Having asked the question yesterday "Why did Jesus have to die how he died?", I've been digging.
I like digging - it satisfies my insatiable appetite for knowledge. Unfortunately, in a family-tree-esque expansion of subjects, it always ends up with me asking more questions - which ends up in more digging.
This bit of digging did, though, provide some kind of answer - which is that perhaps Jesus had to die the way he died because of the Passover story.
Passover was the story of how God redeemed the Israelites from slavery. It was a convenant, wrapped in a story... a story that the Jewish people told to remember how God chose them and rescued them to be the salvation of the world... wrapped around a promise, that God would be with them.
The central actor (rather despite himself I'd have to say) was the passover lamb - a "male without defect" which was selected (by Jesus' time) five days before Passover, killed ceremonially at the Temple on the Friday afternoon... the day after a passover meal that includes the curious tradition of taking three striped and pierced (no, seriously - from prophesies in the O.T.!) wafers, breaking the middle one, and then wrapping it in a cloth and 'burying' it until the end of the meal, when it is 'resurrected'.
I don't really understand where some of those traditions came from... more digging ahoy!
But, surely, there are too many parallels for Passover to not have something to do with Jesus' death.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem five days before Passover, was killed at 3.00 p.m. on the Friday afternoon just as the sacrificial lamb was being killed in the Temple, and was buried on the Friday evening. Before being resurrected early on the Sunday.
And Jesus seems to have seen his involvement as central to the story. In the Passover meal that he shared with his disciples, he took the bread and broke it and said 'This is my body'... and then after eating took the wine and said 'this is the new covenant in my blood'
Well, Jeremiah 31 says:
"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD. "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jer 31 : 31-33)
So, from yesterday's slightly tentative question about obedience, I'm now wondering if Jesus death was another covenant, wrapped in another story, which represents and resurrects the original plan that God had for the salvation of the world...
Pop... right back at you with your lack of plan B ;)
And more digging...