What does Passover mean for Christians?
It wasn’t until I experienced a Passover seder for myself that I could fully appreciate and understand how much the feast brims with the prophetic foreshadowing of Jesus as our Messiah. The beauty and significance of the traditions of the Old Testament are so pronounced and stunning, that I don’t think any Christian could sit through a traditional seder and not be moved.
So what is the significance of Passover for us as Christians?
First, it’s important to know that Passover commemorates the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt (see Exodus 12). The original Passover celebration centered around the Passover lamb, which was sacrificed and its blood put over the Israelites’ doorposts. God had the angel of death “pass over” the houses of the Jews during the 10th plague on the Egyptians, the slaying of the first born. If the Israelites ignored or disobeyed God’s warning, they would suffer the death of their firstborn along with the Egyptians. If they heeded God’s warning, their child would be spared.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is our sacrificial Lamb.
The Passover lamb was to be a “male without defect.”
As we know, Jesus was the only perfect man to ever live, a male without defect.
When the Passover lamb was roasted and eaten, none of its bones were to be broken.
When Jesus was sacrificed, not one of his bones was broken even though it was customary during crucifixion to break the leg bones of the person after a few hours in order to quicken their death by asphyxiation. The only way a person could breathe when hanging on a cross was to push up with his legs. However, in the case of Jesus, they broke the legs of the other two men being crucified with him, but not His, since Jesus was already dead.
The importance of customs
Understanding Jewish customs during Jesus’ time is important to better understanding the symbolism of Jesus’ last week.
Five days before the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed, it was selected for the sacrifice.
Jesus came into the city of Jerusalem five days before the lamb was killed in the temple as the Passover sacrifice for the sins of the people of Israel.
The day Jesus was crucified was the day of the Passover celebration and the day that the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed.
For the previous 1,200 years, the priest would blow the shofar at 3:00 p.m. (the moment the Passover lamb was sacrificed), and all the people would pause to contemplate the sacrifice for sins on behalf of the people of Israel. At 3:00 Jesus was crucified and said, “It is finished.” The same moment the Passover lamb and Jesus were sacrificed, the shofar was blown from the temple, and the veil of the Temple tore from top to bottom.
The best, most amazing part of this? Up until this point, only the High Priest could enter beyond the veil into the “Holy of Holies” to access God. Average people had to use a “go-between” to talk to God. The veil tearing represented the the separation between God and man vanishing, and because of this, we now have direct access to God!
Jesus as our “Passover lamb”
Ultimately, Jesus’ death on the cross was a one-time sacrifice for us. His blood provided a way for God’s judgment to “pass over” us once and for all. Amazing, isn’t it??
Just as the blood of the lamb on their doorposts saved the Jews from death in Egypt, the blood of Jesus gives us a way to exchange bondage and death for freedom and eternal life. All we have to do is apply the blood of Jesus on the doorposts of our lives.
Have you accepted the sacrifice of the Passover lamb?