On Maundy Thursday, after celebrating the Passover and instituting the Lord's Supper with his disciples, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. There, Judas betrayed him. He was arrested, tortured, and questioned while Peter denied him.
Let's take a minute to talk about the Passover, shall we? I, for one, have always been horrified by the story (found in Exodus 12). It reeks of blood and death and destruction, and I don't like to think that the God that I love and serve would do something like that.
My discomfort lies in the fact that I tend to think of the Egyptians as innocent bystanders in a throwdown between God and Pharaoh, but the truth is that they were not. There was nothing innocent about them. They were sinners just like the rest of us, and whether we like it or not, death is the natural outcome of sin.
It's a hard truth, but it is truth nonetheless. The wrath of God against sin is relentless. He will not let it go unpunished . . . But the good news is that his mercy is every bit as real and relentless as his wrath.
And so it was that on that Passover night as Jesus and the disciples remembered how God in his great mercy made a way for the Israelites to survive the final plague, God was making a new way for the rest of us to survive the terrible wrath to come.
Because what was true on that first Passover night is still true today. Unless we are covered by the blood of the Lamb, we will face the same fate as the Egyptians.
Of course Jesus knew that. It's the reason he didn't resist the arrest. It's the reason he didn't bother to answer their accusations. It's the reason he allowed himself to be beaten and tortured and ridiculed.
It is, after all, the reason he came.
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