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Ultimate Hope Found in the Passover

Chag sameach! This is a Hebrew greeting that is translated as “happy festival” or “happy holidays”. It is a greeting that many Jewish people would have heard throughout the day today, and it is a greeting I often heard from some of my family members around this time of year while growing up.

Last night at sundown, the Passover and Week of Unleavened Bread began. Passover is a holiday that remembers the Lord’s deliverance as He led His people out of slavery in Egypt in Exodus 12-13. It celebrates how God provided protection from His judgement through the blood of a sacrificed lamb, Yahweh’s power over the Egyptian gods, Israel’s preparation to leave Egypt in haste, and their wandering in the wilderness as they were led to the promised land. Unfortunately, many Jews today celebrate Passover with the perspective of only appreciating their history and maintaining religious and cultural tradition. However, those who recognize Jesus as their promised Messiah celebrate the immense hope and promises God has given His people!

Here are three simple ways the Passover points to Jesus:

In Exodus 12:5-7, God’s people were commanded to sacrifice a spotless lamb and to put the blood on the doorposts of their house. This blood was a sign for the Lord to pass over their home and spare them from the judgment that was being brought to the land of Egypt because of their sin. When Jesus came to earth, he was given the title “the lamb of God” (Jn 1:29). He was the only lamb who was truly perfect and spotless, and he died the weekend of the Passover to cover the sins of all who are covered by His blood.

When Jesus was celebrating the Passover with His disciples the night before His death, He took the bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, “Take, eat; this is my body” (Lk 26:26). Rabbinic tradition teaches that the unleavened Passover bread was supposed to be punctured and striped as evidence that it had no yeast. Jesus broke the pierced and striped bread as a symbol for His body being broken and pierced on our behalf. Many people also make the connection that leaven can be used to represent sin, symbolizing Jesus’ sinlessness. If anything, the unleavened bread prepared the Israelites for their imminent departure from Egypt, and it is through Jesus’ broken body that we are able to flee our slavery to sin and be united with God.

Jesus took the cup after the meal and said, “this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Lk 26:28). Traditionally, there are four different cups taken throughout the Passover Seder, and the third cup directly following the meal is titled the “cup of redemption”. When Jesus identified the cup with His blood, He was not just giving His disciples some nice imagery to remember His death. Instead, he was proclaiming that He is the promised fulfillment of how His people would ultimately be redeemed!

When we take the Lord’s Supper together as a church with the wafer and juice, it is so much more than tradition or imagery. Rather, it is a collective celebration of the promises that we have experienced in Jesus! In many ways, the Lord’s Supper is an extension and fulfillment of the Passover meal, and because of Christ, we have been given a certain and eternal hope that so many in this world live without!

Jacob Abrahamson
Youth Pastor

Categories: Evergreen Connection