THE WORD IS
"For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast" (1 Cor. 5:7,8). According to this exhortation, when God's people recalled God's works of grace, they were filled with a spirit of jubilation. "In Thy Name they rejoice all the day" (Ps. 89:16). We dare to approach God with joy because of Jesus.
Every year the people of Israel observed the Passover festival in memory of their liberation from slavery in Egypt. They slaughtered a lamb without blemish and prepared it for their Passover meal. According to this prototype Jesus became our Passover Lamb. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was innocent, without sin. Our sins were charged to Him. He suffered for them. "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world", said John the Baptist as he pointed to Jesus (John 1:29). In the original language the word for "takes away" means to carry. John the Baptist therefore beheld Jesus as the Lamb on whom the world's burden of sin had been laid. Bearing this burden, Jesus suffered and died. "The wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). But because Jesus had no sin of His own, His suffering was a substitutionary suffering.
Jesus did not remain in the grave. He arose from the dead. What does this mean to us? It means victory over sin and death. It is proof that our sins have received their wages. A sufficient price has been paid. For if even a single sin had not been atoned for, Jesus would still be in His grave. So certain is the fact that our sins were charged to Him; and so certain is the fact that we have been absolved of our sins. Jesus "was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification" (Rom. 4:25). He who now believes in the Son has passed from death to life and will not be condemned. Already in Holy Baptism we were buried with Christ into death and also together with Him were raised through faith.
We have reason to celebrate and to rejoice. Our crimson sins can no longer condemn us. Christ with His blood has made them white as snow. They have been forgiven. The power of death has been broken. Jesus has risen as the firstfruits of those who are asleep. On the Last Day there will be a gigantic Easter celebration. All those who died believing in Christ will be raised, free of sin and the chains of death, to enjoy the bliss into which they were baptized. Those who have not believed will be raised to "disgrace and everlasting contempt" (Dan. 12.2). For this reason let us now celebrate Easter in faith, so that we can also celebrate it eternally.