Adherents to the Jewish faith began observing Passover at sundown on Tuesday, April 14, and will continue through April 22. Every year the eight-day celebration commemorates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from centuries of slavery in Egypt, as described in the book of Exodus in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Associated Press reported from Jerusalem that “in Judaism, it is dubbed the festival of freedom” (Associated Press Local, April 14, 2014).
The Bible highlights two significant Passovers: the original one in Exodus 11-15 and the last one that Jesus ate with His disciples. Thus He commemorated the deliverance from Egypt but added another significance as well.
Practicing Jews still observe Passover to remember their ancestors’ escape from physical death in Egypt when the Death Angel “passed over” the homes where the blood of a lamb had been applied. Practicing Christians remember Jesus’ sacrifice of His life, which provides escape from spiritual death for those who believe. This celebration is called “The Lord’s Supper” or “Communion.”
Some significant parallels should be noted. See the List.
G-d is a delivering G-d who keeps His promises. He provided deliverance for Israel from Egyptian slavery, and He provided deliverance from sin’s penalty and bondage to everyone who receives it by faith. That’s something worth celebrating.
Whether you observe Passover this week or Christ’s Resurrection this Sunday, rejoice in G-d’s full provision for your spiritual poverty. Happy Passover (Chag Sameach) or Happy Easter (He is Risen Indeed!).
God's Word the Bible
Israel’s enslavement and deliverance was predicted by G-d in Genesis 15:13-16. Jesus’ atonement for sin was predicted, especially in Isaiah 53, where the “Man of Sorrows” was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and scourged for our spiritual healing. (See also Genesis 3:15.)
Blood sacrifice of Christ
The death of the firstborn in every household was the final judgment (plague) to cause Pharaoh to set the Israelites free (Exodus 4:22-23, 11:1). Because the penalty for sin is death (Romans 5:18-21) the death of Christ paid in full for the sins of the world (John 1:29, 3:16-17, Colossians 1:19).
Death of lamb substituted for death of firstborn
The firstborn’s life was spared if a lamb was sacrificed in his place and the lamb’s blood was applied to the doorposts. Jesus’ death as the “Lamb of God” substituted for the spiritual death all sinners deserve. Those who realize this and metaphorically apply the blood of Christ to themselves will escape eternal death (Revelation 1:5, Hebrews 9:12-15).
Life or death
The first Passover released the Hebrews from physical bondage. The Egyptians would never enslave them again. “Christ our Passover” (1 Corinthians 5:7) was sacrificed to release us from bondage to sin and to Satan (Hebrews 2:24). Satan can never get back a person who has believed Jesus’ promise of eternal life because eternal life is, well, eternal. People who put their faith in Jesus Christ receive eternal life as a free gift and will never perish (John 3:16, 5:24).
G-d instructed His people to celebrate Passover annually (Exodus 12), and Jesus told His followers during His last supper with them that the bread and wine symbolized His body and blood. “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:17-20, 1 Corinthians 11:25-26).