By Rev. Dr. William H. Chavis, Jr.
While celebrating Passover, two ironies occurred during the seven-day feast when Pilate questioned Christ Jesus. First, it was the custom at Passover to release one prisoner for another. The crowd implored Pilate to trade Jesus for a well-known insurrectionist and murderer named Barabbas (Luke 23:16-25). Second, Barabbas means “son of a father.” The angry crowd wanted to replace a “son of a father” for the Eternal Son of God, the Father!
Pilate released Barabbas. This trade was what Jesus came to do on the cross for all of us and not for Barabbas only. His substitutionary death on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21) was a trade to die for the whole world’s sins.
Passover is the Jewish festival celebrating the escape of Hebrews from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-14). Those who escaped death from God had to kill an unblemished one-year male lamb and put its blood on the houses’ doorpost. The blood symbolized a sacrifice offered as a substitute for one life laid down for another. The blood on the doorpost was a sign that the occupants in those houses trusted God, and death would pass over them.
Jesus is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7). As the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), He was born to give His life for others so that anyone who believes in Him would escape from the slavery of sin to eternal life.
Jesus’s name means salvation. His mission was to deliver us from spiritual death and sin. Through His birth, He is the front end of salvation (Luke 2:8-11). Through His death, Jesus is the back end of salvation because He is the Passover Lamb who died on the cross for us (John 19:16-18). Jesus is the totality of salvation because He died for the whole world’s sins (1 John 2:2).
The resurrection event describes the incredible power exhibited by the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 8:11). The resurrection of Jesus is the climax of salvation. No resurrection, no salvation! Without the resurrection, there is no way to receive the new birth in Christ Jesus (1 Peter 1:3).
The ascension of Jesus is the exaltation of salvation. After Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He ascended to be seated at the right hand of God in heaven (Ephesians 1:20). Jesus was received and exalted by God, the Father, in all His majestic splendor (1 Timothy 3:16) “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion…., not only in this age but the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21).
Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven (Acts 4:12) who can rescue and transfer people from spiritual death and sin and place them immediately in the Kingdom of heaven (Colossians 1:13) by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). If you trust that Christ is who the Bible says He is (John 1:11-12), God will forgive your sins through repentance (Acts 3:19).
Acts 3:19 speaks to Biblical repentance. Biblical repentance is turning away from sin and accepting Jesus Christ in faith. Once you receive Jesus by faith, your spiritual status will change. First, you will be declared righteous (1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:7-9), and secondly, you will immediately transfer from spiritual death to everlasting life (Colossians 1:13)!
Suppose Jesus did not die on the cross as our Passover Lamb? Then there is no salvation! No salvation? No resurrection. No resurrection? No ascension. No ascension? Then there was no exaltation by God to celebrate Jesus Christ’s enthronement.
Hallelujah! All Hail, to the glorious, exalted, enthroned King who is the Lord of Glory!