By Melissa McLaughlin
In Over My Head
It was our honeymoon! What joy! We had decided to celebrate in Acapulco, Mexico. The food was scrumptious, the people joyful, the beaches beautiful and the water was warm and inviting. Being an avid ocean swimmer, I convinced my husband to take a snorkeling trip for an up-close-and-personal view of the tropical fish and exotic coral in the local ocean waters.
Soon enough, we zipped through the ocean as passengers on a small fishing boat. Before long, we realized we were the only English-speaking travelers on board. Though we both knew a little Spanish, we could not follow the fast-paced and animated conversations of our fellow adventurers. So we bobbed along in ignorant bliss. We had imagined ourselves exploring the shallow waters just off the beach where we soaked in the sun each day. To our dismay, the boat cruised farther and farther into deeper parts of the ocean.
During our journey, the Spanish-speaking crew gave us instructions for the use of our snorkel equipment, in Spanish of course. Fortunately, we followed along with their hands-on demonstration fairly well, or so we thought. The boat eventually stopped. We gulped as we gazed below at the ominous ocean waters, deep and dark. They pointed overboard and motioned for us to jump in. It was then that we realized all the other passengers on board were using oxygen tanks for deep sea diving in another area. Consequently, we were left to snorkel alone, in deep unknown ocean waters with little way to communicate.
My heart started beating like a wild drum in a runaway parade as the adrenaline rush set in. Over we jumped! I was not accustomed to swimming with flippers, a face mask and snorkel tubes, so I immediately struggled with the simple task of treading water and catching my breath. Someone who loves to swim and revels in riding the waves, suddenly found herself sinking in dark waters, gasping for air.
I began calling for help but unfortunately those on board the boat either couldn’t hear, couldn’t understand or were too engrossed in preparations for deep sea diving. Either way, they did not respond. They didn’t even make a passing glance in my direction. The only one who could help was my husband, who was not fond of this idea to begin with and who was now also frantically splashing and panting.
Eventually we were able to paddle near one another, calm ourselves down and learn to move our feet quickly enough to stay afloat and fasten our snorkel tubes in order to get oriented. After many stops and starts we were finally able to swim about and take in the mysteries of God’s underwater world brimming with a vast array of stunning colors, intricate designs and living creatures.
In Over My Head Before God
When we imagine ourselves before Almighty God, I picture a somewhat similar scene. Much like our ocean ordeal, we are drowning in the murky depths of our own sin. For the LORD is a holy God. Perfect, righteous, just, true, embodying absolute goodness. No evil or sin can be tolerated in His presence or He would cease to be fully good. This means of course, God cannot allow me, in my sinfulness, to stand in His presence.
I am in over my head. There is no way for me to save myself. No strength of my own could make me perfect. No amount of striving or working or kicking or gasping will save me from the oceans of sin that make up my selfish rebellious thoughts, desires, actions and words. I need a Savior to pull me out, to do that which I cannot. I need Jesus.
In much the same way, God’s people, the Israelites needed rescue from the Egyptians who had enslaved them, as recorded in the book of Exodus. Following a series of plagues, the Lord brought about one final powerful judgment against the people of Egypt who, despite earlier interventions, refused to relent in their heavy oppression of the Israelites.
In Exodus chapter 12, God declares that He will destroy the firstborn in the land. In order to spare the Israelites, God instructs His people to sacrifice an unblemished lamb, brushing its blood on their doorframes then eating a meal made from the meat of the sacrificial lamb. They are to eat with their belts tied, sandals on, staff in hand, ready to go, for the Lord promised to deliver them quickly, so quickly in fact that they are to eat unleavened bread, because the bread would not have adequate time to rise. This was the very first Passover meal. It was so named a Passover meal because when the Lord brought death in the land, He passed over the homes where the blood of sacrificial lambs was found on the doorframes.
Immediately following this event, the Egyptians released the Israelites and the Lord delivered them from the hand of the Egyptians with a final mighty miracle. God parted the waters of the Red Sea so His people could cross on dry land, stunning both His own people and their enemies, the Egyptians. So great was this deliverance, that God instructed the Israelites to celebrate the Passover during the Festival of Unleavened Bread every year, to remember how their incredible salvation was won for them. Not by their strength, not by their might, but by God’s might alone.
This was the greatest salvation the world had ever seen or known.
In a striking echo of the first Passover, Jesus took the place of the sacrificial Passover lamb for us.
In fact, when John the Baptist first laid eyes on Jesus, not knowing all that lay ahead, he prophesied this very thing in John 1:29– The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
We cannot save ourselves before a holy God. We are a sinful people by nature. We need someone to rescue and deliver us. We need a Savior.
Because God is completely just, He demands a just penalty and payment for our sins.
Because God is abundantly merciful, He allows a substitute to sacrifice and pay the penalty for our sins.
Jesus was unblemished, having never sinned. He laid down His life as a final sacrifice for our sins, so that we could be forgiven and set free from the enslavement and bondage of sin forever, just as the Israelites were set free from the bondage of slavery.
It is important to note that the night Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples, they were actually gathering for the Passover meal. Passover is the first day of the seven day Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Matthew 26:17-20 – On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.
That very night Jesus explained how He has become the Passover Lamb as He taught that the bread represents His body, broken for us and the cup represents His blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Like the unblemished lambs sacrificed and eaten each year, commemorating that first Passover, so Jesus became the Passover miracle and meal for us, making one final and lasting atonement for our sins.
Matthew 26:26-27 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Jesus is the final sacrificial Passover Lamb. The sacrifice of His righteous life is a once-and-for-all atonement for our unrighteous lives.
Jesus is now the greatest salvation this world has ever seen or known.
The only substitute worthy to pay our sin penalty is Jesus.
Blameless and pure.
Jesus is our only hope.
Salvation belongs to Jesus and Him alone.
We cannot help Him.
We cannot add to His finished work on the cross.
We bring nothing to the table.
All we can do is accept the salvation offered by Christ Jesus the Lord. Then out of endless gratitude, we desire to love Him and live for Him.
For those who receive Jesus and confess Him as Lord and Savior, the blood of Jesus covers the doorposts of our hearts, atones for and removes our sins before a holy God.
Jesus is our final Passover Lamb!
The judgment of God passes over us!
May our hearts and minds be overwhelmed again today at the magnitude of God’s great gift of salvation! May we be utterly amazed at how God pointed toward the coming Christ’s sacrifice, a better and final sacrifice, through the Passover and salvation of His people in Exodus so long ago. What a miraculous plan of redemption, told with details both gruesome and glorious, so remarkably and intricately interwoven from beginning to end!
In Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone are we saved. But for the blood of Jesus, we would be swept away in the flood of God’s holiness, perfection and judgment. Not by our strength, not by our might, but by God’s might are we saved. Because of Jesus, we are rescued, saved and delivered from sin, death and hell forever! Jesus is our final Passover Lamb!
May we shout these words today and throughout all eternity!
Worthy is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!
Salvation belongs to the LORD!
Salvation belongs to our God!
Salvation belongs to the Lamb!
Salvation belongs to Jesus!
Revelation 7:9-12 – After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Psalm 3:8 – Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people!
Ephesians 2:8-9 – For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
1 Corinthians 5:7b – For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Additional Sources and Resources
The Sacrifical Lamb – Why Did Jesus Have to Die? By Melissa McLaughlin
What is the Passover Lamb? By GotQuestions.org
What Jesus Did By Dr. Bill Mounce at Biblicaltraining.org
What is the Tabernacle? 8 Ways Jesus is Our Tabernacle By Melissa McLaughlin
Hi Melissa. You have so beautifully and thoughtfully presented the gospel message! Your story sets the scene. We are drowning in sin. I’m so thankful to Jesus, for being my Savior, my Passover Lamb. Hallelujah, Amen. Easter blessings!
Dear Leila, thank you for reading and sharing your insights. All glory to God! May our hearts overflow with praise for all Jesus has done and may we never take it for granted. Oh what a Savior! Blessings to you as we celebrate new life in Christ!
Amen Melissa! Beautiful post that says it all! By the way, how scary in the ocean! You won’t find me splashing around in the open ocean like that! 🙂 Glad you guys were okay. God bless!
Praise the Lord Jesus! He is mighty to save!
Yes, it was scary to find ourselves sinking in the open ocean and is forever etched in our memories. Thank God, we can call on His name always!
Excellent post and what a story!!!
May we be forever captivated by our Precious Lord Jesus and His sacrifice for us! Bless you, Valerie!
Blessings to you, too!
I am so happy you came through that, God obviously had a plan for your future with these wonderful posts!
All praise to Him! Yes, He spared us in that overwhelming situation, but even more so, through Jesus He spared us from our overwhelming sin! May we love and live for Him more and more! Blessings to you!
What you said!
Great analogy, and so happy you survived!
Blessing to you, dear sister! Yes, we survived. May the Lord use our lives every step of the way for His glory!
Thank you !
Thank you, dear Darlene, for reading and commenting. May our hearts be overwhelmed anew today at God’s great love for us through His Son!
A beautiful Passover piece! I can feel your analogy of our need for saving in the snorkeling story. I, too, was left in deep ocean waters with little training while vacationing in Caribbean waters. I really resonate with your account. Thank God that Jesus saves us to the uttermost, rather than leaving us flailing in deep waters!
Glory to God! Struggling in deep ocean waters leaves an indelible memory of utter helplessness in the face of such vastness. But for Jesus’ sacrifice, we would be lost before our holy God. What love! What grace! May our hearts be stirred again today at the enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. Bless you, dear Melinda!
I remember that trip well. Somehow we were able to see beauty after overcoming fear. Your writing about the lamb again teaches us that through the gospel we Passover the fear of death into a beautiful life in Jesus. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, my beloved husband, Tom! What a gift that the righteous blood of Jesus is offered in our place and now we enjoy the bounty of His inheritance. Sin and death passes over us, because of Jesus! He is mighty to save!
Hey Melissa! I am Simran from the earlier blog – creoart27 , and have switched my site to this one – soulandsubstance27.home.blog as the earlier one wasnt permitting comments for some reason and THANK YOU for bringing it to my attention! Please do follow my posts from this site so we are connected ! Lots of love!!
Wonderful! I will check it out. Lots of love back to you, Simran!
Hey Melissa! I’ve updated the posts so you will be able to recognise the page is the same 🙂 Simply follow me here as opposed to the earlier one cuz we can comment on this page ! Hallelujah 👑
Dear Melissa, your thoughts so preciously parallel those who know this gracious lover of our souls. How else could we share through this medium all the wonderful truths of our life in Christ? No other person has made the claims our Lord has made and proven His love for us. I pray that we stay focused all year upon this One who died that we might “live through Him.” Did you get my email with the Words of Life list? Much love and blessings in our Lord. 🙂
Dear Fran, may Jesus be exalted in all we do, all we say and all we write! I pray with you that we stay focused on our precious Lord and Savior above all and through all! I received your email, thank you! And just responded. Blessings and love in Christ Jesus!
YES, Melissa. God our Father has given us His Son as the spotlight for all eternity, to know and receive eternal life in and through Him. We are truly blessed to be His and to call Him ours.
No greater blessing than Jesus, our Savior and Lord!
Praise God for His ultimate and final sacrifice. And what a true sacrifice it was – His only Son whom He forsook as representing all of us sinners. And, yikes!, what an experience on your anniversary! But what a great illustration, along with the memorable background behind the Passover and its celebrations. 1,000 years is like a day to God so what seems like such a long time ago for us is only but a day or 2 in God’s plan for the Passover and our salvation.
I’m joining you in praise of our God and His great sacrifice for us, Stephen! You make such a good point, when we pause and remember the connections between the Old and New Testament passover accounts, we begin to take the long view and remember how short this time frame is in God’s eyes! Praying we are amazed again today at all Christ has done!
Melissa, this is why I love you…your heart is all about Jesus and making Him know. I worshiped through most of this article. I’m so grateful there’s nothing we can do…no work or effort or striving for perfection or trying to be good. None of it matters, Jesus conquered it all and completed it all on our behalf. Worthy is the Lamb!
Praise the Lord Jesus! I am worshiping with you, Karen! May we remember in a fresh way today, the great gift of salvation won for us in Christ Jesus. He is Lord! He has risen just as He said! Worthy is the Lamb!
God bless you. Salvation is for all
Praise the Lord Jesus, He laid down His life for everyone! We need only to accept His amazing gift. God bless you!
Melissa, how scary that must have been in the ocean! My son had a similar experience when he tried scuba diving the first time. Thankful for your post this Easter weekend and to learn about the Passover lamb connection. Each yr of my faith journey I become more and more grateful for Jesus. Enjoy this weekend’s celebration!
Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences and insights, Jamie! That must have been so scary for you son. For me, the experience of feeling like I was drowning in the ocean is the closest thing I can imagine to complete helplessness before God’s vast holiness. I have no hope but for a Savior to help me. Praying we each personally experience His love and sacrifice in new ways each day and each season. Blessings to you and yours! Hallelujah! He has risen!
So thankful for the Love story of our Father to us His children! Happy Easter, He is risen!
And what a Love story it is, Julie! Amazing love, amazing grace, not because we deserved it, but because of God’s great love and faithfulness! Blessings to you and yours as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus! He has risen indeed!
I love the way the Old Testament is a preview of sorts for the New Testament. Beautifully done! God bless! Happy Easter!
I agree, Nancy! God’s plan of redemption, woven all through the scriptures, from beginning to end, is truly a wonder to behold! God bless you and yours as we celebrate the resurrection of our precious Savior!
Eek, I felt scared just reading about your snorkeling experience! But you are right: the only savior we have is Jesus. He is all we need.
Jesus rescues us from drowning in the ocean of our sin. Hallelujah! What a Savior! It’s true, He is all we need.
Hallelujah and Maranatha Christ-Messiah Jesus-Yeshua is RISEN and ALIVE!!
Love Always and Shalom ( Peace ), YSIC \o/
Oh, what an adventure to start out your married life!! But what a perfect object lesson for how we feel and live in this world. We are overwhelmed! But thank God for our true Passover Lamb, who has come to rescue us. I love your poem that you wove throughout your post. These words are such a beautiful ending, and praise for this Resurrection Sunday:
“Worthy is the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world!
Salvation belongs to the LORD!
Salvation belongs to our God!
Salvation belongs to the Lamb!
Salvation belongs to Jesus!”
Blessings, love, and Blessings of this day to you!
Thank you for pausing on Resurrection Sunday to reflect with me on the magnitude of our sin and the greatness of our Savior! We are utterly helpless without Christ. Praying we have eyes to see more of Him and His glorious gift of grace. Salvation belongs to Jesus! Blessings and love to you! May we carry the joy of Resurrection Sunday with us every day!
So thankful for Jesus and his abundant love and grace and his willingness to suffer and die and rise again on our behalf. Accomplishing what we could never do on our own. And creating the possibility for us to be in a relationship with God, declared clean and promised eternal life. The magnitude of his gifts to us are hard to grasp. I totally agree that “Jesus is now the greatest salvation this world has ever seen or known.”
It’s true, Anne! The magnitude of God’s gifts to us are hard to grasp. God gives us everything, absolutely everything. But the salvation given to us through Jesus is the greatest thing this world has ever seen or known. Praying that more would recognize this gift and receive Him with joy!
Oh my. I would have been a mess in your situation! I have such a fear of drowning! I have always loved the Scripture that says even though the waters envelope me, I will not be consumed (not a direct quote, but that’s the gist of it!). I am so incredibly thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice and the peace I can have knowing the waters of sin and death will never envelope me!
Amen! So well said, Emily! He rescues us from the deep waters of sin, we will never be enveloped by anything but His mercy, grace and love! As for the experience in the ocean – it was certainly memorable and left me in a humbled place. Mercifully, God protected us in those deep waters, as well!
Amen! Praise God for the sacrifice of Jesus!
I’m praising God with you, Nicole! What a sacrifice, for us, undeserving and finite though we are. What a mighty God and what a mighty love!
Beautiful words that are so well written. Amen and praise the Lord for all He has done for us.
Thank you, Yvonne, for your kind support. Glory to God in the highest! May our eyes remain fixed on Jesus and our hearts ever humble and grateful for all He has done!
Truly, He is worthy of praise and honor and glory! What a great and fearful adventure you had in Mexico. You have helped me remember my own time of drowning in sin though I had no idea until the Lord opened my eyes. What a gift we have in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!
The Lamb of God is truly an immeasurable gift! You described our experience well – a fearful adventure. And yes, that is a picture of each one of us drowning in our sin. Thank God for His mercy! In sending His Son and in helping us see!
Excellent blog! The foreshadowing to Christ during Passover is evident in all Jewish festivals, none more than Passover. Even the stripes on the matzah indicate by his stripes we are healed. Have you ever been to a Passover ceremony? The liturgy so obviously points to Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Candice, thank you for sharing your insights and knowledge! I have never been to a Passover ceremony, but I pray someday I will be able to. It must be amazing to see all these heavenly eternal connecting lines from Passover to Jesus, the Lamb of God, our final Passover Lamb!