In honor of the Exodus from Egypt and the Passover, we have...a special symbolism in scripture competition!*
We celebrate the Passover almost every year in our family. I have determined it's the coolest, deepest symbolism in the Bible. That's saying a lot, given the competition.
And now, in (somewhat) arbitrary order, the three main challengers:
#3. Sex. Yep, sex is just about the deepest symbol in the Bible. It represents God's intimate love relationship with us.
If we are the image of God (we are!), and if marriage between a man and a woman represents Christ and the church (it does!), then sex between a husband and a wife represents the intimacy between God and man.This is a big one, and I'm gonna agree with Solomon, it's mind-blowing.
For extra review, check out Song of Songs, especially Song of Songs 4:9-5:1
#2. The Cross. Ooh. Don't you want to know what #1 is if the cross comes in at #2. Barely edged out for the top spot, the cross is a highly paradoxical symbol.
It means death. It is a curse. Jesus is life. He is freedom.
And in the world's, no, universe's, ultimate turn-around, Jesus is killed on the cross. Life is conquered by death. The curse, applied to the world's first perfect person. Applied to God.
And then...it isn't.
To everyone's surprise, the curse is undone by freedom. Life has the last laugh. Jesus is alive!
The cross now becomes a symbol for victory, while still representing Christ's sacrifice for our freedom.
For extra review, check out Isaiah 53:1-12 and Galations 3:10-14
#1. Communion Wine. This one might ring in as a bit of a surprise, but hold on. There's more to this one than it seems.
Wine is used throughout Scripture to represent God's abundance. He uses it as a blessing to give prosperity in the Old Testament. "Your vats will overflow with new wine..." There are numerous examples of this. Even Jesus made wine (and the prosperity that it undoubtedly brings) his first miracle (unplanned and totally to the credit of a mom. Thanks moms everywhere for your timely butting in. You and your advice are invaluable!) Jesus looked forward to the day when we would share the cup with him at the banquet in heaven. That's pretty important. And pretty symbolic. Read on.
When we talk about Christ changing us, we refer to being cleansed by his blood. The blood is the only propitiation for sin (read *sacrifice*). Think about the Old Testament. Think about the altar. The sacrifices.
Jesus was the sacrifice that paid for our sins forever. Without blood, there is no salvation. Just as the altar was sprinkled with blood, so the cross dripped with it.
And Jesus specifically said his blood is true drink and if we drink of it, we have life. "This is my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." That was the First Communion and the Last Supper.
The blood. The sacrifice. The forgiveness. The cup.
That's why Communion wine makes my #1, swinging at the champ...
For extra review, check out John 6:55-56 and Luke 22:14-20
The Passover. This one ties it all together. The cross was important because the Lamb of God was sacrificed on it. And that's what the Pascal Lamb eaten at the Passover represented. The Passover was the Last Supper ceremony Jesus and his disciples were celebrating on his last night. The Communion wine that Jesus said is his blood was the Elijah Cup, the fourth cup of wine in the Passover celebration. It was the cup to remind them of the coming Messiah. Historically, they would throw it out the window and say, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
It was this cup Jesus would raise and say, "This is my blood..."
Mark my words, those men knew something special was happening. To wrap it all up, the escape from Egypt was to symbolize Christ freeing us from captivity to sin.
So, in a completely subjective, slightly unreasonable competition, The Passover holds the coolest symbolism in Scripture award in a split decision. All of them glorifying to God. All deeply, powerfully, pointing to Jesus.
Interestingly, notice some of God's most powerfully important symbols are also the things the world attacks. Sex and wine are two major symbols the world perverts to cause sin. They are meant for the proper context, to glorify God, and they represent the beauty of intimacy with Him and the joy of the abundant life in Christ. The world's sinful perversion of God's symbols doesn't mean we should remove them, only use them for Him alone. Rather,they point to how irreplaceably important they are. Like the cross, they are God's symbols, designed by him for his glory.
*Not really a competition. More of a fun exhibition.
The little one is the kiddo
The cutest guy ever.
Exodus 12:14-13:16, Matthew 20:29-21:22, Psalm 25: 16-22, Proverbs 6:12-15
Love me some lamb and bitter herbs.
Jesus shows his nature, which is really cool. He has compassion on the blind men. Despite how people want him to dismiss them, he draws them near and heals them. "Having compassion on them."
Then he enters Jerusalem, and this is one exciting scene. Imagine what it would be like to be with him. Jesus rides in on coats and a donkey. There's a buzz in the city. The people are shouting praises. They're laying down palm branches before his donkey. Children are prancing around, praising God, and hailing Jesus with Hosanna's.
He and the disciples are on top of the world.
He immediately charges into the temple, breaks up the market, and drives out the buyers and sellers. He uses a chord to whip them as he kicks down their tables. This is a man of action. It's a man on a rampage, turning the momentum of his entry into a stellar performance in his Father's house.
However, this isn't the whole story. Jesus is just as "bad," in a totally good way, as he seems, but he sees another goal ahead of him. I wonder if the disciples have any idea what's coming at the end of the week.
David needs God to come through. He's just open and honest to ask. Go before God with your needs. He wants to hear you, and he'll save you like I have a feeling he'll do David.
In a world that values winks and smooth-talkers, don't get caught up in the game. God wants us to be totally honest, totally ourselves. There's nothing wrong with a confident smile and charisma. But the wink Proverbs is warning of is the one with deceptive intentions.
If you find yourself getting caught up in image, selfishness, or deception instead of just plain character, get back to the Jesus style. Confident, bold, yet compassionate.
And nothing to fear.
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