How a Meal Saved the World
When it was time, he sat down, all the apostles with him, and said, “You’ve no idea how much I have looked forward to eating this Passover meal with you before I enter my time of suffering. It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:14-16 (MSG)
This morning, Sarah and I were putting in our online order at our local grocery store. She asks me if there is anything I want. Instantly I start naming off a few things I’m graving in this lock-in, ginger beer, mini-eggs, and fruit. She asks me if I want any English biscuits (cookies for all the non-British people reading). I quickly replied, “Save-On sells biscuits?” as I speed walked over to the laptop. And low and behold, right there on their website, we could order McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive biscuits. How have I lived here for just shy of 4 years and never known this? What I just learned is a game-changer. My late-night graving of chocolate biscuits is about to be satisfied. I am a chocolate lover. Okay, I am a chocoholic! What is your favorite snack or treat?
On the same topic of food, what is your favorite meal? I think it is because I don’t live in England anymore, but whenever I am at a restaurant, and I see Fish’n’chips, I have to order it. I also love smoothies, pizza, spaghetti, curries, Chick-Fil-A, and a few others. From your favorites list, what would you choose as the last meal you could eat?
For Jesus, his last meal came at the time of Passover. He ate with His disciples just hours before Judas betrayed Jesus in exchange for some coins.
Was it just a coincidence that Jesus happened to die over Passover?
The biblical answer is no. The reason He came to Jerusalem that final time wasn’t just to celebrate Passover but to become our Passover. As the apostle, Paul says plainly in 1 Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed.”
But what does this mean?
To see the answer, we need to go to the book of Exodus. God promised to free His people from Egyptian slavery. God sent Moses to the Egyptian king with the command that Pharaoh “let my people go.” When Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plagues on the land of Egypt. The tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt.
The night of the first Passover was the night of the tenth plague. On that fearful night, God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts and lintels with its blood. Then, when the Lord passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood. In a very real way, the blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from death, as it kept the angel of death from entering their homes. The Israelites were saved from the plague, and their firstborn children stayed alive.
Along with the instruction to apply the Passover lamb’s blood to their doorposts and lintels, God instituted a commemorative meal: fire-roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. The Lord told the Israelites to “observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever.”
God spares Israel’s sons, not because they are better than Egypt’s sons, but because a spotless lamb dies in their place, and its blood covers their door.
Salvation through substitution. And, according to the New Testament, the message of Passover is also the message of Good Friday.
If you are asking if an animal can actually pay for a human’s sin, that’s a great question, and the answer is that in the end, they couldn’t.
Good Friday is when God finally resolved it.
But in his infinite love, God created a way to be just and merciful at the same time. “Salvation through substitution.” The Passover painted a picture of that, but it wasn’t the real thing. When we get to the Gospels, the true substitute enters the story.
This time God didn’t ask the people to provide the lamb—He provided the Lamb Himself. And this Lamb was no beast—He was entirely God and fully man—like us in every way except sin.
The reason Jesus came to Jerusalem that final time wasn’t just to celebrate Passover but to become our Passover.
Holiday and celebrations like Easter give us a chance to reset. An opportunity to refocus when we may have wandered. Maybe with COVID-19, it’s an extra big opportunity to reset our focus. So, as you reflect on Good Friday today, I want us to see Jesus being in the upper room with His disciples eating a meal differently than just a communion story or a scene in the story before he walks over to the Garden of Gethsemane. He ate not because He was hungry but to show the disciples and us that He is the fulfillment of Passover. Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
We are all going to eat an Easter Sunday meal, different as it may be this year, let it not just be another meal, but a reminder that Jesus’ final meal 2000+ years ago was just before he showed us what love really is; sacrifice.
As Jesus said before the meal, “It’s the last one I’ll eat until we all eat it together in the kingdom of God.” The Gospel promise is that we will eat a meal again with Jesus in Heaven, not a meal that points to His sacrifice, but a meal that points back in celebration of all that He accomplished. That is good news and something to look forward to!
As Pastor Daniel shared in his Good Friday sermon, we are reminded, through this simple meal…
That we have forgiveness because of Jesus’ death
That we are free because of Jesus’ death
That we are adopted because of Jesus’ death
And that because of Jesus’ resurrection, this life is not all that there is
Eat with this in mind. Eat with thanksgiving.
If you haven’t participated in our Good Friday service online yet, you can watch it here and listen as Pastor Daniel expands on Jesus as the Passover Lamb.
About the Author: stu barton
Stu serves as our Young Adults Pastor within our church. He gives vision, teaching, and leadership to BYA. He is both British and American as he was born in Liverpool, England, and lived in California, USA, before moving to Edmonton in 2016. He is married to Sarah and has two kids, and one on the way this summer. Pastor Stu desires to see this generation become resilient disciples by being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus, and practicing the ways of Jesus. It won’t take long for you to see that he loves people deeply, but also loves the original football (soccer) maybe a little too much!