Our Passover

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7
 
In this verse from his first letter to the believers as Corinth, the apostle Paul refers to the Jewish festival known as the Passover. This was the most important religious celebration among the Jews.
 
Passover commemorated the “passing over” of the houses of the Israelites when God destroyed all the firstborn of the land of Egypt. This occurred as God’s final plague against Egypt to convince the pharaoh to release the nation of Israel from slavery. The Jews escaped God’s judgement by following His command to mark their houses with the blood of sacrificial lambs.
 
Jesus is Our Passover, Paul declares, because He shed His blood to bring deliverance for God’s people, just as the first sacrificial lambs inaugurated the first Passover. We remember His sacrifice with reverence every time we partake of Communion, the Lord’s Supper,
 
The imagery of leaven in connection with Passover also appears in this verse. Leaven is another word for yeast, an ingredient used to cause bread to rise. But the Israelites left Egypt in such a hurry on the first Passover that they didn’t have time to add leaven to their bread dough and wait for it to rise (see Exodus 12:34). Thus, whenever they observed this holiday from that day on, they were to eat unleavened bread. This part of Passover was known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
 
Paul refers to Christians in this verse as a “new lump,” because they were “unleavened.” Just as unleavened bread symbolizes the Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian slavery, so Christians are unleavened, or separated from sin and death, by the perfect Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ. 


Only Wise God

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen.   Jude 1:24-25
 
These final two verses of the epistle of Jude form one of the most inspiring benedictions in the New Testament. Jude wanted his readers to experience the joy of their salvation and to continue to be faithful in their witness to their Only Wise God, whom he clearly identified as Jesus their Savior.
 
This is the only place in the Bible where Jesus is called by this name. The New King James Version translates this phrase as “God our Savior, who alone is wise.” Only Jesus Christ has divine wisdom. Worldly wisdom is a poor substitute for the wisdom that God promises to those who follow Him as Savior and Lord.
 
Jesus the Son, and God the Father impart wisdom to believers by several methods-through the Holy Spirit, through the counsel of fellow Christians, and through the scriptures, the written Word of God. We will never be as wise as God, who is the fount of all wisdom. But we should be growing in this gift of grace as we walk with Him during our earthly journey. James advised the readers of his epistle: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 NIV).
 
Another name of Jesus similar in meaning to Only Wise God is Wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:24).


Only Begotten Son

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
 
Jesus used this name for Himself in His long discussion with Nicodemus about the meaning of the new birth (see John 3:1-21). This verse from that discussion is probably the best known passage in the entire Bible. Most Christians can quote it from memory. It had been called “the gospel in a nutshell” because its twenty-five words tell us so clearly and simply why Jesus came into the world.
 
The name Only Begotten Son describes Jesus’ special relationship with the Father. He is unique-the one and only of His kind who has ever existed. The fact that He was God’s one and only Son makes His role as our Savior all the more significant. God the Father sent the very best when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. 
 
This name of Jesus appears only in the writings of the apostle John (see John 1:18; 3:18; 1 John 4:9). John in his Gospel also referred to Jesus as the Only Begotten of the Father (John 1:14).


One Chosen Out Of The People

Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people.  Psalm 89:19
 
Psalm 89 focuses on God’s promise to King David that one of David’s descendants would always occupy the throne of Israel (see 2 Samuel 7:8-17). Thus the “one chosen out of the people” in this verse refers to David, because he was chosen by the Lord from among the sons of Jesse to replace Saul as king (see 1 Samuel 16:10-13).
 
But this psalm also looks beyond David’s time to its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The angel Gabriel made this clear when he appeared to the virgin Mary to tell her that she would give birth to the Messiah, God’s Chosen One. “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest,” Gabriel declared, “and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32).
 
As the One Chosen out of the People, Jesus was not a king in the same sense as David. He did not seek political or military power. His kingship was spiritual in nature. He ushered in the kingdom of God, the dominion over which He reigns with all those who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. 


Minister Of The True Tabernacle

We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; a minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Hebrews 8:1-2
 
One of the major themes of the book of Hebrews is the supremacy of Christ’s priesthood over the Old Testament sacrificial system. In this verse, the writer of Hebrews claims that the priesthood established during Aaron’s time (see Exodus 40:12-15) was only a shadow of the eternal priesthood provided for believers in heaven. Jesus is the priest of the heavenly sanctuary that God has established for His people; He is the Minister of the True Tabernacle. 
 
The most sacred place in the Jewish religious system was the inner sanctuary of the tabernacle or temple, known as “the most holy”, which represented God’s holy and awesome presence. Only the high priest could enter this section of the temple, and even he could do so only once a year, on the Day of Atonement. On this special occasion, he offered a sacrifice-first for his own sins and then for the sins of the people (see Leviticus 16:1-6).
 
When Jesus died on the cross, the heavy veil or curtain that sealed off this section of the temple was torn from top to bottom (see Matthew 27:50-51). This symbolized that all people now had access to God’s presence and forgiveness through the sacrificial death of His Son, Jesus.
 
Jesus is now the perfect priest or Minister of the True Tabernacle in heaven. There, He conducts His ministry of intercession for all believers. “He is able to save completely those who come to God through him, ” the writer of Hebrews declares, “because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).


Messiah

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. John 4:25-26
 
These two verses are part of the account in John’s Gospel of Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. He admitted openly to her that He was the Messiah, the deliverer whom God had been promising to send to His people for hundreds of years.
 
The only other place in the New Testament where the word Messiah appears is also in John’s Gospel. After meeting Jesus, Andrew told his brother, Simon Peter, “We have found the Messias” (John 1:41).
 
It’s not surprising that Messiah appears rarely in the New Testament, because Jesus discouraged others from referring to Him by this title (see Matthew 16:20). The Jewish people expected their Messiah to be a political and military deliverer who would throw off the yoke of Rome and restore the fortunes of Israel. Jesus had come into the world as a spiritual Messiah, but He avoided this name because it would lead the people to expect Him to be something He was not.
 
Though the word Messiah is rare in the New Testament, the concept appears on almost every page. The Greek term christos, rendered as “Christ,” means “anointed” or “anointed one” – a word referring to the Messiah or God’s Chosen One (see Chosen of God and Christ above).
 
Even when the Messiah is mentioned in the Old Testament, the word itself is seldom used. Usually this leader who was to come is described as a Prince (Daniel 8:25), Ruler (Micah 5:2), or Servant (Isaiah 53:11). The rare exception is the book of Daniel, which contains a reference to Messiah the Prince (Daniel 9:25).


Messenger Of The Covenant

Jesus not only established the new covenant that God had promised for His people (see Mediator of the New Testament above). He was also the Messenger whom God sent to announce that this new covenant was now a reality. In this messianic passage, the prophet Malachi declares that Jesus the Messiah would come as the Messenger of the Covenant.
 
Throughout the history of Israel, God had sent many agents to deliver His message to His people. The greatest of His messengers were the prophets, who often delivered unpopular messages were the prophets, who often delivered unpopular messages of divine judgement against the nation’s sin and rebellion. But Jesus was the divine Messenger who stood out above all the others. He was the Messenger of the covenant of grace that God the Father had established with a sinful world.
 
About six hundred years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah announced that God the Father would send His servant with a message of joy and comfort for all people. At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus identified with this prophecy. He stood in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth and read these words from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19). Then He declared, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).
 
For more than three years, Jesus served as the faithful Messenger of God’s new covenant of grace that He had been sent to establish. Then His earthly ministry ended with His death on the cross and His glorious resurrection, God’s plan from the beginning was that His Messenger would eventually become the Message-the good news (gospel) about God’s love for sinners. 


Mediator Of The New Testament

Testament is another word for covenant or agreement. Thus the “new testament” that the writer of Hebrews mentions here is the new covenant that God established with His people, based on the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Mediator of this new covenant.
 
The first covenant of God with His people was formalized in Old Testament times. God agreed to bless the Israelites and serve as their Guide and Protector if they would follow and worship Him. But the Jewish people broke this covenant time and time again as they fell into rebellion and idolatry.
 
Finally, God promised through the prophet Jeremiah that He would established a new covenant with His people. This would be a spiritual covenant written on their hearts rather than a covenant of law (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). This covenant would accomplish for God’s people what the old covenant had failed to do-bring them forgiveness and give them a new understanding of God the Father.
 
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus declared that He was implementing this new covenant that had been promised by His Father. This covenant would be based on His blood, which would be shed to provide redemption and forgiveness of sin for God’s people (see Matthew 26:28).
 
Unlike the old covenant, this new covenant has never been replaced. The Mediator of the New Covenant has promised that those who belong to Him will enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. What could be better than that? We are willing to bet our lives that Jesus will deliver on His promise.
 
In Hebrews, Jesus is also called the Mediator of a Better Covenant (Hebrews 8:6) and the Surety of a Better Testament (Hebrews 7:22). These names express the same idea as Mediator of the New Testament.


Mediator

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.  1 Timothy 2:5
 
A mediator is a person who serves as a middleman or go-between to bring two opposing parties together. For example, a mediator is often used in labor disputes. Both labor and management leaders agree to abide by the decision of an independent mediator. This avoids the expense and hassle of a lawsuit and often brings a quick resolution to the problem. 
 
According to the apostle Paul, in this verse from his first letter to Timothy, Jesus also fills the role of spiritual Mediator in the world. He is the middleman, or go-between who reconciles God to mankind.
 
Man by nature is a sinner. In his sinful state, he is estranged from a holy God, who will not tolerate anything that is unholy or unclean. But Jesus eliminated this gap between God and man by sacrificing His life on the cross for our sins and purchasing our forgiveness. Cleansed of our sin through the blood of Jesus, we now have fellowship with God the Father. We have been reconciled to God through His Son’s work as our Mediator.
 
Jesus is the perfect Mediator between God and man, because He had both divine and human attributes. As God, He understood what God the Father demanded of people in order to be acceptable in His sight. As a man, He realized the desperate situation of sinful human beings. He was the God-man who was able to bring these two opposites together in a way that brought glory to God and gave man access to God’s blessings and His eternal presence.
 
Jesus our Mediator also expects His followers to serve as “middlemen” for others in a sinful world. Our job as Christians is to point others to Jesus Christ, who wants everyone to enjoy fellowship with God the Father. The apostle Paul expresses it like this: “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).


Master

And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.     Matthew 23:9-10
 
This name that Jesus used of Himself appears in the famous “woe” chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, in which Jesus condemns the Pharisees. He was particularly critical of their hypocrisy and religious pride. They enjoyed being greeted in the streets with titles that recognized them for their learning and expertise in the Jewish law; but Jesus declared that He as God’s Son was the only person who deserved the title of Master.
 
Master in this verse is a derivative of a Greek word that means “commander” or “ruler”. Modern translations sometimes render this word as “teacher”. But Jesus was claiming to be more than a teacher. He made it clear to His disciples and others who were listening that He had the right to serve as the supreme authority in their lives.
 
In New Testament times, slave owners were sometimes called “masters” (see Colossians 4:1), implying their supreme control over every aspect of their slaves’ lives. As Christians, we are also subject to the will of our Master, the Lord Jesus, who has redeemed us for His service.



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