Hi friends! We’re stepping into the high holidays celebrated by Jewish people around the world. In Jesus’ day, Jews went “up to Jerusalem” three times a year to celebrate the great feasts, and today, some Jews continue the tradition by making trips to Israel for the great Biblical holidays: Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (Shavu’ot) and Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).
Passover is actually an 8-day festival, beginning at sundown April 19 this year. Interestingly, Jewish Passover and Christian Resurrection Weekend intersect this year, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus our Savior next Sunday (April 21)! Though Jews and Christians view these special days differently, they are inextricably connected Biblically!
We know that Jesus is the fulfillment of every Jewish feast, so as we approach Passover, when Jews commemorate their deliverance from Egyptian slavery via the blood of the lamb sprinkled on the doorpost, we readily recognize Jesus as the Passover Lamb, by whose blood we are delivered from sin! The correlation is often highlighted in Christian celebrations of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
So, let’s back up a few days and talk about Shabbat Hagadol. Meaning “the great sabbath,” Shabbat Hagadol commemorates the Lord’s command to the families of Israel to obtain a lamb for sacrifice and bring it into their house four days before the sacrifice.
According to John 12, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, entered “the house” (Jerusalem) four days before He was sacrificed for our sins. That day was Shabbat Hagadol, the Great Sabbath. He rode into Jerusalem that day on a donkey, as crowds shouted, “Hosanna!” (Save now!) Thus, He was examined for four days and deemed to be the true Lamb of God!
The city was bustling that day with feast-goers flocking in from across the land. They were expecting their Messiah, and were singing Psalm 118:25-26:
Save us, we pray, O Lord!
O Lord, we pray, give us success!
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Messianic Hope had arrived…yet over the next few days, Yeshua (Jesus) was accosted by the entire religious establishment, leading ultimately to His crucifixion four days later, as our Sacrificial Lamb, at the time lambs were sacrificed at the Temple.
Shabbat Hagadol is the Sabbath before Passover. This year, Passover begins at sundown Friday, April 19, making Shabbat Hagadol today (until sundown). Sabbath always begins at sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. If you are reading this prior to sundown on Saturday (April 13, 2019), it is Shabbat Hagadol!