Have you ever wondered what goes through God’s mind at Passover time? We all know or should know that Passover is a meaningful and solemn occasion in God’s Holy Day plan. The Passover deeply moves and sobers every truly converted Christian. Through Christ’s Passover sacrifice, we may receive forgiveness of sin.
But, what about God and the Passover? Have we ever thought about what the Passover means to God the Father and to Jesus Christ? After all, these are the “feasts of the Lord” (Lev. 23:2). The Father and the Son created them and more importantly, are living them.
What is not written, what no one ever talks about, is the anguish God the Father felt. His pain was as great as Jesus Christ’s.
To better understand God’s love for us, we must first understand the closeness and love God the Father and Jesus Christ shared from the beginning.
Picture, if you can, two beings who lived together forever (John 1: 1-2). Imagine how close they were in perfect harmony, inseparable. Christ said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). You cannot get any closer than that.
They became one by doing things together. They created and worked together building the vast universe. They experienced the full range of godly emotions together, they laughed at many humorous facets of creation (just look at some of the animals, and you will laugh too). They played and sang beautiful music together, and no doubt they cried together when they saw what the angels and man did to hurt themselves through sin.
The Father and Son shared perfect love, without one single thought or act of selfishness. It was their love that “the bond of perfection” (Col. 3:14), solidified their oneness. They gave themselves one to another throughout time. We can only imagine the deep relationship this giving built, for no two humans have ever loved so truly. We can only imagine the depth behind Jesus’ statement “For the Father loves the Son” (John 5:20).
Now realize the sacrifice God made in giving up the one with whom He had shared eternity! God’s love for us is greater than most of us have realized.
When did man come into the picture? Long ago, God and the Word perhaps imagined how wonderful it would be if others could share the happiness and joy they experienced being God. So they designed a plan to reproduce themselves, and to begin by creating man.
But what if man decided to go contrary to God’s way, to go the way of death? How could man be redeemed? God knows that only life could beget life, and that only God life could produce God life.
The solution was that one of them would have to die. Can you imagine God’s feelings and thoughts at that moment of truth? Dead was a concept that had not existed, let alone happened. And the death of a God, unthinkable! Yet now it had to be considered. For the first time in their long existence, the possibility existed that they could be separated.
Who would it be, which one of them would die? Being unselfish, perhaps they at the same time said, “Let it be Me!” Then they realized someone would have to stay to guide and strengthen the other. So the Word volunteered to go and the Father reluctantly gave His approval.
John speaks of Christ as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8). Out of pure Godly love for us, Jesus Christ willingly gave His life. Christ said, “No one takes It from Me, but I lay it down of Myself” (John 10:18).
It was a sacrifice for the Father also, for He loved Christ more than we can fathom. He knew all of the horrible things Christ would have to suffer. He understood the enormous risk Jesus was taking; one sin and a God would be lost forever, and the whole plan of salvation, as it had developed, would be ended.
Yet “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Are you coming to see the enormity of God’s love and sacrifice?
So God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). Following the Father’s will, the one who became Jesus Christ kneeled down in the clay and formed a man who looked just like them.
Jesus Christ may have stared long at the clay model of Himself and realize He would probably have to die for him. He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7). God instructed man in the two ways of life, give and get, symbolized by the two trees (Gen. 2:9, 16-17). Then God watched to see which way man would choose. We only think of man’s destiny being decided with Adam’s choice, but did you realize that God’s destiny was also at stake? Have we considered the impact of Adam’s decision on the future of God Himself?
When Adam decided to go the way of get, it not only meant his death, but the death of Jesus Christ!
As Adam reached for the forbidden fruit, a chill must have raced through God. This act sealed God’s fate. Now it was only a matter of time before the universe would be minus a God.
God wanted man to understand that his sins could only be atoned for by the shedding of blood, the giving of life (Heb. 9:22). So God instructed man to offer animal sacrifices picturing the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The most notable of these sacrifices was the Passover lamb. Each year at Passover for hundreds of years, through millions of lambs, the Father and Son lived through the symbols of the real sacrifice. When lambs were roasted with fire, the Word thought about the fiery trials of persecution, rejection and torture that He would have to endure.
But each time, God thought about what His sacrifice would mean for us. He thought about the forgiveness and eternal life it would bring to all mankind.
And then it was time to part, time to sever God from God. It was time to begin their literal sacrifice. Now the great gulf of mortality would gape between them. The thought of one of them no longer existing as God must have been sobering. But they loved us so much that Christ, “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant and coming in the likeness of men. He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:6-8).
The Father’s heart must have been rent. His best friend, the one He loved so much, would have to leave and suffer one of the most excruciating deaths in the history of man. Then, when the moment had come, perhaps the Father and Son looked into one another’s eyes embraced and the next split second Christ was gone. Heaven had only one God.
The Father, by the power of His Spirit, begat Christ in the Virgin Mary. Through the years He watched His son grow up before Him. With the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ was the perfect child. Jesus Christ matured, constantly growing closer to His spiritual Father, preparing to fulfill the destiny for which he was born as a human.
Although Jesus never sinned, there may have been some tense moments. Christ “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). One slip, one compromise, would have meant the end. Yet Christ, with the help of the Father overcame sin. The Father said of Him, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17).
Jesus Christ began His ministry, preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. But His own people did not receive Him (John 1:11). They wanted to kill Him. At times Jesus had to flee for his life (John 8:59). Did the Father have to restrain Himself at time from destroying man?
Though Christ knew man would reject Him, the reality must have hurt. The very creature whom He gave physical life and offered eternal life sought to take His life. What a paradox, what a sacrifice! What love He expressed, to endure “such hostility from sinners against Himself” (Heb. 12:3).
For thousands of years and with great anticipation the Father and Son looked forward to the Passover of A.D. 31. Agony mixed with ecstasy, joy with sadness, not wanting it to happen, yet wanting it to be over.
Christ knew His hour had come, and He observed His last Passover on earth with His disciples. He washed their feet, an act of humility and service that served as an everlasting tribute to God’s dedication and love for man.
He blessed and broke the bread, and as He did Christ and the Father thought about the literal breaking of His own body, about the fists that would pound Christ’s face, the rods that would bruise His head, about the whip that would shred His back. Christ’s flesh was so tattered and torn that He said prophetically, through David, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. I can count all My bones” (Ps. 22:14, 17).
Christ was beaten so badly that “His visage was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men” (Isa. 52:14). Tortured beyond human recognition! The bread, Christ’s body, was broken for you and me: And by His stripes we are healed” (Isa. 53:5). The Father and the Son paid the penalty for our transgressions.
Christ also took the cup of wine, symbolizing His blood, and He and the Father thought about the imminent reality. In less than 12 hours, Christ’s life would be poured out, and the Father would watch His beloved Son die.
On that fateful afternoon of the Passover, the Son of God was nailed to a stake. The Father watched a Roman soldier hammer the square nails through the hands that did no evil, and through the feet that only walked in righteousness. It was painful for the Father to watch as the nails tore through the Son’s flesh and sinew.
Hanging from that stake, they both knew that their suffering was about to end, and the way for man’s salvation was about to begin. But two climatic sufferings had yet to be endured in his sacrifice of sacrifices.
It was now time for the most painful part of their sacrifice. Now it was time for the Father and Son to be separated, not by mere flesh and spirit, but by the great gulf of sin and death!
All the sins of the world were placed upon Jesus Christ. He who knew no sin became sin for us. It is sin that separates us from God, and our sin separated the Father from the Son (Isa. 59:1-2). For the first time in eternity, the Father and the Son were not one.
Out of the deep pain of mental anguish, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” that is “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46).
A burly soldier thrust his spear into Christ’s side, rupturing vital organs and causing blood and water to spew out. Again the Father looked on in horror and grief, yet for our sakes He restrained Himself. Shortly thereafter Jesus Christ died.
God ultimately triumphed. Yes, all of this for all of us, the greatest sacrifice of all, the greatest love of all. This is what our God went through for us. This is what the Passover means to God the Father and the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ.
With this understanding of what the Passover means to God, let this Passover and all others to come mean much, much more to you!