Friends, these are exciting days! We are in the midst of the most significant weekend of the year for Christians, and it is linked to the Jewish Passover. So let’s examine Yeshua (Jesus) in the Pesach (Passover) together. Throughout the centuries Jews have celebrated Passover, while Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. To fully appreciate one, you have to understand the other, as the two fit hand-in-hand.
For the Jews, Passover (including the Feasts of Unleavened Bread and First Fruits) is a week-long celebration beginning at sunset on Nissan 14 of the Jewish lunar calendar. (During full moon around March-April on the Gregorian calendar. It commenced last night, April 19, this year.) It is celebrated in remembrance of God redeeming the Jewish nation from Egyptian slavery. (The book of Exodus provides the account.) Like each of the Jewish feasts, Passover paints a vivid picture of the Messiah! Let’s examine some of that artwork.
According to Jewish ritual, a perfectly flawless lamb was to be sacrificed during Passover as a sin offering. Passover originated in Egypt, when the Lord promised to bring a plague upon the land in order to convince the Egyptian pharaoh to free the Israelites from bondage, but the Lord would “pass over” the houses of Jews who had the blood of a sacrificial lamb sprinkled on their doorpost. (Exodus 12:7) The New Testament tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29-37, 1 Peter 1:18-20) As were the Jews in Egypt, we too are saved by the blood of the Lamb!
Jesus’ Arrival in Jerusalem
Like all Jews, Jesus went to Jerusalem for the annual feasts. Lambs for the sacrifice were chosen 5 days before the sacrifice, and Jesus (our sacrificial Lamb) arrived in Jerusalem 5 days before the sacrifice. Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Lamb of God on lamb selection day!
Two Passover Seders
A Passover meal, known as a “seder,” is celebrated by Jews. It is a family gathering focused on the father telling his children of the great and mighty works of the Lord in redeeming the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. In a seemingly strange turn of events, Jesus celebrated a Passover meal (seder) with His disciples. (Read the account in Mark 14:1-31, or Luke 22:1-38.) The discussion was not the traditional Passover conversation regarding redemption of the Jews, but was Jesus’ opportunity to illustrate the real substance of the Passover. Interestingly, John 19:14 tells us that the next day after this Passover meal with the disciples was “preparation day for the Passover!” Jesus shared the seder with His disciples a day early because He became the actual Passover on the very day the rest of the land traditionally celebrated the Passover meal! Jesus became the Passover Lamb at the appointed time!
Jesus was our Sacrificial Lamb, crucified on the very day that sacrificial lambs were sacrificed. In those days, the priest would blow the shofar the moment the lamb was sacrificed (3pm), prompting the people to pause and contemplate the sacrifice. At 3pm, while Jesus was being crucified, He said, “It is finished.” The sacrifice of the Lamb of God was fulfilled at the exact hour of the traditional Passover sacrifice! Another interesting fact: sacrificial lambs were born and raised in Bethlehem (just outside Jerusalem)… the birthplace of Jesus, our Sacrificial Lamb!
Friday at sunset marked the festival of unleavened bread. Jews took grain from their harvest to the Temple as a sacrifice, offering God their “first fruits,” and trusting Him to provide a bountiful harvest. It was at this point that Jesus was buried…planted in the ground to be raised as the “first fruits” of those raised from the dead! (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) May the coming harvest of believers (rapture) be bountiful!
In the Passover meal (seder), three matzahs (unleavened bread) appear striped, pierced and bruised…just as Yeshua was when crucified. See for yourself! Here is a piece of matzah:
Representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, 3 matzahs are hidden in a white, 3-pocket napkin. The middle matzah represents Yeshua (Jesus, the Son) and is broken during the seder, hidden, then later found by the children. Jesus is our unleavened (sinless) bread, he was striped, pierced, bruised, and broken before being wrapped in a white burial cloth and placed (“hidden”) in a tomb! But, He rose from the dead (was “found”)!
Dear friends, the Jewish Passover is the representation of Jesus Himself! Yeshua…the Jewish Messiah…is seen throughout the Passover feast! In fact, all the Jewish feasts point toward Jesus the Messiah, and are wonderful pictures to help us understand our Lord Jesus Christ!
May you be blessed by the presence of Yeshua as you consider the great lengths He has gone to reveal His great love to you!
For a great message from a Messianic Jewish perspective, see Amir Tsarfati’s 35-minute message, The Problem with Jesus. You will be blessed!
Thanks for joining me today. Come back tomorrow for special Resurrection Day thoughts. Meanwhile, פסח שמח (Happy Pesach)!