Most Christians have probably heard of Passover. It’s spoken of in the Bible quite a bit in both the Old and New Testaments. But have you ever considered Passover as something that should be observed as a Christian?
For our family, we didn’t really think all that much about Passover until a few years ago. At which time a lot of things accelerated in our walks with God and God really opened up our eyes to a lot of amazing truths in His Word.
Today I’d like to share a little bit of what I’ve learned about Passover and how it applies to Christians. I want to explore what the Bible says about Passover and if it even talks about it as being something we should be observing or not. And I’d like to challenge you and your family to celebrating the gift of salvation that we have, as Christians, through Jesus Christ our Lord and teach you how Passover celebrates the very gospel.
The First Passover
If we’re going to talk about Passover, we should go back to the beginning when Passover was very first mentioned. Most Christians are familiar with at least this story. The story of the Plagues of Egypt, with Passover being the final plague that was brought down on Egypt (see Exodus 12).
In this plague, God instructed the children of Israel to place a sign on the doorposts of their home in order to be passed over by His wrath that was coming down onto Egypt. This sign was the blood of a slaughtered lamb. The lamb was to be a male, without blemish, and one year old.
There were several instructions for the Jews to follow in order to fulfill the first Passover and those that did were promised to be passed over. Those that didn’t, unfortunately would lose the life of their first born son.
The one year old male lamb without blemish was to be a sacrifice in place of their first born son.
It’s a chilling story, to be sure. And one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Because it’s a story that teaches us that sin has a price and that price is paid in blood, whether it be from a lamb or from the first born son. God’s justice demands a sacrifice for sin.
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
The Command to Observe Passover Yearly
After the children of Israel come out of the bondage of Egypt, they are instructed to observe the Passover feast yearly (Leviticus 23:5) in order to remember all that God has done for them in bringing them out of Egypt.
They are told that on the 14th day of Nisan on the Biblical calendar that they are to observe this feast (Exodus 12:6). They are given detailed instructions on how to observe the feast. But most importantly, they are instructed to remember what the Lord has done for them (Exodus 13:3).
The point of observing this feast isn’t just to go through the motions, but to take time each year to remember the mercy that God has had and to discipline yourself to not forget the grace He shows to those who love and fear Him.
Jesus, The Lamb Who Takes Away the Sins of the World
In the book of John, John the Baptist makes a very important and significant proclamation about Jesus that connects Jesus to the very Passover that the Jews had been observing for years. He says:
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.“- John 1:29
John the Baptist claims here that Jesus is the lamb that God Himself has sent in order to take away the sins of the world. Perhaps you’ve heard this verse, but have you ever connected it to the Passover lamb that the Jews were instructed to sacrifice year after year?
But here we have a game changer. Because no longer are we the ones to bring the lamb before God. Rather, God has picked out His own lamb. A lamb which only needs to be sacrificed once in order to cover the sins of the entire world both past, present, and future. A perfect lamb. One that could never have been found before Jesus.
Jesus is Our Passover Lamb
There are many clues that point to Jesus’ crucifixion happening on Passover. What an amazing thing God’s timing is, that He would line up the sacrifice of the lamb that would take away the sins of the world with Passover. Coincidence? I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe in coincidences, especially when it comes to God.
The first clue we can find is in John 12. First we are actually told that this scene takes place six days before Passover:
“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. – John 12:1
A few verses later we find Mary annointing Jesus with an expensive oil. At which point Judas scoffs about, and Jesus replies:
“Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.” – John 12:7
The next clue is in John 13. In this chapter we find Jesus washing the feet of His disciples after having supper. We know that this is the night before Jesus was crucified. At the very beginning of the chapter it begins:
“Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” – John 13:1
Do you see how it all lines up? Jesus was crucified on Passover. This is how he became the ultimate Passover lamb — the only Passover lamb that God would accept from this point forward. History will tell you that very shortly after Jesus was crucified the temple was destroyed and this is when the Passover sacrifices ceased. Coincidence?
A Shadow of What Was to Come
The Bible very often uses foreshadowing. One event will often be a smaller scale fulfillment of something bigger to come. A preview, if you will. One example is the writing of God’s Commandments on the two physical tablets of stones, which would later become the fleshly tablets of our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33).
And Passover is another example. The very first Passover depicting the wrath of God coming down onto Egypt was a shadow of the wrath of God pouring out onto the entire world. And the blood of the lamb covering the doorposts of those in Egypt who put their faith in God was a shadow of the blood of The Lamb of God covering those who believe on Jesus Christ and submit their lives to God (Revelation 12:11).
Let Us Keep the Feast
Christians, the Feast of Passover is so very applicable to you. It is not a Jewish holiday. It’s a Feast of the Lord. And it’s one that should be celebrated by all of those who have found their salvation through Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
We are even specifically instructed to keep the feast in the New Testament:
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
We are to keep the Feast of Passover as a celebration of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us and the mercy that God has had on us! It’s a time of rejoicing!
Passover is Not Easter
I am going to try to not get into a big discussion here about celebrating Easter. That’s a topic that could be an entire post of it’s own. But I want to at the very least note here that Passover is not to be confused with Easter. A lot of Christians have mistakenly confused the two as one. They are not.
Unfortunately the celebration of Christ’s sacrifice was merged with another holiday that already existed before Jesus was even born. You know the bunnies and painting eggs and all that stuff? Do you ever wonder what in the world all of that has to do with Jesus? Well all of that is stuff that is from the original Easter holiday. And unfortunately it all stems from some pretty morbid backgrounds.
I won’t get into it all, but please don’t confuse Easter for Passover. If Easter has always been the celebration of Jesus, why would King Herod be observing it AND executing Christians:
“Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.” – Acts 12:1-4
Being unequally yoked and conformed to the world
God warns us to not be yoked together with unbelievers and conformed to the world. But rather to come out and be separate. Do you think he would make an exception when it comes to the holidays we observe?
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” – Romans 12:2
Let’s be careful not to make the commandment of God to none affect because of our traditions:
“Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition… Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.” – Mark 7:7-9,13
Passover: A Celebration of the Jesus, The Lamb of God
So as you can see, Passover is not only something that Christians can observe, but it’s something we should observe. We have not only been commanded to by God, but we should want to celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promises, the mercy that God shows us continually, and most of all the salvation we have through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.
My friends, you are missing out if you don’t observe this very special Feast that the Lord has appointed. Don’t miss it. Embrace it and rejoice in it. And celebrate Passover as a family.
Finding the Date of Passover This Year
If you decide to observe Passover with your family, be sure to remember that the day of Passover is different every year because it’s based on the moon cycle. You can find accurate dates for all the Biblical feasts on this page. They even have a printable calendar that you can use to remember when they are each year.
Be leery of following any of the Biblical feast dates on the Jewish calendar because unfortunately the Jews have switched to a fixed calendar for observing the Biblical feasts. The link above is to a Christian organization that determines the Biblical feasts based on the moon cycles (which is how the dates were originally determined).
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