Inside: In this post, I share how we as Christians can view Passover, learn the history, and celebrate our Perfect Lamb who took away the sin of the world.
What is Passover?
Passover is the Spring celebration of Israel’s freedom from bondage in Egypt, and it also happens to be one of many instances of foreshadowing in the Old Testament. It’s a celebration that points to Jesus.
You can read more in Exodus 12.
Setting the Stage
Israel was in bondage to Egypt. If you remember, they originally went to Egypt during the time of Joseph when there was a famine in their own land. There, God had made a way to sustain His people. But over time, they grew. And with their numbers, the hatred of the Egyptians also grew. Pharaoh eventually made them work as slaves to keep them under his thumb.
But God was about to deliver them.
He instructed them to kill a perfect lamb (one for every family) and use it for this first Passover. God was going to execute judgment on Egypt through His last plague. They were a pagan land who worshipped many gods. And through the previous plagues, God had showed that their “gods” were nothing.
The First Passover
To escape this final plague–death of the firstborn son of each household in the land–the Israelites were instructed to slaughter the perfect lamb and sprinkle its blood upon their doorposts. When God saw the the blood, He would pass over that home.
Inside, the people were to roast the lamb with fire and eat all of it, leaving none until morning. With it, they were instructed to have unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
All of the firstborn in the land of Egypt were killed, but the Israelites were spared because of the blood of the lamb! The Spirit of the Lord passed over the homes with the blood as their covering, so they were spared from judgment.
With this 10th plague and the death of his own son, Pharaoh finally let God’s people go.
Why Celebrate a “Jewish” Holiday?
You may think that only Jewish families celebrate Passover. Or maybe you’ve met some Torah Observant/Hebrew Roots folks and assume that those who celebrate as Christians must be part of that movement. But that’s not the case with me.
There are a few big reasons why I love celebrating Passover.
The Greater Fulfillment
First, it points to Jesus. While its institution is centered on the people of Israel being freed from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, it was pointing to the greater issue–humanity’s bondage to sin. The final and better Passover lamb would free His people. He was without blemish, unstained by sin. And His blood would cover all who would come to Him–any who were willing to proclaim it for themselves. Because of this covering, the final death will pass over us. We are graciously given eternal life because God gave His only Son.
How Great is Our God
Second, it reminds us who God is. In the story of the Exodus, we see that He alone is all-powerful. We see His goodness and kindness toward His people. We are reminded that He is deliverer. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The One who provided for His people then provides for us today. The One who parted the Red Sea still makes a way where He has called His people. He led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and He still leads us on. He is almighty AND good. Celebrating Passover stirs my devotion and worship for our ever-faithful God.
An Intricate Tapestry of Meaning
Third, I love the intricacy of the feast. Every element points to something. The leavening that we rid our houses of in preparation for Passover? That’s symbolic of cleansing from the ways of the world and our flesh. The bitter herbs? They’re symbolism for the bitterness of bondage to sin and death. Every little detail has not only a correlation that ties the celebration to Israel’s past but also to the fulfillment in Jesus. And that is breathtakingly beautiful.
Connection to Our Rich Past
Fourth, when we celebrate Passover, we’re connected with our past. We’re taking part in one of the feasts that Jesus Himself observed. Celebrating something that He celebrated and was the fulfillment of? That’s amazing ♥
Ways to Celebrate Passover as a Christian
With all of that as a backdrop, how do you celebrate Passover as a Christian?
There are different routes that you can choose, and of course, you can make it your own. Here I’ll share ways we’ve celebrated. You can take our ideas as jumping off points and decide what will work best for your family.
First, the original institution of Passover was very simple.
This is personally my favorite way to celebrate. In the next way we’ll talk about, there’s a lot to learn, which I love. It’s more intricate. And you can compare and contrast. But when you choose to celebrate in a basic way, it makes it easier to keep “the main thing” front and center.
In this way, I use the entire Feast of Unleavened bread to talk to my children about the exodus and read important excerpts from Scripture. Then we read their fulfillment in the New Testament. In this way, by the time it’s Passover, we’re all very familiar with what we’re doing and why.
I roast lamb, cook greens, and our children help me make the matzah. We remember why they had to make it in haste, and we talk about leavening and what it represents.
During the meal, we talk about Christ’s sacrifice and point to Him being the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. We were in bitter bondage to our sin, but His blood set us free. We deserved death, but we were passed over.
Original vs. Modern
Another option is comparing and contrasting the original institution and the modern tradition. For this, we research how members of the Jewish community celebrate now. Passover has gotten more elaborate as time has went on. We talk more about the plagues. We have a whole Seder meal instead of the simplified version, and we talk about why each thing is on the plate.
Then we talk about the Jewish focus during Passover versus that of those found in Christ, and we pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters to find hope in the Messiah.
A Helpful Resource
That may sound more difficult and time-consuming. It’s not our usual way to celebrate, but it was helpful for our first year. In that year, I ordered a kit that was extremely helpful from Days United. You can find their Passover box here (I make nothing from recommending this to you!).
Their boxes have changed a little since we ordered, but they all come with a Passover guide that will walk you through all the relevant passages of Scripture along with the script for a Seder meal and instructions for what goes on each slot in the plate. It also comes with a plague game and a cutter to shape your matzah like pyramids if you’d like. For us, it was worth it just to have the guide!
Until next time,
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