Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’ – Isaiah 46:10
God declares the end from the beginning. Centuries before things happen, He has already seen it. He is the Alpha and Omega. God has been pointing from the past, to show us the future. Palm Sunday is coming up quickly, which marks Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate to celebrate the feast of Passover (which we celebrate today as Easter).
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the Temple was still standing, and the priests were still sacrificing animals to cover the sins of Israel according to God’s covenant with them. During the Feast of Passover, Jewish males were required to come to Jerusalem. In fact, Jewish males were required to come to Jerusalem three times a year – The Feast of Passover (Easter), the Feast of Shavout (Pentecost), and the Feast of Tabernacles.
When Jesus came riding into the city, it was packed. Imagine a city and all of a sudden the Olympics happen. This was bigger. Crowds and crowds rushed in, more than doubling the population.Not only was it Palm Sunday when Jesus came riding in, but it was also Lamb Selection Day. This happened on the 10th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, according to Exodus 12:3-6.
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man must get one lamb for the people in his house. If there are not enough people in his house to eat a whole lamb, he must share it with his closest neighbor, considering the number of people. There must be enough lamb for everyone to eat. The lamb must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. This animal can be either a young sheep or a young goat. Take care of the animals until the fourteenth day of the month. On that day all the people of the community of Israel will kill them in the evening before dark. – Exodus 12:3-6
This Lamb Selection Day was celebrated every single year. Everyone in Jerusalem needed a lamb to sacrifice. Lambs that were to be used for sacrifice were brought in from the fields of Bethlehem. Remember where Jesus was born? Yes, it was Bethlehem.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, He entered in from the Eastern Gate, or Golden Gate, also known as the Sheep Gate. It was known as the Sheep Gate because this was the gate that the sheep were brought in to go to the sheep markets, the sheep pool, to be sacrifices in the temple.
The lambs that were to be slaughtered for the sin sacrifice as commanded by God in Exodus were to be taken into the homes of the families. There, they were to be inspected for 4 days to make sure they were without spot or blemish. Four different times Jesus was examined and four different times He was found to be without spot or blemish.
The Sanhedrin and the High Priest examined Him and found nothing to hold against Him (John 18:19-24). Pilate examined Him (Luke 23:1), Herod examined Him (Luke 23:13-17), and even the criminals on the cross examined Him (Luke 23: 39-40). None of them could find a spot or blemish.
On the 14th day of Nisan, the 1st day of Passover, the lamb was slain. At 9:00AM, Jesus was nailed to the cross. At the same time, the lambs were taken into the temple to be slain. At 3:00PM, the last Passover lamb was being killed by the High Priest in the Temple. At the same time, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” and died.
Have you ever noticed that when Jesus came triumphantly into Jerusalem, the people were laying down Palm branches. We do call it Palm Sunday. Palm branches had nothing to do with Passover. They had to do with the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated the end of the harvest and looked forward to the Messiah.
Jesus died to be our eternal Passover Lamb. 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, “Christ, our Passover.” His death, burial, and resurrection removed our sins, not just covered them. He died to be that spotless lamb that would never again need to to be sacrificed.
Since these children are people with physical bodies, Jesus himself became like them. He did this so that, by dying, he could destroy the one who has the power of death—the devil…For this reason Jesus had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way so he could be their merciful and faithful high priest in service to God. Then Jesus could die in their place to take away their sins. – Hebrews 2:14, 17
Israel was looking to deal with a natural problem – Rome. Even Jesus’ own disciples were still hooked on dealing with Rome after His resurrection. But God wants to deal with our spiritual problem – the sin problem.
Christ died, and we have been joined with him by dying too. So we will also be joined with him by rising from the dead as he did. We know that our old life died with Christ on the cross so that our sinful selves would have no power over us and we would not be slaves to sin. Anyone who has died is made free from sin’s control. – Romans 6:5-6
Jesus became our spotless, without blemish sacrificial lamb. And when we receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we take on that characteristic of being without spot, without blemish before God. Jesus came into Jerusalem with all these people cheering for Him, yet not too long from then, they would be chanting CRUCIFY! Yet He thought they were worth His sacrifice. He thought we were worth it.
When God sent Jesus, He selected you. You became worthy, not worthy by anything that you did. But love made you worthy. Jesus’ sacrifice made you worthy.
It doesn’t matter how you see yourself. It does, but it doesn’t. You may think you don’t have any worth, but God said that you were worth the death of His only son. Jesus was God in the flesh. You were worth the death of God. That’s how much He loves us and how much He thinks of us.
The world, the devil, culture, maybe even your own thoughts may be saying you’re not worthy. You’re not beautiful. You’re not smart. You’re not good enough. Your only hope to be good enough is to buy this, do this, act this way…
It doesn’t matter what they say. When those families took those lambs into their homes for four days – it didn’t matter what they thought, what the people in the streets or the market, what the government thought – because their thoughts were not the final say. God’s thoughts were the final say.
He said the spotless lamb was good enough. He says that you are good enough. You are worth the sacrifice of His only son. You were worth the death of God.
From the very beginning, God was planning out, leaving clues, breadcrumbs, foreshadowing the sacrifice that Jesus would make – to remove the sin that was keeping us from Him. And He did it through the perfect lamb that He selected – Jesus Christ. And He made all of us worthy.