by Rayola Kelley
Resurrection Sunday is upon us. What a glorious celebration for Christians. It is a celebration of life, the life God has given those who receive His Son. What a glorious time of remembrance of what the Christian life is all about. What a glorious time of agreement as those who value the true gift of God come together to partake of the Manna from heaven.
Although Resurrection Sunday is only celebrated once a year, the reality of the hope of the Christian life is that it is present in all of those who believe. It is happening daily in the lives of those who embrace its message by faith. It is a future hope of all of those who are a part of His kingdom. The hope is that one day we will hear the voice of our Master as He calls us forth into everlasting life (John 5:21-29). Then, resurrection power within will raise us up in new, glorious bodies, and we will be with the Lord forever. Amen, so be it.
Resurrection Sunday is my favorite celebration. Notice I do not regard such events as holidays, I regard them as celebrations. In God’s economy, there are no holidays where man rejoices over that which is vain and useless. Rather, there are celebrations when God’s people come together and celebrate the life He so graciously gave us.
One of the reasons I love this time of celebration is because it reminds us of why Jesus came. It is true He came to save us, but His main reason for delivering us from the grip of sin and death was so we could come back into a relationship with God.
Relationship with God points to communion with God. Calvary speaks of that communion from four different aspects. The fact that the last real act Jesus shared with His disciples before the cross was that of Communion should speak volumes to us. The other important aspect of Communion is that it was in correlation with the Passover. There is an important reason for this. Without the Passover, there could never be deliverance or communion.
As we embark upon this time of celebration, it is vital we consider the significance of the Passover, Calvary and Communion. As stated, there are four aspects that speak of communion. We will also see these aspects in Calvary and the Passover. It is important that we make the connection to have a greater revelation of Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross.
The first aspect of Communion is God’s love. We know that the reason God does what He does is because He is committed to do so by His love. He is committed to our well-being. He has put value on ensuring that we have the best of heaven available in order to realize the value of His presence in our midst.
He showed this love and preference to the children of Israel when He sent Moses to be their deliverer. There was no other man who had been prepared and empowered with the potential that could lead His people out of their life of bondage.
He showed all mankind the same love and preference when he gave His only begotten Son to take our place on the cross. His desire for us to experience the best of heaven and possess eternal life was displayed in the greatest sacrifice that was offered on behalf of man.
On the night Jesus was betrayed, He spoke of that sacrifice. He would be the bread that was broken, so that man could partake of a new life. His blood would be spilled like poured-out wine to serve as a new covenant. This eternal covenant would ensure that we could become the children of God (John 1:12-13; Hebrews 8:6-10, 9:11-22; 10:19-22).
As we consider how Jesus’ body was broken and His blood poured out, we can see how He was completely utilized. This was one of the requirements for the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:10). None of it could remain until morning. It had to be used up or completely burned up in the morning. Such a burning pointed to the concept of a burnt offering (Leviticus 1). The entire offering had to be burned in fire. It represented consecration or an act of being set apart or made holy before God.
Clearly, Jesus became not only a sin offering that was made on our behalf, but He became a burnt offering that was consumed by God’s judgment upon all sin. Is it no wonder that our redemption on the cross was complete, paid in full?
The only way Jesus could become the Lamb of God was to become identified with mankind. Keep in mind, the Old Testament sacrifices that were used were that of animals. However, they pointed to one main sacrifice. This sacrifice would be without blemish, spot or wrinkle. This sacrifice would not be offered by mere man, but by God Himself. This sacrifice would not only be acceptable to a holy God, but it would redeem all mankind from the slavery of sin and death. This sacrifice would be from God, of God and holy in every way. This sacrifice would possess the blood of humanity, for without the shedding blood, there is no remission of sins, but would be referred to as the Lamb of God (John 1:29; Hebrews 9:22).
This sacrifice would come from heaven. It tells us Jesus became flesh in order to offer Himself up as the ultimate sin offering. I had someone ask me, if Jesus was God, how could God offer Himself up on our behalf? You must realize no mere man could satisfy the judgment pronounced on sin. If mere man could be offered up, then the likes of an Enoch and Noah (who walked with God), Abraham (known as the friend of God), Isaac (who was required by God to be a burnt offering), Moses (regarded as God’s servant), Elijah (translated by a chariot to heaven), Job (considered perfect and upright) or a David (had a perfect heart or a heart of integrity) could have been offered up.
God made it clear in His Law that it was an abomination to offer up a human as a sacrifice, for it was obvious from the beginning that no mere man could satisfy the judgment of death that hung over mankind (Leviticus 18:21; 20:2-5; Deuteronomy 12:31; 18:10-12). As you consider this very reality, you must ask how could God go against His Law and require a mere man to become a sacrifice? How could God offer a sacrifice that would once and for all satisfy the holiness and righteousness of His Law (Hebrews 9:12-15)? How could He accomplish this incredible feat unless He Himself became the offering? And, how could He offer Himself without becoming flesh and blood, for blood had to be shed? Such a sacrifice would be divine in nature and offered up in human form.
Hence, enter the solution. God would offer Himself up through His Son, Jesus Christ. In the beginning, Jesus was the Word, but then He was manifested or appeared in the flesh(John 1:1, 14; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 5:7). This was the mystery that men of faith such as Abraham were looking forward to being unveiled to the rest of the world (John 8:53-56). This was the mystery that was veiled from human eyes, but revealed to those with the child-like eyes of faith
Jesus, who was divine by nature, could satisfy what God clearly established in line of His character. But, being of the seed of woman in human form meant He could become identified with man in every way (Hebrews 4:15). He could become sin or the sin offering on our behalf(2 Corinthians 5:21). In His human identification with man, He could become the High Priest that not only would serve as our advocate or defense in the courts of heaven, but He could offer up continual intercession (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2). He would be the fulfillment of all the past great intercessors from men such as Moses to those of the levitical Priesthood.
It was through Jesus’ humanity and redemption that every believer would share an eternal inheritance that would embrace an unseen kingdom. For the children of Israel, that inheritance was both physical and spiritual. They would inherit the Promised Land, but they also would possess a spiritual inheritance because they would know the one true God of Heaven. However, for the Christian, the inheritance is far greater. It tells us in Hebrews 1:2: “That in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Emphasis added.)
In Christ, we are heir to all things. Most of us think in terms of the materialistic world we live in. But, as the Apostle Paul stated, the inheritance has to do with adoption and redemption(Ephesians 1:3-14). As children of God, we have rights to that inheritance, but it is His redemption that identifies us as His children. As believers, we have been given the seal of the Holy Spirit as a down payment until His redemption is fully realized.
When you think of being children of God, you cannot help but remember the theme of the article, “Communion.” God has always wanted to commune with His people. He established a garden in which He could walk and fellowship with man. When sin marred that relationship, He established a tabernacle. In fact, He would establish two earthly tabernacles where His presence could dwell among men, and would always serve as a reminder and invitation of His desire to commune with His people.
The first tabernacle was established in the wilderness of Sinai. It was fashioned after a heavenly pattern (Hebrews 8:5). We know that the heavenly pattern pointed to the second tabernacle. The second one was embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 2:19-21). God has always had a point of communion in which man could identify. The tabernacle of Sinai’s real beauty was veiled to cast a shadow of a tabernacle that would be fully revealed in glory. Although veiled by humanity, the glory of God would be manifested in the midst of a dark world in the very Person of Jesus (John 1:14; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).
The Bible clearly establishes that we cannot come to the Father except through the Person and name (character) of His Son. “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me…And whatever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it…And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full” (John 14:6, 12-14; 16:23-24).
Jesus’ body was torn, so that we could come into the Most Holy Place with the Father and commune with Him (Matthew 28:51; Hebrews 10:19-21). Paul tells us that: “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us, Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (Ephesians 2:13-16). There is no wall between God and us. The beauty of this reality is that God said He would do it. It would be His total work and not anything that mere man can glory in (Job 19:25-26; Psalms 78:35: Isaiah 60:16; 63:16; Luke 1:68; John 1:12-13; Romans 3:24)
As you consider Passover, Calvary and Resurrection Sunday, do not stop at God’s love, Jesus’ identification with man, His work of redemption on the cross, and the glorious inheritance that is available to all who embrace His reality. Go one step further and realize that it was all about being reestablished in communion with God through reconciliation that was brought about by the cross of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:18-19). It is all about having a living, growing relationship with God Almighty.
This Resurrection Sunday as you take “Communion” do as the Apostle Paul instructed, first examine yourself to see if that communion truly exists between you and God (1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 28, 33). As you partake of the bread, remember what it cost Jesus, so you could know spiritual wholeness. When you take of the cup, remember that it is the blood of Jesus that cleanses you from all sins, so that you could come into a new covenant with God. As you meditate on the sobering reality of God’s Lamb and come into identification and agreement with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, remember that taking communion also declares that Jesus is indeed coming back for a Church that has been bought by His sacrifice, washed in His blood and by His Word, made righteous by His indwelling presence, and made one in His Body of Believers. As you remember that you are part of a Body, take time to tarry a little while for your heavenly family, remembering the bond you have with each of them in spirit and truth. And, in so doing, do not forget to celebrate, and rejoice because of the life God has given you, and the rich inheritance that will be fully realized in eternity.