Why are Christians Celebrating Passover?
More and more Christians are learning about our rich Hebraic heritage through Bible study and celebrating God’s holidays. TIME Magazine identified growing Christian interest in our faith’s Jewish heritage as one of the ten top trends.
- Passover teaches us about Jesus
- The early Christians observed Passover
- The seder is a special fellowship with God
- Passover is a biblical command
The name of the festival, Pesach in Hebrew, passing over or protection, is derived from the instructions given to Moses by God (Ex. 6:6-8).
God directs parents, this special night of the year, to take on the role of teacher, and pass down His story of the exodus from Egypt to future generations. This ceremony not only looks back to the miraculous story of God delivering His people, but it also presents the promise of Messiah’s death and resurrection. It is an exciting experience centering on a mixture of ritual foods. The matzah, bitter herbs, wine, and the rest, provide a lasting link through the march of history.
The Bible story of Passover has more light, more splendor, more vividness, and a richer application to life than any other story in the book of Exodus. Moses and his brother Aaron went to Pharaoh and told him that the Lord said to let the Israelites go. Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites, even for a brief visit to the desert to worship their God. In fact, he made life for the Israelite slaves even worse. Moses had warned Pharaoh that God would send a series of plagues upon Egypt unless the people were freed. God commanded Moses to tell the children of Israel:
Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD (Ex. 6:6-8)
Jesus and Passover
- Jesus shared the Passover meal with his apostles saying, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16)
- Jesus is the final Passover Lamb sacrificed to free us spiritually from the slavery of sin just like the lamb had once been instrumental in physical deliverance of Hebrew slaves from bondage in Egypt.
- The Passover celebration is a memorial and tribute to Jesus for his great sacrifice and the torture that he suffered for mankind.
- The unleavened bread was to represent Jesus’ body and wine to represent his blood and the New Covenant. Jesus himself took the place of the traditional lamb.
The Passover Seder
During the Passover celebration, Jews and Christians remember this great event by eating special foods associated with the bitterness of slavery and the sweetness of freedom. The entire meal, called the seder, is eaten as the story of Israel’s freedom is told. Everything in the seder is directed toward the prime command from the Bible: “And thou shall shew thy son in that day saying, ‘This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt'” (Exod. 13:8).
I will post about the Messianic seder process soon.
The great miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea is the climax of the departure from Egypt and the inspiring wonder that forged a group of slaves into a nation. The redemption from Egypt is not only that of Israel but also a salvation by faith in general. The celebration of redemption from Egypt will be a pattern for salvation from all other evil.
During this God-ordained night we celebrate the doctrines of our salvation. Thus, like ancient Israel, we are sovereignly brought to the edge of the “sea” with no hope except to trust His deliverance and to follow Him. We marvel at His overwhelming sufficiency. Like ancient Israel, when we trust Him for deliverance and walk through the “sea” with Him, we end up singing and dancing on the other side. That’s Pesach! (Berkowitz 1996)
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
The above is a tiny sampling from the book A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
“In 34 years of publishing Messianic Catalogs we have never seen such a creative contribution to the body of Messiah …”
Manny and Sandra Brotman, founder of The Messianic Jewish Movement International
Having this book at your fingertips is like having a library on the Bible holidays!
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