LSB 473, Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free

For this 2023 Eastertide, we have chosen LSB 473, Our Paschal Lamb, That Sets Us Free, to be our seasonal hymn.  During this joy-filled season of the Church Year, we remember the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the dead.  By His Resurrection, our Lord has defeated death1 and declared us right with the Father.2 During the second part of Eastertide, we look to His Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Our hymn is rooted in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8.  Many of us heard that read during the morning service on the Feast of the Resurrection.  Nested in a section on rooting out pagan sexual immorality in the Church, these verses describe the fruits of our Lord’s death and Resurrection in the Christian’s life.  It is good and salutary that during this season we weekly sing of the reality that we all emerge from the waters of Baptism as ones transformed by what Jesus accomplished for us through His death and resurrection.  All history turns on that reality.3

In the first stanza, we paraphrase and reflect on verses 7b and 8a of the Easter morning Epistle. The word Paschal is the Greek form of the Hebrew Pesach, or Passover.  The Paschal Lamb recalls the unblemished male lamb, whose blood saved the firstborn of Israel from death.4 That foreshadowed the spotless Lamb of God, Whose sacrifice frees all believers from the wrath of God, sin, death and hell.  In Him we have been saved from eternal torment and separation from God.5 Having been thus redeemed, we have been given the Holy Spirit.  By Him we have received the gift of The Faith and adoption as sons of God.6  

That frees us to rejoice!  No matter what the fallen world throws at us, we are free to bravely celebrate the “feast of freedom.”  That is, His Supper not only during Eastertide, but throughout the year!7 Having fasted from the Alleluias (“all you all praise God”) during Lent, we jubilantly and loudly sing them again at the end of this stanza and five times each time we sing the refrain (a total of 16 times over the course of the hymn).

In the second and third stanzas, we reflect on verse 8b of the Epistle text. We are free to celebrate the feast with all of our being!  As we do this, those who are in Christ bear the fruits that He has prepared for us.8 God sacrificially loved us by sending His Son to die on the Cross.9 We are thus completely free to drop any ill will we have toward our neighbor and instead sacrificially love him.10  As we love in this way, we proclaim the Truth of Christ crucified, died, and risen to a skeptical world.11 Indeed, as sons of God, we pray that by His grace, in all we do, both in Church and in the community, we confess that Jesus is our Lord, the Word of the Father, who by the Holy Spirit dwells in us.12

We are thankful for your presence among us today to receive God’s gifts of forgiveness, life and salvation.  We pray His richest blessings on you as you bear the fruits of transformed lives lived in Him.  Alleluia, Christ is risen! 

End notes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 50-57; 2 Timothy 1:10
  2. Romans 4:25
  3. Romans 6:4
  4. Exodus 12:1-30
  5. John 3:14-16; note that, while the hymn text states, “is sacrificed,” one should not understand this to mean that Jesus is sacrificed again and again each time the Lord’s Supper is celebrated.  The 1 Corinthians text makes it clear that His sacrifice took place once for all time.  See also, for example John 19:30; Hebrews 10:1-18. 
  6. Romans 8:15; Galatians 3:26, 4:3-5.
  7. As we were free in Christ to continue gathering to receive God’s gifts during the recent time of plague.
  8. John 15:2, 5, 16; c.f. Ephesians 2:10
  9. John 3:16
  10. Ephesians 5:2; consider also Dr. Luther’s post-Communion collect
  11. 1 Corinthians 1:22-23, 15:12-28
  12. John 1:1,14; Romans 8:9-11, 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 2:9-11.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *