without shedding of blood is no remission.”  The symbol of the cup would be the symbol of His life being poured out “for you”, for us all.

In the book of the Law, in Leviticus 17:11, we read, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

If I had space and time, I would break that one verse down with those four phrases, each having its own space of explanation: 1) Life of the flesh is in the blood, 2) I have given it to you upon the altar, 3) To make an atonement for your souls, 4) For it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

The blood was sacred.  Then, it was for the purpose of sacrifice on the altar, and the blood that would be represented in the cup that would be forever remembered in the same sacred way, only more so, because He who gave His life on the altar of the cross is so much more and He blood has done so much more.

Taking our minds back to the Old Testament altar, we see it not only as a place of worship but also as a place of sacrifice.  It is where one could find atonement for sins and wrongs committed.  It was the center of reconciliation between God and man from the time of Noah when he “builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20).

That was then.  That was a picture of what was to come.  On this night, Jesus would give us a new picture, with a new, fulfilling meaning of blood shed, sacrifice, and altar.

Throughout the New Testament we see this new picture of where our reconciliation and hope now lies: in Christ.  Hebrews 9:11-15 tells us,

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”

He, with the cup in His hand.  He, the mediator of the “new testament”, verifies what has already been stated: this is “my blood, which is shed for you.”

For love, He would perform every bit of the Father’s will

For love, He will lay down His life (John 15:13).

For love, His blood will be shed for you and me.

Going back to the previous verse – “This do in remembrance of me” we recognize we could never save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8).  Every soul on planet earth – past, present, and future would need what Jesus would offer on the cross through His blood: reconciliation.

“This do in remembrance of me” were the words that came that left no question as to why this would be celebrated from henceforth.  It would be done and carried out to remember what Jesus did on that cross, to remember, in its truest form, the sacrifice He became when He allowed Himself to become the Passover Lamb.  As the original Passover was a memorial to celebrate the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (see Exodus 12:14), so too would this “supper” celebrate our deliverance from the captivity of sin through the brokenness of Jesus Christ.

To some, the cup may just be a cup to hold a drink for the evening, but for us who believe, that cup became an everlasting symbol of the new that God would initiate through His holy Son.

My Betrayer is With Me

Luke 22:21-22 “But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.  And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”

After announcing that it would be His very blood that would usher in the new testament, the new covenant, there is the “but” thrown in the mix.

As much as Jesus desired to share this meal with His disciples, it would be one of them who would betray Him as was prophesied many years prior: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9).

Earlier, in verse 14, we noted that as Jesus sat down, all twelve apostles were with Him, including Judas Iscariot.  And Jesus plainly states here in verse 21, “the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.” 

One, an apostle, welcomed to dine with Jesus as a friend, is also a betrayer.  And although many voices rose to question, “Lord, is it I?” (Matthew 26:21), both Jesus and Judas Iscariot knew the answer to that question.

Redemption for mankind will come, and Jesus will fulfill His role and purpose for being born on this earth: “The Son of man goeth, as it was determined,” but that does not absolve Judas Iscariot’s guilt from the part he played, for Jesus said, “But woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”

His name always appears in the last position of the disciples in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and not at all in Acts 1:13.  And, his name is always identified by what he did.

It was he that went to the chief priests, and asked, “What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” (Matthew 26:15).  It was he that would later come to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed in great distress, and betrayed our Lord with a kiss (Matthew 26:15; 27:3).  And it was he who joined the Lord at the “table” commemorating this Last Supper.

Although the events that would come at the end of this supper, at the end of this night would be painful in more ways than one, Jesus desired to have this time with His disciples and to share this meal.

They, and Christians following, would look back on the events of this Last Supper as a time to reflect, examine, be grateful, and remember all that our Lord Jesus Christ has done for each of us.

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples

Suggested Activities:

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples

Kid’s Journal Page:  Kid’s Journal Page – Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples

Blank Journal Pages: These pages, one designed for adults and one for children, can be used to bring out, remember, or write a particular part of the lesson you wish for you and/or your class to focus on.  Click>>Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages to access the journal pages.

Word Search: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Word Search  Answers: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Word Search Answers

Crossword:  Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Crossword  Answers: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Crossword Answers

Word Scramble:  Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Word Scramble  Answers: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene:  Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Draw the Scene

Memory Verse:  Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Memory Verse

Activity Sheet:  The Last Supper Activity Sheet

Cup Craft: Jesus’ Last Passover with His Disciples Cup Craft

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Live It Well

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“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.” 2 Peter 3:11

The past is the past and the future is still up ahead. How are we living our day today?

The things we see before us will not always be here. The problems, people, and circumstances change as often as anything can change, yet in light of all those changes and the passing of things, how are we living to make a difference today?

You, my friend, are a person of testimony. When the world looks at us, they see what and Who we represent. Are we living in such a way as to draw men closer to Him or is the manner in which we live acting as a repellant?

Eternity is ahead for all of us. The decisions, choices, and things we carry out in our daily lives give testament to our hearts and what we truly believe. Are we making sure the faith we profess to have on the inside of us is shining like a beacon on the outside, drawing people closer to our Savior?

How we live matters!  Talk is cheap!  Actions speak louder than words!  We’ve heard those sayings most of our lives but usually only apply them to someone we are in an argument with.  What Peter really wants us to do is mind our own steps in life and live this life well.  It’s easy to pick away at the life of another and the choices they have made when we are not as careful to judge our own steps.  Jesus asked, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). 

Our eternity is not bound up here, rather we are pressing toward the goal of heaven.  With that being said, we must mind “what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness.”  We won’t have to answer for anybody but ourselves, and we will only have to answer for how we lived.  And, how we live matters!

Therefore, live it well!

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” – Proverbs 21:21

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” – Mark 8:36

“For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” – Romans 14:8

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” – Ephesians 5:15-16

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:” – Colossians 2:6

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24

“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” – Colossians 4:5

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” – Hebrews 12:14

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” – 1 John 2:6

See also The Patience of God

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.

Sunday School Lesson – “The First Passover” Exodus 12:1-14

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VERSE DISCOVERY: Exodus 12:1-14 (KJV, Public Domain)

How fast are we to remember where God delivered us from, our personal journey to salvation? This lesson marks an exciting time of deliverance for God’s people, the children of Israel. From their bondage, He would crush the head of the enemy that oppressed them and deliver them with His mighty arm. In the process, God establishes a holy day, a feast for the people to remember and celebrate this special time of deliverance. Passover was to be forever a national time of remembrance and celebration for God’s people, and before they would step one foot out of Egypt, God already instituted it.

 Instituting This Holy Day

Exodus 12:1-2 “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.”

God’s purpose in Moses returning to Egypt was to be the leader who would initiate and conduct His plan of deliverance for His people (Exodus 3:1-10).  God heard the cries of His people, He remembered His covenant with their forefathers, and set the plan in motion for their release from bondage (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:11-22).

All events leading up to the Exodus were done except for one major, final event. Pharaoh has resisted Moses’ warnings repeatedly, and in doing so, he has resisted God Himself.  All warnings to let His people go have fallen on spiritually deaf ears and hardened hearts.  God has issued plague after plague; everything from turning water to blood, to lice and frogs overtaking the land and the people, to darkness so deep it could be felt, and so on.  God’s power has been manifested, and the Egyptians saw enough of it that it should have compelled them to repent of their evil ways before God and release His people.

Alas, it was not to be so. One more plague was forthcoming.  This was to be the worst of all.  This would not only liberate God’s people, but it would humble the Egyptians under the mighty hand of God.

So sure was God that this would be the last straw for the Egyptians that He had to now get these lifetime slaves in a state of readiness with a mindset to be a people who will be free. In doing so, the first thing He announces, speaking to “Moses and Aaron” (Moses’ older brother who has been used as a mouthpiece of Moses and God), “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months” (see also Exodus 13:4).

Their lives were about to take a dramatic change for the good. The day of their freedom was now going to be a mark of remembrance and celebration for the Israelites.  This would be the “beginning,” the starting point of their new journey in life according to God’s plan.

Note: Do you know, my friend, that God has a plan for your life too (see Psalm 138:8 and Philippians 1:6)?   The Bible has so many verses that give us this assurance.  But God’s plan for your deliverance will only and always have a starting point with making Jesus Christ your Savior (John 3:16; 14:6).  If you have not done so already, I urge you to do it today.

God’s Word says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end,” (Jeremiah 29:11).  But, before anyone can reach an “expected end” they must have a starting point, and that starting point for God’s people would begin with the instituting of this holy day, a day set apart to remember where God brought them from.

Instructions for This Holy Day

Exodus 12:3-4 “Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.”

“Speak unto the congregation of Israel.” As the mouthpiece of God and His chosen leader for this mission, Moses was instructed to relay God’s mandates to His people.  Moses would hear from God, and God would teach Moses what needed to be done.  In return, Moses would teach and show the people God’s expectations and how to follow His instructions for this holy day.

“In the tenth day of the month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers.” Every Israelite, every man, every house was to participate in this feast that God was instituting. There is a revelation in the fact that God wanted ALL His people covered.  God wanted ALL His people celebrating on the same page.

This is where unity comes to play a key role in their national deliverance. Jesus teaches His disciples in the New Testament that, “If a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand,” (Mark 3:25).  God wanted all His people free, standing, and marching victoriously out of the land of Egypt.  For that to occur they ALL had to be covered.

“And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it.” We are so used to doing our grocery shopping the modern way. I go to the store, and I get exactly what my family needs for a particular recipe (ex. 1 ½ lbs. of ground beef for meatloaf, 3 lbs. of chicken if I am in a fried chicken mood, and so on).  During Moses’ day, the measurements were not so exact for meat.  To slaughter a whole animal for only 4-6 people would be extremely wasteful.  So, in these instructions, a community effort of sharing their resources comes into play.  If an animal was much too large for one family, rather than let it go to waste, they were to share it with their “neighbor.”

Exodus 12:5-7 “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”

“Your lamb shall be without blemish.” “blemish” is a flaw.  It means it is not in its most perfect state.  There is something wrong with it.  This kind of animal may be okay for a regular Sunday dinner or a weekday supper, but this day was going to be a holy day with great spiritual significance attached to it, and there could be nothing wrong with the “lamb.”

Another reason there could be no “blemish” is that not only was this “lamb” part of the celebration meal, but this little guy was also a symbol of sacrifice.  His “blood” would be used to cover the people, so to speak, on that fateful night to come: “And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.”

What a beautiful picture of salvation represented here. 1 Peter 1:19 shows Jesus “as of a lamb without blemish and without spot,” whose precious blood bought us and covered us.

Exodus 12:8-11 “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.”

Not only had God given extremely specific details in the choosing of the lamb, but he also gave very clear instructions on how it was to be prepared, cooked, and eaten.

They were to “eat the flesh in that night.” Everything was to be kept in the purest, freshest state possible.  God left no room for contamination or impurities to enter this sacrifice.  It had to be cooked: “roast with fire,” and then eaten immediately.

“Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire.” This is the second time He emphasized that it be “roast with fire.” Any other way of preparing or eating it would be a violation of the way God prescribed for this special sacrificial meal and therefore it would be rendered unacceptable (read Malachi 1:7-8, 12-14 for the chastisement of using unacceptable sacrifices).

God further instructed that everything be kept intact: “his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.”

In keeping everything in the purest state possible, they were also instructed to “let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.” There were to be no leftovers.  No lamb sandwiches for the road the next day.  Remember, this is not wastefulness, rather this lamb, as opposed to others for normal dinners, was a lamb of sacrifice and deliverance.  He was a special lamb, for a special night, with a special purpose.  Therefore, anything remaining they had to “burn.”

And they were to “eat it in haste.” God was going to do something amazing in that land that He had never done before, and He already knew how it would turn out.  He already knew that His people would be free on this night.  The people had to prepare themselves in faith as God was instructing them as if they too were, anticipating their own freedom.  They had to eat with “loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.” They were to eat in readiness to move no matter what time it would occur.

I rode past a firehouse once, and they had their doors opened for all to see. There on the floor, I could see, positioned by the trucks, were their boots and gear just like you see on tv.  When the alarm sounds, they run to the truck, step in the boots, pull the gear up, and go.  They are always in a state of readiness to move, if necessary, day or night.  This is similar to the idea of God instructing the people to eat with “loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand.”

They were to be ready because their deliverance was surely coming!

Exodus 12:12 “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.”

“For I will pass through the land . . . this night.”  God was passing through with a purpose. On “this night” those of ancient Egypt will be humbled once and for all, and God’s people will gain their long-awaited deliverance.  There is a “firstborn” in every family, in every house, and in every field.  This meant there would not be a home that would not experience the horror that would be unleashed on “this night.” No Egyptian would be able to turn a blind eye any longer.  They will feel the affliction for their own selves.  They all will taste the wrath of the Lord on “this night.”

And every false idea about the supremacy of any false gods would be killed along with the firstborn. God will “execute judgment” and show, once and for all, that He is the only God.  “For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible…” (Deuteronomy 10:17).  For He says, “I am the LORD.” And, after this night, all arguments against His deity will be put to rest (see also Numbers 33:4).

Exodus 12:13 “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.”

“When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you.” Had they have not followed God’s instructions in the way God prescribed, surely then, they too would have tasted the fate of the Egyptians that night. God only promised to “pass over” them when He saw the unblemished “blood” of the lamb on the doorposts.  When He saw that they obeyed His instructions in readiness, then they would experience true deliverance.

That is a lesson for many to take for themselves today.  Jesus, Himself spoke, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).  There are not numerous ways to experience the freedom and deliverance of true salvation.  Jesus is the only way.  He is not one path to follow in the choice of multiple paths, but He said, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”  The book of Acts supports this great truth by letting us know that “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (4:12).

To be truly delivered must be done God’s way, in obedience to what He says.  We cannot save ourselves.  It cannot be according to our own plan or what we feel is the right way.  Here, God told them the right way and the only way they would be able to walk out in freedom – the only way they would experience this great Passover, and that was through the blood of the lamb on the doorpost.

Remembering This Holy Day

Exodus 12:14 “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”

“This day shall be unto you for a memorial.” This “feast to the LORD,” this day was to be commemorated “throughout your generations.” Passover was not about God’s people; it was about what God did for His people.  It was a “feast to the LORD.”

The story and celebration of how God delivered them and brought them out of Egyptian bondage were to be passed down always like a treasured family heirloom. So much so God institutes it as law “by an ordinance for ever.” When Jesus Christ died for all mankind, He became our Passover lamb.  “For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” is what 1 Corinthians 5:7 tells us.

We all have a starting point of when and where God saved us and brought us out of our own bondage to sin. Our job is not to forget what He has done for us either; rather, we are to remember with great appreciation and reverence our day of deliverance.

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes and other ideas available.): Sunday School Lesson – The First Passover

Suggested Activities:

Opening Lesson Idea:

Bring to class different decorations from different holidays and display them around the room. As your students come in, they may be somewhat confused about all the decorations.

Have fun with it and ask them, Aren’t you ready to celebrate!  At the same time, point to the different decorations and comment that it is time to celebrate that particular holiday.  Your class will no doubt correct you.

Ask, So, what are your favorite holidays to celebrate and why?

Say, Did you know the word holiday used to mean holy day?  A holy day is a special day set apart and observed for a special reason.  In today’s lesson, we are going to learn about a special holy day of remembrance God institutes for His people, the children of Israel.  You may not be that familiar with this day.  It may not have been on your list of favorite holidays to celebrate, but this day was especially important to God and His people.

Note: if your students did put Easter on their list of favorites you can link that with today’s lesson.  Today’s lesson talks about the first Passover celebration.  But did you know Jesus plays a key role in the Passover too?

Let’s learn a little more about Passover and tell me if you can pick up on the areas where you see Jesus come in. (For young children, you can make this a game.  Using party favors that you blow or something similar, every time the lesson comes to a part where Jesus is mentioned, they can blow their party favors in celebration.)

Adult Journal Page – Adult Journal Page – The First Passover

Kid’s Journal Page – Kid’s Journal Page – The First Passover

Blank Journal Pages – Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages

Word Search: The First Passover Word Search  Answers: The First Passover Word Search Answers

Crossword: The First Passover Crossword  Answers: The First Passover Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: The First Passover Word Scramble  Answers: The First Passover Word Scramble Answers

Draw the Scene: The First Passover Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: The First Passover Memory Verse

How Many Words: The First Passover How Many Words

Passover Lamb Activity Sheet: The First Passover Activity Sheet

Persevering Prayer

Image by Pexels at Pixabay

“And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?  And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.  I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him, as many as he needeth.” – Luke 11:5-8

Keep at it.

Keep coming to the throne of grace.

Keep praying. It’s not in vain. God hears every prayer.

The scenario is simple: it’s late in the midnight hour and someone has dropped in unexpectedly.  The problem with the scenario is due to the lateness of the hour and the unexpected nature of the visit there was not enough time to gather resources to care for this visitor.

The proposed solution: knock on the neighbor’s door who is a friend and ask for some help.  The problem with the solution: again, stating the obvious, it’s midnight.  We are in bed.  Are you trying to wake up the kids with all that knocking and yelling out there?!  “I cannot rise and give thee.”

Now, I don’t know about this neighbor, but waking up at midnight is not exactly a welcomed intrusion into my otherwise restful night.  Then, to have the audacity to show up banging on my door and asking for food at that time… well, that’s a whole other story!  But hospitality was central to the culture of the day and was expected to be doled out accordingly.

Also, in those days, sleeping arrangements were generally shared by the whole family.  Doors had big, heavy bolts that clanged and banged if moved.  To get to the bread one would have to step over kids, make noise to get the bread, and bang and clang the door opened and shut again.  At this point, the whole house could easily be disturbed.

Jesus stated that the neighbor eventually will give his friend what he is asking but not because he is a friend.  He will only get up out the bed because of his “importunity;” or his persistence.

Jesus uses this scenario to teach us the power of persevering prayer.  We cannot give up so easily.  We have been afforded the privilege to come before the throne of grace “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  We must be persistent in that privilege.

One’s lack of persistence in prayer can be tied to a lack of faith.  Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge and the widow to illustrate His point: “Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me,” (Luke 18:5).  Jesus then asked, “Shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.  Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:7-8, emphasis mine).

A powerful key component of prayer is not to give up too quickly.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.” Psalm 18:6

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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Believing Prayer

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“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer a him a scorpion?  If ye the, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:11-13

Believe.

Believe in the goodness of God. 

Believe in your relationship with Him as a child of the heavenly Father. 

Believe that He always seeks to give you His best (ex. John 3:16).  I often refer to God as the Good Father who gives good gifts to His children in my prayer time.  It’s something we must hold on to and depend upon.

Believe that God knows how to answer our prayers.  I am a mom who is not perfect, but I love my children to distraction.  I want what’s best for them.  If they ask for food, surely I will not make a stone sandwich and expect them to eat.  I want them to experience good things.  I want them to be satisfied with the goodness of my house.  God is perfect in all that He is and does, so doesn’t He too have the same aspirations and love toward them that are His? He is not aloof but caring.  He is not unapproachable; rather, He invites us to ask for the good.

We have to step out of ourselves and believe with childlike faith that our heavenly Father knows and cares about our petitions that go up before Him.  This is a trust issue in our relationship with Him.  We rely on Him to supply: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:19).  He is well able and wants to answer our prayers.  “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive,” (Matthew 21:22, emphasis mine).

Believe it today.

And, the most precious gift of all that He is more than willing to give to those who ask is the gift of the “Holy Spirit.”  We need the “Holy Spirit!”  He is our comforter (John 14:16).  He is our sealed promise (Ephesians 1:13).  “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” (Romans 5:5).  The “Holy Spirit” teaches us the things of God, (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  We need the gift of the “Holy Spirit” in order to make it in this world.  Therefore, ask with a believing heart, and God will give!

Believing prayer is powerful prayer!

Modified excerpt taken from 4 Keys to Powerful Prayer

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Expectant Prayer

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“And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” – Luke 11:9-10

Jesus wants you to be confident in prayer. Therefore, when we pray, He teaches us that we can expect to receive an answer; we can expect to see some sort of fulfillment to come from taking your requests to the Lord.  These verses beckon us to look for something to happen as a result of praying.

He doesn’t tell us to “ask” without the expectation of receiving something.  No, He says if you do this, then this will happen; and so, it goes with the other instructions to “seek and knock.” 

Even if the answer doesn’t look the way you imagine it should, your prayers do not fall on deaf ears.  Be confident that God hears you.  God is attentive to you.  God does not leave you in a state of wanting.  David said, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want,” (Psalm 23:1).  There will be results.

I love to garden, and when I plant a seed in the ground, I expect to see growth come out of it.  It may take a while but eventually, I should start seeing a little sprout beginning to poke its head through the surface of the dirt.  As I watch it grow to full fruition, I also expect to be able to one day reap off of what I have sown.

Your prayers are like you planting a seed, and what is being said here is that when you do these things: ask, seek and knock, growth is going to come from it.  Expect it!

The word “shall” appears as a reassurance for us four times in just these two verses meaning, this is what will happen as a result of praying in this manner.  Let me remind you that Jesus is the one who is teaching this lesson and He is the one telling us to “Ask . . . Seek . . . Knock.”  He is the one who speaks of “receiving, finding and opening” as a result of praying. 

Whatever it is, keep looking to God for the answer.  The Bible teaches us to “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God,” (Philippians 4:6).  Make it known unto God and keep making it known with the anticipation of seeing something happen.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him,” (1 John 5:14-15).  Therefore, we can expect to see results.

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Waiting for the Opening

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The world is waiting for the opening. Or, at least, this is what I feel.

Driving, I noticed the greenery now visible at the bottoms of the trees. Moss and ivy have begun to cover and climb the trunks. Vibrant colors tell of the season’s awakening and coming back to life.

Yet, the tops of the trees remain for the most part bare, only adorned with the sprinkling of buds throughout. And I think to myself, the world is waiting for the opening. The anticipation of full growth. The looking forward of life to take over every seemingly dead branch we see.

And, aren’t we waiting for the opening? The opening of a greater day when all will be made new.

Life has been our blessing to experience, and yet, how oft has humanity and evil abused this precious gift? How oft have we taken this grace for granted?

So, we wait for the opening. The grand event when all this will be done away with. The dreary, dead, and wrong will all be as vapor, here today, gone tomorrow, and Victory rides in on the scene of clouds in the person of our Savior.

“Behold,” the book of Revelation tells us, “He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him . . .” (1:7).

At the ascension of Christ, the gazing disciples were told, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

And again we read, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

And so, the world is waiting for the opening of those skies. It groans with longing for that day (Romans 8:22). The view of heaven and her King is so much greater than the view of confusion, hurt, and chaos that covers the land we currently see.

Continue to wait, my friend. What we see today won’t always be like this.

Continue forward in hope, knowing that one day this will all get better. One day, every tear and hurt will pass away (Revelation 21:4) and our glorious King shall take us home forever to be where He is: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

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Living on the other side of failure . . .

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“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” – Luke 6:36

Living on the other side of failure, we all know what that feels like. We have all experienced those times when we messed up, sometimes, royally so. Those times when we have hurt others or done wrong. We all know what it’s like to let others down, or even ourselves.

So today, can we work a little harder at extending grace to others? Can we work a little harder at showing the same forgiving love we have received?

Sometimes, I have to remind myself that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), and yes, that includes me. I am included in the all. Should I not then, as one who has received so much, be willing to grace it to another life?

The simple answer is, I should.

Am I perfect at it? I so wish I could say yes, but I’m not.

Daily I have to work on me, and in that working, I am so glad for God’s continually patient hand in my life. Would I have been as longsuffering with me as He has?

I doubt it.

Therefore, I am continually reminded of my dependence on His sure mercies every day – and in that reminding, may I see that others need the same from me.

Love others.

Be patient with others.

Give grace to others.

For these are the same riches you have received from the Father above. And these riches, you can afford to give away.

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” – Matthew 5:7

“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” – Colossians 3:12-13

“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.” – James 2:13

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