The Forgotten Mandate of Passover & the Resurrection
As I’ve reflected on the Feast of Passover and Jesus’ resurrection recently, I’ve been struck with a glaring omission in my typical perspective on these events. My Passover focus is generally on the blood of the lamb the Israelites were told to put on their doorways to protect them from the death angel. Likewise, when I think of Jesus’ cross and resurrection, the main theme usually is how Jesus’ blood brought us a new covenant of forgiveness and reconciliation with God.
All of this is true and awesome, of course. But I have been stunned lately by a truth I’ve often lost sight of: Neither Passover nor the cross and resurrection were meant to offer protection, comfort, and security while people remained in the same place they started.
Instead, these events were a mandate to begin a journey to the Promised Land. They were a travel pass, or to use the Beatles’ old terminology, a ticket to ride.
The Israelites were told concerning their Passover observance: “Be fully dressed, wear your sandals, and carry your walking stick in your hand. Eat the meal with urgency, for this is the Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11 NLT). Sometimes we’ve gotten the misconception that they put the blood on their doorposts and then just hunkered down in fear or uncertainty of what would happen next.
However, the ultimate message was much different: They had been redeemed from slavery and were to be ready to leave on their journey to a new life. Yes, Passover was to begin in the safety of their home, but it was to trigger an exciting journey into their destiny.
The New Testament includes a similar commission—a “mandate to move,” I like to call it. After the devastating events of Jesus’ cross, His shell-shocked disciples were just hiding out, “meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders” (John 20:19). When the resurrected Jesus suddenly stood before them, He offered them peace and forgiveness, as we might expect. But He also did much more than that: He empowered them with the Holy Spirit and gave them a mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (v. 21).
Don’t miss the lesson here. Jesus doesn’t just comfort us, He commissions us. We are called to be sent, not sedentary or stagnant.
Before His ascension, Jesus repeatedly emphasized the “Going” aspect of our mandate:
“GO into all the world and preach…” (Mark 16:15).
“GO and make disciples of all the nations…” (Matthew 28:19).
And Jesus said this mandate to GO wouldn’t be complete until His disciples had reached “the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This commission—which truly was and is a “GREAT Commission”—shouldn’t really have been too surprising to the disciples. Jesus had already told them they would become “fishers of men” if they followed Him (Matthew 4:19). And the Great Commission is a part of the same mandate as humankind was given in Genesis 1:26-28, calling us to reflect God’s image, to multiply, and to fill the whole earth with His glory.
We see a similar picture in Abraham’s calling to be a blessing to the whole world:
LEAVE your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and GO to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others…All the families on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:1-3).
What a fantastic promise! But it all hinged on Abraham’s obedience to “leave” and “go.”
If you have a boring, uneventful, and unfulfilled Christian life today, you may need to reexamine the mission you’ve been given. If you’re still hiding being locked doors, it’s time to be touched with resurrection power and began a journey outward to bless a lost and needy world. He’s already given you the ticket.