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LEAVING JESUS

As born-again believers, we can only imagine the shame the disciples felt when they realized they’d left Jesus all alone to face the soldiers, and certain death. Peter in particular, after boasting he’d rather die than desert Jesus, must have himself felt like dying. But Jesus was undeterred: He knew beforehand that all his followers would leave him, and so he’d prepared himself accordingly.

He didn’t blame them; he pitied them, knowing their weaknesses.

And he forgave them.

Tonight at midnight marks the anniversary of when all of Jesus’ disciples deserted him. The spirit of fear is a powerful force that can make you do things you hadn’t expected you’d do. For instance, God gives women that charming involuntary response of a loud piercing scream whenever they encounter something that makes them unexpectedly afraid. It’s a defense mechanism. I’ve experienced that involuntary defense mechanism myself on occasion: The scream rips out of you before you can stop it. It’s like a reflex.

I think the disciples’ desertion of Jesus all those years ago was also like a reflex. They vamoosed before they realized what they were doing; maybe they even thought at first that Jesus had vamoosed with them.

But Jesus hadn’t vamoosed. He’d stood his ground, completely immune to the fear reflex. No scream escaped his lips. He went to his crucifixion willingly. He even took a moment to lecture one of his followers on the right way to treat others, including the soldiers who were arresting him. As the storm of evil churned and howled around him, Jesus stood in the eye of it, calm and unflappable.

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We are to celebrate Passover as Jesus taught us to celebrate it, in memory of him.

Tonight is Passover.

We are to purge our homes of yeast, as Moses taught us to do. The Feast of Unleavened Bread is the continuum of the Passover feast. We’re to purge our homes of yeast because God said to keep this feast for all time. That means it’s ongoing until the end of time. We’re not at the end of time yet, so we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. We keep keeping it, because we are the spiritual offspring of the children of Israel, and the children of Israel must keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread for all time. That is a scriptural command straight from God.

If you haven’t yet done so, now is a good time to identify anything in your cupboards or fridge that has yeast in it, and throw it out. Better still, instead of throwing it out, give it to the birds. Don’t give it to people – give it to the birds. Don’t poke it away for later – give it to the birds. But get it out of your house.

That is a command from God.

We’re to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread just as we’re to celebrate the Passover.

The Passover is tonight, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread continues where the Passover lets off and goes for seven days. The Passover is a reminder of God’s supernatural protection of his people, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a celebration of the Hebrews being sprung from slavery. Their freedom came so quickly and unexpectedly, they didn’t even have the chance to put yeast in their bread dough. They had to vamoose with unyeasted dough. Jesus tells us we should live our lives with loins girded and shoes on our feet, always ready to leave at a moment’s notice with little more than the clothes on our back. That’s how the Hebrews left Egypt; that’s how Jesus’ parents left with him when they fled Herod’s murderous decree; and that’s how the early Christians lived: Always ready to leave at a moment’s notice.

These feasts are not optional: they are a command.

Jesus told us to celebrate the Passover – not Easter, not Good Friday, not the Last Supper – Passover.

Passover is tonight.

We celebrate the Passover the way Jesus showed us to, and we keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the following seven days.

We do this because we’ve been told to do it.

We do this because man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Jesus told us to do it and Moses told us to do it, which means that God told us to do it.

I hope you enjoy your Passover celebrations tonight and that you purge your home of yeast for the next week.

Blessings will follow if you keep God’s commands.

Curses will follow if you don’t.


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