Just wanted to share a seasonal post that’s off of my normal topic. I hope you enjoy.
Have a Happy Easter and Happy Passover!
“It is Finished” John 19:30
Many of our Non-Catholic brothers and sisters say that what Jesus was referring to was the completion of our redemption, i.e. that nothing more was needed, our salvation was complete. This however is not the case. The New Testament teaches that our redemption was not complete until Jesus had been raised for our justification” Rom 4:25. Therefore Jesus should have used those words after his resurrection to make the statement true.
So what did he mean? To answer this question we must look at the events leading up to the statement. If we go back to Mk 14:12-16 we see that Jesus and his disciples were celebrating the Jewish feast of the Passover. Passover is the celebration of God delivering the Israelites from Egypt. As you recall during the night every first born child died except for those in the Israelites families. The Israelites took the blood of a lamb, a lamb without blemish or broken bones (Ex 12:5, 46). The lamb was slain and eaten as a sacrificial meal and the blood was placed on the door post using a hyssop branch. Like the lamb of the Passover meal Jesus himself is called the perfect lamb (see John 19:33, 36 and Ex 12:46).
Later Jesus stands before Pilate. John states in his Gospel “Now it was the day of preparation of the Passover, it was about the sixth hour.” The sixth hour is precisely the hour when the Jewish priest begins the slaughtering of the lambs for the Passover celebration.
John also notes that hyssop was used to bring the wine to Jesus mouth (John 19:29), the exact branch prescribed in the Passover law to sprinkle the blood of the lamb (Ex 12:22)
Let’s go back and take a look at the Passover Feast in more detail. It consists of four cups of wine. The feast starts with a solemn blessing over the first cup followed by bitter herbs to remind the Jewish people of the bitterness of Egyptian bondage. The second cup is drunk after the recitation of the “Little Hallel” (Ps 113). The main meal is then served consisting of the sacrificed lamb and unleavened bread., then the third cup known as the “cup of blessing.” This was then followed by singing of the hymn known as the Great Hallel (Ps 114-118). Then the fourth cup, the “cup of consumption.
New Testament scholars acknowledge that the last super was the Passover Meal. The cup that Jesus blessed is the third cup, the “Cup of Blessing.” Immediately following it “they sung a hymn” (Mk 14:26). Paul identified this cup of blessing with the Eucharistic cup (see 1 Cor 10:16).
What happens next is interesting. Instead of proceeding to the last cup of the Passover Meal “they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Mk 14:26).
Jesus purposely did not finish the Passover celebration. In fact he purposely exclaimed “Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God” (Mk 14:25).
Later in Matthew we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where “going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed ‘my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt 26:39). In fact he prayed three times that this cup be taken away.
Later still, when Jesus was heading up to Golgotha “they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it” (Mk 15:23). As Jesus had stated in Mk 14:25 he did not drink the fruit of the vine at this point.
When we review the Gospel of John we see that John perceived Jesus paschal suffering as actually the event whereupon he manifests and enters the Kingdom of Glory (see Jon 3:14, 7:37-39, 8:28, 12:23-33, 13:31)
When we consider all the events surrounding the Passover Meal; John’s interpretation of Jesus entering into the Kingdom of Glory with his suffering; The New Testament statement that Jesus had to be “raised for our Justification” (which had not occurred at this point); and Jesus last actions surrounding his statement “It is Finished,” we must conclude that when he received the vinegar (sour wine) just before he made the statement he was actually stating that he completed the transformation of the old Passover Covenant into the New Covenant. “He took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt 26:27-28).
Keith Abell, RPh MI
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