Passover and Repentance
The Passover season brings to mind all the events surrounding the death and resurrection of the Messiah. These events had been prophesied centuries earlier in the Psalms and the prophets. Jesus recounted all the prophecies that confirmed that he was the Messiah after his resurrection, as he walked on the road to Emmaus with two disciples. Luke revealed in this account that it was necessary for Jesus to suffer, die, and rise again. Why? So that repentance could be preached to all nations. And, having repented, believers could become empowered by the Holy Spirit. Luke reiterated this message in the book of Acts. He recounted the story of Pentecost when Peter encouraged the people to repent and be baptized so they could receive the Holy Spirit. But what did it mean to repent?
John’s Baptism of Repentance
Prior to Jesus ministry, John the Baptist came as a forerunner preaching a gospel of repentance. He encouraged people to examine themselves. reject their past sinful ways, and seek God’s purpose. Repentance required a change of mind. One had to begin to think differently and then take action to conform to God’s word. It was no longer sufficient to perform rituals for purification. God was looking for people who would purify their heart, mind, and desire. Repentance was the first of the elemental truths that would lead to a spiritually mature life. Passover and repentance were first steps towards eternal life and the Kingdom of God.
Repentance in Our Time
The people of Jesus’ day understood repentance as a returning to the values they had been taught from the scriptures since childhood. But we live in a very different age. Few understand the moral imperatives in the scriptures or how to act in harmony with them. As a society we have forgotten much of our Judeo Christian heritage. We no longer understand the nature of sin. But we do not need to be willfully blind like so many in our world. If we look to the authority of scripture we know that sin is lawlessness. And therefore repentance is a change from willful blindness to willful obedience to God’s instructions – his laws or teachings. An internal and external change occurs as we turn to God and begin to perform his good works, with his word to guide us.
Paul and Passover
Paul made the connection between Passover and repentance. He encouraged the believers in Corinth to purge out the leaven of malice and sin – to repent. Just as they had already removed the physical leaven from their homes in order to observe the Passover season. Paul admonished them to acknowledge the lordship of ‘Christ our Passover,’ in order to live unleavened lives in sincerity and truth through the power of his spirit. This message is as true for us today, as for those gentile believers in ancient Corinth. Passover and repentance begin a time of renewal and the first steps on our yearly journey towards the Kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Learn more about repentance:
The Path to Eternal Life