Celebrating the Biblical Feasts: Jesus and Passover
What do Jesus and Passover Have in Common?
Jesus (Yeshua) was a Jewish man in a Jewish family. He kept each one of the appointed times (moedim) as prescribed in the Torah – God’s Law. Because of that, Jesus and Passover are a natural pairing.
Getting Invited to the Passover Table
Have you ever dated someone or been in a serious relationship? How do you know that it’s finally going to that next level? One of the most commonly accepted signs that a relationship is getting serious is when you are invited to ‘meet the family.’ Or even more consequential, when you’re invited to attend a holiday meal with the family.
It is a rite of passage to learn what your significant other’s family does for the holidays. Which common traditions do they keep? Which ones have they created for themselves? The exchange of cultural and familial cues that occur during a holiday meal are profound.
Jesus, Passover and the Jewish Holidays
It wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that Yeshua had an earthly family. There are traditions and holidays that God Himself set in place. As much as I loved Jesus, I had never considered that I had been cordially and biblically invited to celebrate those holidays! I also had no idea how much more I would learn about my Messiah by celebrating them.
As I started to journey through the biblical calendar of feasts and fasts, I experienced an intimacy with my Jewish Savior like I’d never known before. I will never forget how real and personal He felt to me when I sat down to celebrate my first Passover in Israel.
After years of being in love with Yeshua, I was finally “sitting down to dinner with Him and His extended family.” In those moments He was not just my Lord seated in Heaven. He was almost tangible, like He was seated next to me!
When is Passover Celebrated?
Arguably the biggest holiday in the Hebrew calendar, Passover is not just a Jewish tradition. Passover is a God-given altar of remembrance of His saving power over death.
Passover begins on the 14th of Nisan, which is the first month of God’s calendar. Although it is a little-known fact, Passover marks the beginning of the biblical calendar year. God instituted the feast while the Israelites were still in captivity in Egypt. He sent the last plague upon Egypt, killing the firstborn of each household. That is when the Lord implemented the Passover. It is a means of marking the Jewish people as separate from all others.
The LORD caused death to pass over each home that had applied the blood of a sacrificed, unblemished lamb to the doorposts (Ex. 12:1-28). This day was to be kept as a memorial and a feast forever (Ex. 12:14).
Jewish people observe the Passover from generation. In that way, God trains them to understand that the sacrifice of blood was able to cause death to flee from them.
Jesus Revealed in the Passover
So how does Jesus factor into the Passover? In several beautiful ways that only God could bring creatively together. Jesus (Yeshua) triumphantly entered into Jerusalem on a donkey on the 10th day of Nisan. This would have been the very same day that the Israelites selected their unblemished lambs for sacrifice by the whole congregation, four days later (Ex. 12:3-6).
Yeshua was presented to Israel as being perfect before his sacrifice. It was on the 14th day of Nisan or the beginning of Passover (John 19:14). The Passover lambs were slain and sacrificed at twilight (Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5). Yeshua passed away at about that same time (Matt. 27:45-50).
Passover and the New Testament
The sacrifice of the Passover lambs was a device God used to ultimately point to the true and perfect lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19). Yeshua’s sinlessness caused His ability to be the ultimate lamb who takes sin away from the world (John 1:29). Yeshua was the Messiah of Israel, the Passover lamb that was able to defeat death once and for all (1 Cor. 5:7).
You’re Invited to Jesus’ Passover Table
In the New Covenant, Yeshua did something radically new and surprising. He personally invited all believers to join Him at the Passover table, or, “The Lord’s Supper” (Luke 22:14-35). It was at His last Passover meal that Yeshua raised the cup and the matzah (unleavened bread) and said “do this in remembrance of me.” When He referred to doing ‘this’, He was referring to the Passover.
Remembering Him in this way was not only His express wish, but it is a confirmation of the continuity of God’s goodness throughout millennia. Yeshua’s blood not only covers the sins of Israel, but the blood of the lamb of God was sufficient to rescue the whole world! Now that is something to celebrate!
Transform Lives in Israel this Passover through Jesus
As believers, we have God to thank for His redemption of Israel, the Jewish people, at Passover. Want to get more involved regularly in what God is doing in Israel today?
The Tribe is a passionate and faithful group of monthly donors on a mission to transform lives in Israel through the love of Jesus. Join the Tribe today: www.firmisrael.org/thetribe
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes