Tonight is the first evening of the Passover celebration for members of the Jewish faith. Although those of us who are Christian have heard about the Passover rituals from our earliest recollections, many people don’t realize that there are many similarities between the first Passover and the end of the life of Jesus on earth. And since we are in the week between Palm Sunday and Easter, it seems like a good time to review some of the similarities.
For example, the Jewish people were to sacrifice a lamb and follow a prescribed ritual to make sure that the Lord passed over their homes and didn’t strike down their firstborn. The blood of the lamb was spread on the doorposts and those families were spared the loss of their firstborn. It was acceptable to invite others to share in consuming the lamb but the lamb could not be divided and transported between two homes. Similarly, the bones of the lamb were not to be broken. Of course, each person had to eat the lamb for themselves.
When we look at this in terms of Jesus, Christians are reminded that Jesus was the perfect lamb – without blemish – much like the Passover lamb. And the accounts of His death on a cross confirm that just like the Passover lamb, none of the bones of Jesus were broken. And, just like in the instructions for the preparation of the Passover lamb, each person was to partake of the lamb themselves. In our New Testament beliefs, each person must accept Christ for themselves. In other words, each of us must partake of the lamb in order to have the blessings of a relationship with Him. None of us can accept the lamb on behalf of anyone else. We each must have a relationship with Jesus to be fulfilled.
The similarities between the two events go on and on. But I am sure that you get the idea – the Passover is an Old Testament picture of something horrible, yet remarkably wonderful, in the New Testament. That God would also sacrifice a lamb, His Son, to prevent us from being eternally separated from Him. In other words, that we would be spared from certain death – just like the Jewish families were spared the loss of their firstborn by their sacrifice of the lamb.
The verse for this evening comes from the first feast. We are told, in Exodus 12:14, “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.” My encouragement this evening is that there are many events in the Bible that the Lord wants us to remember. As Christians we are coming up on one of those remembrances this week-end with Good Friday and Easter – the triumph of Jesus over the grave. My prayer is that you will learn from the Jewish celebrations and also understand the importance of the Easter celebration coming this week-end. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…