Monday, April 17, 2006

The Perfect Lamb

Last night I saw Who Is Jesus? I was afraid it might be one of those television shows that try to prove that Jesus was just a man, not the son of God. But it was a review of his life from the Christian viewpoint. It was well done, without being sappy, like some things like that are.

One of the main points of the documentary was that Christianity has its roots in Judaism. Jesus was a Jew. The narrator said, “He was an observant Jew” who was “trying to purify his religion.”

The New Testament, of course, confirms that fact—rather, more accurately, what the narrator said confirms the Bible. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

The film described several important aspects of Christianity that are deeply rooted in the Jewish religion, especially baptism, resurrection, and communion. Communion originated with the Seder meal, in celebration of the Jewish Passover. The first Christian communion, we could say, was when Jesus and his disciples ate the Seder meal together to celebrate Passover the last night before he was arrested. In Luke 22:19, we're told that he said to the disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me." The film’s narrator said that the early Christians continued to celebrate Passover with the Seder meal for a time, but eventually, it was shortened to the bread and wine—or grape juice and wafer—that we know today.

The Bible tells us that the Passover was instituted by God as a holy time to be commemorated through all generations as the time that God liberated the Hebrews from Egypt where they had been held in slavery for four hundred years. The Egyptian Pharaoh had stubbornly refused to let them go even after God sent plagues to punish the Egyptians. It came time for the final plague.

On the first Passover, then, God told the Hebrews to kill a perfect, spotless lamb and put some of its blood around the doors of their homes. This would protect them as his Spirit passed among the obstinate Egyptians to kill the firstborn of every family. The Egyptians finally agreed to release the Hebrews, and God used Moses to lead them out of captivity, eventually into the promised land, Israel. Exodus 12 details the celebration of the Passover.

The ancient Hebrews celebrated the Passover for centuries; comprehension of the meaning of the perfect sacrificial lamb ran deep in their blood. Years later, in the perfect timing of God, he sacrificed his own perfect lamb, his son, to deliver them—and all mankind—from captivity, into the promised land of eternal life. It was a complete circle of saving sacrifice, life in the blood of a lamb, from the night of Passover in Egypt to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

The complete Jew, then, is the Jew who sees the sacrifice of God’s lamb as the completion of the circle and believes that this lamb was the long-awaited Messiah.

Who Is Jesus? Fox News Channel. 16 Apr. 2006.

2 comments:

ts said...

you're serious? a christian documentary on a major secular news network? cool!

i still remember vaguely the tv mini-series "a.d." that was on prime-time back in the 80s. that was a pretty cool secular representation of christianity.

RLC said...

Sounds interesting...Did they include the fact that he said that he was God?

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