This Is The Day

by Ray Hawkins

"Hurry, you'll be late!" That yell echoes through many a house every morning. For some it matters not how early they start they are always late. Others, mostly renowned for their punctuality, do have memorable lapses. Undoubtedly you, as well as I, have cried out to God just such a statement. Within the pages of Scripture the Psalmist has recorded his cries too to God for intervention, and the worry lest God miss the appointed time.

God late? Never!

But it is only by the wisdom of hindsight that we appreciate the fact that God has been there, right on time. This is in spite of the opposition He receives from the stupidities of men, the vindictiveness of Lucifer, and the fluctuations of the weather.


The Passover is a case in point. Following specific instructions concerning the lamb, the day, and the personal preparations, God moved across the land of Egypt at midnight. The chosen day of deliverance or judgement came swiftly upon the people. Whether it was one of deliverance or judgement depended upon compliance or otherwise with the orders given through Moses – that was, to take the blood from the slain lamb and put it on the door posts and lintels (Exodus 12:29).

The Word of God in Exodus states that this was the very day promised to Abraham 430 years earlier, as we read in Genesis 15:13 and Exodus 12:41. For the Lord had foretold Abraham about the captivity, and that from it would emerge his descendants, numerous and moulded into a nation.

Later on in the history of Israel, the Psalmist penned a magnificent song which bore the imprint of the Messiah. It became associated with the Passover celebrations as an historic insight into God's grace. Within it however is clearly discerned the fragrance of the poetic: "This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

Here is a song of praise to God's sovereignty. Here is an ensign round which the saints of God can gather for security from the attacks from the Big A's, for when Atheism, Anarchy, Antagonism and Apathy seek to storm the battlements of Faith, the singing sword of God's supremacy should be unsheathed. The ensign and the sword are bound together in this verse.

This is the day ... a call to remember the birth of a nation from slavery. Yes, but more than that. It is taking the shadow of the Passover and projecting it down the centuries to the reality of its fulfilment. Isaiah shows us this fact in his passionate portrait of the promised one enclosed within the shadows of the Passover.


Isaiah gives us unparalleled pictures of the Messiah, the one chosen to reign, but who chooses to serve; the one who is beyond the grip of shame, but who chooses to suffer that others may be healed. His account makes soul-stirring reading as we enter the presence of the one who took upon himself the experience of the Passover lamb. For the LAMB gives way to the LORD.

"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

"He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth ... he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken" (Isaiah 53:4-8).

Who then fits this Person of the Passover? For as John later observed: "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (1:29)


As the Passover lamb was taken into the house for four days to be scrutinized for any flaws, so too this man was to live within the house of Israel. It was to be his experience to be subjected to all kinds of testing to determine if there should be any flaw in him. Attempts were made to remove him from the scene, to slur his name, to make him foolish, or to see him fail, but through it all he emerged unscathed. "I have found no fault in this man" – thus spoke Pilate. "I have found no cause of death in him," he reiterated. "And they could not take hold of his words before the people," that is, the chief priests and scribes could not. The officers of the Romans too testified: "Never man spoke like this man."

And as the lamb was destined to end its life by the shedding of its blood, so too was this man. The awareness of the impending encounter with death, the apparent disgrace, and the bearing of man's degradation and sin, overwhelmed him, and he cried: "Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour"  (John 12:27).

To his disciples the moment he spoke about appeared to arise from nowhere. For the conflicting interests of power groups within the hierarchy merged into a common desire to remove this one who had become a threat to their life-styles and ambitions. The well-intentioned combined with the evil schemers to eliminate an embarrassing person.

So as they schemed, the Messiah served. As they plotted, the Messiah participated with his disciples in the Passover meal in an upper room. He knew that the prophetic fulfilment of the Passover was at hand; the implications of it there issued from his lips: "Did you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner-stone? This was the LORD's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes'" (Matthew 21:42,43 and quoting Psalm 118:22,23).

This was no recitation prompted by pessimism. This was a statement of faith. This was not an act of mere fate. It was the culmination of the Holy One of Israel's plan of redemption. It was not the hurried expediency of political manipulators. It was the calculated steps of God's grace.

Why? This day had the brand of the Lord upon it. And this ONE DAY, specifically selected, Scripturally signposted, and securely safeguarded by Mosaic injunctions and prophetical warnings -- THIS DAY Israel's redemption was enacted.

To the onlooker it appeared that political brutality, religious bigotry and Satanic bile had triumphed. Not so! The sovereign decrees of God prevailed. For mixed with death and humiliation is an invitation to rejoice. The Psalmist was aware of this. "You pushed me violently, that I might fall, but the LORD helped me. The LORD is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly. The right hand of the LORD is exalted ..." (11:13-15).

Isaiah too draws attention to the satisfaction of the Lord God in the deliverance achieved through death, the redemption wrought through seeming failure. "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he had put him to grief ... he shall see the travail of his soul, and be satisfied. By his knowledge my righteous Servant shall justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities" (53:10,11).

More than any other day, THIS DAY, on which the Servant of Isaiah's prophecy became the Passover Lamb, declares the glory of the Lord's sovereignty and grace. It becomes a continual reminder to those who live by faith, and under its covering, that, even today, in spite of mankind's opposition, the Lord reigns.

"This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."