As I am writing this ‘Countdown to the Return of Jesus Christ,’ Friday evening has arrived. The beloved apostle John calls this a High Day. It is also a Double-Sabbath in that this High Day has fallen upon a weekly Sabbath.
Yesterday at this time, the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, we were partaking of the New Testament Passover meal of Unleavened Bread and Wine – having washed one another’s feet (John 13:4-7).
This afternoon at 3 pm marked the time of the death of Jesus Christ some two-thousand years ago (Matthew 27:46-50). His body was taken down and placed in a sepulcher.
John 19:30-31 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up His breath. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [for the First Day of Unleavened Bread], that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an High Day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Matthew 27:59-60 When Joseph [of Arimathea] had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.
Remarkably, the timing of Christ’s burial corresponded perfectly with a number of prior Biblical events of great importance. The beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) pinpoints an important time when very special things are accomplished on the “selfsame day” in order to lay emphasis on God’s great Plan of redemption and salvation.
This Night to be much Observed – of Solemn Observance – is often replicated and repeated in the Plan of God because it is a most important time to God. Note the occasions:
1) The same day the LORD made a Covenant with Abram (Genesis 15:18).
The Covenant of Promise to Abram was ratified by God with a Covenant Sacrifice. Jesus Christ asked Abram to prepare a sacrifice on Passover afternoon in preparation for the Covenant Sacrifice. It was the 14th day of the first month at the same time of day that Jesus died on Passover Day (Genesis 15:9-10).
Jesus Christ the God of the Old Testament was showing that He alone would take the penalty upon Himself—by the sacrifice of Himself—for mankind’s sins. He made the unilateral Sacrificial Covenant, and later as Jesus Christ in the flesh, He became the Paschal victim of that sacrifice. Jesus, in passing between the pieces of the sacrifice, prophesied His own death – in order to bring all men to salvation.
Hebrews 6:13 When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by none greater, He swore by Himself.
Jesus stood in the breach when He passed between those sacrificial pieces of Genesis 15:17 and said in effect, “I will shed my blood and die, as these dead animals at my feet, to pay the price of the broken covenant.” God and Abram were close enough friends, that Abram was made to understand that complete justification of man would require the life of One greater than everyone being justified—which could only be the Creator. When Abram witnessed this phenomenal spectacle – he believed!!!
2) Israel went out of Egypt on the same exact night! (Deuteronomy 16:1).
Exodus 12:41-42 It came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
It is a Night of Solemn Observance [a night to be much observed] unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
3) Israel entered the Promised Land at this time.
Joshua 5:10-11 The children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the Passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.
4) Jesus was laid in the tomb (John 19:31, 42).
The Children of God gained their victory over sin on the exact selfsame day – it marks the point of salvation – victory over bondage and over death as Jesus was laid in the tomb (1Corinthians 15:3-4) just as The Night to be Much Observed began.
In today’s sermon we will be looking at how we are able to come out of sin.
Your brother in Christ,