They came with swords and clubs and torches, led by a traitor. They called themselves holy men, and they had come to stain their hands with the blood of a teacher. A shadow the color of death was drifting over the land.
It was the same day, but 1,500 years prior. A vicious, tyrannical ruler held a foreign people in the grip of slavery. The shadow hovered over the nation, and it would have its due.
Why did Jesus die when he did?
His friends abandoned him. His captors flogged him mercilessly and cut him with thorns and knives. The crowd screamed for him to be nailed to a cross and laughed and spit at him as he carried the rough-hewn wood that would kill him out of the town. He stumbled. He fell. The Roman occupiers assailed him with threats and cursing. Accompanied by base scum, his fellow condemned, he headed for the Place of the Skull.
The slaves took unblemished lambs, one per family, and cut them open. They drained the blood into bowls, and then took those bowls to their houses. Grabbing up a clump of hyssop, they began to paint. They painted around their door frames, coating them in red. When they were finished, they roasted their lambs, ate them in haste, and then went inside to huddle with their families. Night approached.
Was it merely convenience? Or was there something deeper going on?
The Roman guards nailed his hands and feet to the cross and lifted him into the air. His blood pooled on the ground below, drizzling down the wooden beams. The heavens grew dark.
The shadow descended. It came first to the house of a slave captain. Stealing inside, it found the captain’s first-born and stole the very breath from the child’s lungs. It moved on. Arriving at the house of one of the slaves, it drew back as it noticed the blood slathered on the door frame. It continued on in this way through all the land of Egypt, not stopping until it reached the palace of the king. Creeping inside, it murdered the Pharaoh’s son as he slept.
The shadow fell over the land of Israel, the very people it had previously saved. It blotted out the sun, drenching the land in darkness. “My God, my God,” cried the teacher, “why have you forsaken me?” Then he cried out one final time, and his breath left his lungs. The shadow went to work. Ripping the land asunder, an earthquake cleaved the ground. In the Jew’s Holy Temple, the 4-inch thick curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn in two. In awestruck horror, realizing what they had done, those who were gathered around the teacher’s feet whispered, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
But that wasn’t the end.
The Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, the leaders of the enslaved people, in the middle of the night. “Up, go out from among my people,” he said, “both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said. Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!” (Exodus 12:31-32) And so began the exodus of the Jewish people, and the beginning of the nation of Israel.
Three days passed. The shadow could no longer be seen, but its presence was felt, cloying and clustered over the people of Israel. But then, with one final rumble, it happened. The natural laws shattered, the laws of sin and death among them. The Passover lamb did not stay a sacrifice. With holes in his hands and side, the Son of God, the lowly teacher, rose to his pierced feet. Wiping off the stains of man’s sin and the blood of the innocent, he arose to lead the human race into their exodus.
The people of Israel had set out on a natural journey to establish a nation. But now the entire human race could participate in a journey both natural and spiritual. In the darkness of the shadow, like a seed in the ground, a Kingdom had been established. And of this Kingdom, there would be no end.
He is risen. He is risen indeed. Happy Easter.
What do you think? What is your take on the resurrection, the Passover, and Jesus the Christ? Comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts!