As I sat in a pastor’s office he asked me, “Why should I have a Passover in my church?”
The pastor had recently taught through the book of Hebrews and exclaimed, “ It was rich!” Using his response I replied, “Because your people will be as enriched by going through a Passover seder as you were teaching through Hebrews!” I’ve seen the impact Passover has made on believers in Jesus countless times and I am one that was impacted too.
I believe that Passover has such a significant impact on believers because it is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus. All of the Passover is fulfilled in Him. On that night before His death, Jesus took the bread and the cup, declaring that we are to remember Him with these two elements from the Passover meal (Matthew 27).
All of the Passover is fulfilled in Him.
Passover itself commemorates the deliverance of the children of Israel from Egypt. It celebrates their deliverance from death and bondage. Those two words speak clearly of what the Lord Jesus does for us. He delivers from a greater death and a greater bondage. The death He delivers us from is an eternal death, our separation from God for eternity. He delivers us from the bondage of sin. For the Jewish people, Passover began their existence as a nation on that night. For us it represents our Savior and salvation in Him.
The Haggadah, the text used to follow the order of the seder, states that the participants must make the celebration personal, as though they were delivered that night of the first Passover. “This is not just what God did for them, but this is what God did for me.”
Two items in the ceremonial meal remind them of their experience in servitude and bondage. The first is the taste of the bitter herb, usually horseradish. As they eat, tears come to their eyes representing the pain of bondage and the harshness of servitude. The second is the salt water. As they dip parsley into the salt water, they remember the tears of bondage in Egypt. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are reminded that sin brings pain and bondage, and that Jesus bore our sin, bondage, and pain on the cross.
Passover also reminds us of the life in bondage with the sweet charoset made up of grated apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine. It represents the mortar used to make bricks in Egypt. The cinnamon and wine allow the mixture to take on a brownish hue, giving an appearance of clay.
As believers, our mind can go back to the fact that God made man from the dust of the earth. The Lord Jesus became flesh for us so that He would restore us to God. God gives us joy and life when we receive Jesus as Messiah and Savior. As I write this I just celebrated my spiritual birthday. Fifty years ago my life began anew when I received Him as my Savior. In the words of the hymn, “Heaven came down and glory filled my soul.” I experienced joy l had never had. I had come from death and bondage to eternal freedom and life.
In the matzoh, a thin, crisp unleavened bread eaten at Passover, we are reminded of our Savior. “Unleavened” means without leaven or yeast. The bread was made without leaven because they didn’t have time on that night to allow the bread to rise. But the bread has a deeper significance. The unleavened bread represents a sinless Savior. Interestingly enough, there are three matzohs on the Passover table. To us, as believers, they represent the Godhead, and as the middle matzoh is pulled from the center, it reminds us that Jesus is holy and sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21). However, as we eat the bread we are reminded that as He is holy, and our God is holy, He has made us holy. Peter affirms this in 1 Peter 1:13–16 and 2:9. God desires us to be like Him, holy. For the Jewish people, this middle matzoh is broken in the hands of the father, wrapped in a napkin, hidden, brought back, and shared with those at the table. This matzoh has a special name, afikomen, a word of Greek origin. Our Jewish friends say it means dessert, as it’s eaten at the end of the meal. However, it literally means, He came.
For us the Lord’s table reminds us of what Jesus did that day on the cross. As we eat the bread and drink the cup we remember Him until He comes. As Passover signifies for Jewish people their freedom from bondage and entrance into freedom, so we remember Him who delivered us, and will come for us one day. “Hallelujah, what a Savior!” You see, Passover is truly a portrait of our Messiah.
We would love to come to your church, small group, or Sunday school next year and host a Passover Seder! Go to www.foi.org/passover2020 and someone will contact you soon.