Passover and Jesus

History of Passover

Passover is a huge Jewish holiday that is celebrated from March 27, 2021 to April 4, 2021. The date changes every year due to the moon cycle. On the Jewish calendar, it always falls on the 15th day of Nissan coinciding with the Christian holiday of Easter. Jewish people say Chag kasher v’sameach to each other during this time which means, “Happy Passover!”  The celebration commemorates the day when the plague of the death of the first born child happened in Egypt, but God passed over the Hebrew families. Passover, while a Jewish holiday, ultimately points forward to the salvation Jesus Christ will offer to all mankind.

The story of the first Passover can be found in Exodus 12. At that time, the Jews were enslaved in Egypt, and God has passed nine judgements on the nation of Egypt through Moses, each time warning Pharaoh to “Let my people go.” However, Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord, and eventually the Lord stopped giving him chances and permanently hardened Pharaoh’s heart. 

For the tenth and final plague, God sent an angel of death to kill the first born son of every family. To protect His people, God instructed the Hebrews to take an unblemished year-old lamb or goat and kill it. They were to cook it over a roasted fire and then eat the animal and burn whatever was left over, leaving nothing till morning. Then they were supposed to take the blood of the animal and paint it over the doorway. When the angel saw the blood on the doorway, he was to “passover” the household and not kill the first born. The Hebrews were told to do these preparations on the 14th day of Nissan. God’s judgement would be discovered by the Egyptians on the 15th. The Hebrews were also commanded to throw out their food with yeast in it because yeast was a symbol of sin. 

The Connection Between Passover and Jesus

Like the lamb that was slain to save the Hebrew babies in Egypt during the first passover, Jesus was slain to save all mankind. In John 1:29, John the Baptist explicitly makes this point by exclaiming, “Behold the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.” 

Jesus was sent to be the sacrificial Lamb to pay for our sins. His blood covered us in His perfect righteousness and saved us from death just as the lamb’s blood in Egypt saved the Hebrew sons from death. The passover in Egypt was just a small demonstration of what was coming in the future. 

There are several similarities between the passover lamb and Jesus. One is that they were both whole upon their death. The Hebrews were instructed to roast the lamb fully intact over the fire. Likewise, when Jesus was crucified, John 19:26 tells us that no bones were broken. Like the lamb, He was fully intact. This is a unique circumstance because when a person is crucified, they die from asphyxiation (suffocation), so they have to keep pushing up their legs to get air into their lungs and breathe. Consequently, the Romans would break their legs so the crucified couldn’t push up and prolong their life. The Jews had asked Pontius Pilate to break Jesus’ legs, but there was no need; He was already dead. 

Like the lamb at Passover who was perfect, Jesus was also perfect. He had never sinned. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.” As our sacrificial Lamb, He died for our sins.

The blood on the doorposts in the Exodus story was to be put on the top of the door and on each side. The picture here is of Jesus’ head and arms stretched out on the cross. His blood would pay for the sins of all who believe in Him.  

In Exodus, God provided the instructions to the Hebrews, however, they had to obey God for their oldest sons to be spared that night. Likewise, Jesus died for our sins, but, if we do not accept His free gift of salvation, we will not go to Heaven. Have you done this? If not, I would encourage you to look into it because giving your life to Christ and accepting His free gift of salvation is the best thing you could possibly do. Also, if you know any non-Messianic Jews, (a Messianic Jew is a Jewish person who has come to faith in Christ) using the Old Testament story of Passover is a great way to show them what Jesus had done for them.