Seeing Jesus in the Passover

David CerulloBy David Cerullo9 Minutes

I’m often amazed to meet Christians who have little interest in observing the Feast of Passover. I share with them three critical reasons every believer should care about, and celebrate, this special event on God’s calendar:

• Passover foreshadows the fulfillment of the long-awaited promise of the coming Messiah.
• God commanded His people (this includes us today) to celebrate it forever.
• Celebrating Passover and following God’s instructions provides access to specific covenant promises the Lord wants to release in your life.

Too often, Christians focus their study of the Bible in the New Testament and completely overlook the Old Testament. However, Paul tells us all the things that happened to the children of Israel happened as an example to us, “written for our admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:6-11).

One such example is the amazing story of God delivering the children of Israel from Egypt. Passover had great meaning and purpose to them thousands of years ago, and it still has great meaning and purpose for us today!

When Moses demanded Pharaoh let the Israelites go, Pharaoh gave a resounding “no” (Exodus 5). God displayed His ultimate hand of deliverance in the 10 plagues He sent on the people and land of Egypt. As the final plague, the death angel killed all the firstborn people and animals of Egypt.

The 10 plagues weren’t just a random number. Why 10? Because the Egyptians worshiped 10 primary gods. Jehovah, the only living and true God, was making a statement: “I am God, and there is none other besides Me. In My hand are might and power, and none can withstand Me! I am greater than all the false, impersonating gods you worship.”

God used the blood of a lamb to deliver His children from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The specific instruction God gave them to place the blood of an unblemished lamb on the doorposts of their houses had more significance than they could have ever imagined.

Choosing a perfect lamb spoke of the sinless life of Jesus, who would one day lay down His life as the atonement for the sins of the world. Placing the blood on the doorposts of their home would symbolize the blood of Jesus that covers our hearts and saves us from eternal death.

Passover and the Last Supper

God commanded the celebration of Passover “throughout your generations” (Exodus 12:14). He called it an “everlasting ordinance” (Exodus 12:17). In other words, He wanted His people to do this forever.

This wasn’t just an instruction to the Israelites. Its guidelines are for ALL who are called by His name. When Jesus and His disciples partook of the last supper, they were celebrating Passover. So much symbolism surrounded this meal.

As Jesus broke the unleavened bread, He reminded them that He was the Bread who came down from Heaven. His was the body that would be broken for them. When He took the cup of wine (there are four in a Passover Seder), Jesus specifically picked up the THIRD cup, the cup of REDEMPTION. When He took this cup, He made a powerful statement, saying “I AM your redemption.”

For hundreds of years, the Israelites had been keeping their appointed time with God. He called it a holy convocation, which means a rehearsal. For all these years, they had no idea what they were rehearsing, but this was it the coming of God’s only Son to lay down His life as a ransom for their sins.

Look at the words of John the Baptist when he saw Jesus coming to be baptized by him, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

Jesus, the unblemished Lamb of God, was slain the day after the last supper, sometime around twilight the next day. His blood brought forgiveness and redemption, covering the heart of every believer – not only protecting us from death but giving us eternal life.

There are many symbolic things found in the Passover celebration or Seder service. One is the afikomen – a piece of broken bread that has been scored and pierced. It is wrapped in a napkin and hidden away (as was the body of Jesus) to be found (by children) and brought back to the table.

Again, this is much more than just a metaphor. God was painting a picture of what was to come. Jesus, God’s Son, would be broken for us, pierced, crucified, buried, and resurrected. God was showing His people in advance what would happen. As such, Passover was a holy convocation … a rehearsal of what was to come.

Although they didn’t realize it at the time, they were rehearsing the death and resurrection of the Messiah. God wanted them to practice it … rehearse it … and tell it to their children throughout the generations, so when it happened, they would recognize what they were rehearsing and recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

At the very first Passover, the Israelites were to kill a lamb, roast it, eat it, and do so with their sandals on their feet, their staves in their hands, and their traveling clothes on – ready to leave Egypt!

The lamb was to be their deliverance out of Egypt and the source of their strength as they left. The Bible says they left in haste. They didn’t have time to prepare other food. The lamb would be their nourishment.

My friend, the blood of Jesus is the very thing that covers our sins. It’s the body of Jesus that gives us strength and nourishment to leave our Egypt (bondage to the world). Have you applied His blood to the doorposts of your heart today?

Five Great Promises

God spoke through Moses to the children of Israel in Exodus 6:6-8 and promised them five specific things:

1. I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

2. I will deliver you from their bondage.

3. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.

4. I will take you for My own people, and I will be your God.

5. I will bring you to the land I swore to give to your forefathers and give it to you.

What does that mean for you today? It’s Jesus who brings you out from under the burdens of the world’s system. It’s Jesus who redeems you and delivers you from bondage. It’s Jesus who makes you a child of the living God. It’s Jesus who has determined a place and a plan for your life.

Why celebrate Passover? Because by doing so, you are keeping one of the Lord’s instructions, recognizing all that Jesus has done for you!

God bless you,

David Sig

David Cerullo