30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 8

Faith Church May 1, 2004

Overview, this lesson will cover Chapters 24 & 25



I.  Christ our “Passover”--The Old Testament Significance of the Passover

INPUT: What event in the history does the Passover commemorate? Tell me the story of what happened.

The Passover which is usually in March or early April (this year actually very late: April 20th) remembers God’s deliverance of Israel from its Egyptian captivity.

The last of the ten plagues of Egypt was the death of every firstborn son (Ex. 11:5)

In Ex. 12:13 we find the explanation of why the feast is called the Passover:


13 'And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.


God would “pass over” the houses of the Hebrews who had smeared the blood of the Passover lamb that was sacrificed on the sides and the top of their doorframes.

The Passover in Jesus’ time had a twofold significance:

It looked back to the first Passover in Egypt and the deliverance of the Jews

Second, it looked forward to the coming of Messiah to establish his kingdom

It is interesting to note that the rabbis, the religious teachers of the Jews believed that the Messiah would come on the night of the Passover

So it is a custom among Jewish families even today to leave a chair empty at the table for Elijah.

Why Elijah? Because the Bible talks bout Elijah coming as the forerunner of the Messiah <Mal. 3:1; 4:5-6>

Elijah is expected to come to announce the arrival of Messiah.

  • Summary




The Old Testament significance of the Passover is that it looked back on Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt and looked forward to ultimate deliverance through the Messiah.



II.  The Passover as Object Lesson:

Again and again God told the Israelites to remember their deliverance from slavery in Egypt

This would be an encouragement to them and help them to continue to be faithful to God (Deut. 5:15, 6:11-12)

How could all Israelites, young and old, literate and illiterate best remember what God had done for them?

To help them remember, God commanded them to re-enact the Passover every year – like an object lesson

Through this object lesson the Israelites would use all of their five senses to remember the story of God’s deliverance in a powerful way.

The head of the household would tell the story of Israel’s deliverance in great detail and explain the significance of all aspects of the Passover.

(Read 188-191)

  • Summary




The Passover was an object lesson of sacrifice and atonement for sin.


INPUT:  Now, in I Cor 5:7, Paul says Christ is our Passover, how do you see Christ fulfilling that symbolism?  (Various answers—Christ deliverance of us from bondage in slavery to sin, not physical slavery, his blood passes over or covers our sins, and avoids the “death angel” so to speak. Note:  Christ was sacrificed at the same time that the Passover Lambs would be sacrificed compare John 18:28; 19:12-14)


INPUT:  What is the fulfillment of the Passover supper that we celebrate today?

(Lord’s Table—Explain significance)





The Lord’s Supper is the New Testament fulfillment of the Passover, symbolizing Christ’s fulfillment of the Old Testament promises.



III.  The Resurrection of Jesus Christ


Paul writes about the importance of the resurrection in 1 Cor. 15:1-19


1 Corinthians 15:1-19

1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;8 and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12 Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;14 and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.15 Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.



INPUT: According to these verses and other Biblical concepts , why is the resurrection so important?

(Various answers--If Christ was raised from the dead, then everything He said can be trusted.

If He didn’t, nothing he said can be trusted, Everything stands or falls on the resurrection, Note if there is not a resurrection someday—this is a pretty sad life if this is all there [ tie into believer’s resurrection and Millennium—Christ was the first “fruits” and believers will follow him.  Christ’s resurrection is our hope as well that this earthly life and body is not all that there is!]


Because the resurrection is so important it is not surprising that it receives so much fire by critics of Christianity.

If they can disproof the resurrection, everything else Christ claimed is also wrong.

These are the three most common ways of explaining away the resurrection:

  1. The Theft Theory

Christ’s body was stolen from the tomb.

<See textbook p. 195>




The Theft Theory states that the disciples stole the body of Jesus from the tomb after he died.


INPUT:  Why is this not plausible?

(Roman soldiers were punishable by death if they did not fulfill their duty)

(Why would the disciples face future torture and death for what they knew to be a lie)

(How can you explain the 500 post-resurrection sightings?)

  1. The Swoon Theory
  2. Christ appeared to be dead, but he had only swooned from exhaustion, pain, and loss of blood.
  3. Later in the cool tomb he revived after being left alone.
  4. <See textbook p. 196>



The Swoon Theory states that Jesus did not die on the cross, but merely went into a death-like coma from which he revived after being laid in the cool tomb.


INPUT:  Why is this one not plausible?

(John 19:33-34, Jesus had died!, the Roman soldiers made sure of this!, piercing his side;  Suppose for a minute that the Roman executioners were wrong and Jesus had somehow survived and was buried alive.  How likely would He have been to endure another 36 hours in a cold, damp tomb w/o food, water, or medical attention?  See quote on p. 197

  1. The Subjective Vision or Hallucination Theory
  2. <See textbook p. 198>




The Hallucination Theory states that the disciples of Jesus had a common hallucination that Jesus rose from the dead.



  1. The Resurrection as History
  2. There are many historical reasons to believe that the resurrection actually happened
  3. The New Testament is historically valid:
  4. The New Testament passes the bibliographical, internal-evidence, and external-evidence tests
  5. The bibliographical test says that there is enough evidence to reconstruct what Jesus taught and did although we do not have the original manuscripts.
  6. Internal evidence focuses on what the document itself claims. Many oft the authors of the New Testament claim to have been eyewitnesses of what happened.
  7. External evidence looks for historical documents that either support or deny what the internal claims of the document. History has never proved the Scriptures to be wrong.
  8. The New Testament documents unanimously claim that Jesus was resurrected.
  9. If that was not the case there would only be three ways to interpret this data in the New Testament:
  10. Jesus was a liar
  11. Jesus was a lunatic
  12. Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God and the disciples were liars.


  • If the same tests are applied to the resurrection as to any other historical event, the conclusion has to be that the resurrection actually happened.
  • Only those who do not want to believe it come to another conclusion, and must twist historical evidence.




The Resurrection as History position states that Jesus rose from the dead, as He said He would.

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