A few years ago, I found myself craving a more meaningful way to celebrate the season of Christ’s death and resurrection. We had our own family traditions and they were great. I mean, who doesn’t love a good egg hunt? And mom’s Easter baskets are the best! But somehow the marshmallow peeps, chocolate Easter bunnies, and painted eggs just weren’t cutting it for me. I wanted something deeper. More meaningful. More personal.
That’s when I started celebrating the biblical feast of Passover. It started when a group came to our church and led us through our first Passover Seder. It was convicting, eye-opening, inspirational, and immensely meaningful. I did not realize how much of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross was tied to this feast. For a few years after that, we traveled to different locations participating in community Seders, but eventually we decided to celebrate it at home as a family.
We are not Jewish and we do not celebrate because we feel as though we have to. We celebrate because we get to. We celebrate to remember our own personal faith journeys and how Christ freed us from spiritual slavery.
Here are five top reasons I believe Christians should celebrate Passover at least once in their lives.
Jesus celebrated it.
Seriously, I cannot think of a better reason than this. Jesus celebrated Passover every year from the time He was born until the day He died. It is important for us to remember that Jesus was Jewish. If we want to understand who He was and why He did things, we have to keep His heritage in mind.
Passover was important to Jesus; it held more meaning than a simple tradition or dutiful obligation. He actually enjoyed it. In Luke 22:15 He says, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins.” If it was good enough for Jesus it ought to be good enough for us.
To understand the Last Supper.
Did you know the Last Supper was a Passover Seder? Passover is a feast Jews have celebrated every single year since the day they left Egypt; except for the years they neglected it because they were neglecting God (2 Chronicles 30:1-5). And hidden in this feast are all sorts of important ties to the Last Supper.
For instance, the practice of communion is derived from the Passover Seder. The bread and the wine are featured players in this feast. In fact, they already had meaning and significance long before Jesus referenced them. When He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:19-20). He was building off of something old. Something explained in the Passover story.
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, when they all sang a song, when Judas dipped his hand into a dish with Jesus—these events are all part of this ceremony. They are not just a series of things that happened that night. They are filled with significance that can only be unwrapped when approached from a Jewish perspective.
We will celebrate it in heaven with Jesus.
Jesus said in Matthew 26:29, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” Here, Jesus is referring to the marriage supper of the lamb mentioned in Revelation 19:9.
Basically, there are four cups of wine served during the Passover Seder. During one of them, Jesus literally stopped and promised that He would not drink again until one day in heaven when all of His true followers will finish the feast with Him. Wouldn’t you like to be prepared for that feast—to know just a little bit about it and why it is so important that we celebrate it in heaven?
It points to Jesus.
Jesus is the fulfillment of so many things mentioned in Passover! He is the menorah, the light of the world. He is the perfect, unleavened matzo, the bread of life. He is the Lamb of God sacrificed for all mankind.
To get a full picture of Jesus as the Passover Lamb, it is necessary to understand Passover. There are so many amazing similarities between how Passover lambs were born, raised, and sacrificed and how Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born, raised, and sacrificed.
To search our hearts for hidden sin and to reflect on God’s work in our lives.
Spoiler alert: Passover is all about remembering God’s people who were called out of Egypt and delivered from slavery. This story of redemption is personally significant to us as believers because it mirrors our own faith journeys. Each of us was dead and hopeless. We were slaves to sin before God Almighty redeemed us with His outstretched arm.
Passover is a time of searching our hearts to identify the sin holding us captive and remembering the work Christ did for us on the cross delivering us from the punishment we deserved. It is a time to rejoice and reflect on the moments God has been gracious to us in the last year.
How to celebrate Passover
Have you been convinced to give Passover a try? Great! Now what? First, I always suggest attending a Passover Seder sponsored by a church or ministry. Make sure you attend one that presents it from a Messianic perspective (meaning they believe Jesus is the Messiah).
You can usually find one by searching for “Messianic Passover Seder” in whatever large city is near you. Also, some ministries, such as Jews for Jesus, are willing to travel to your church to host a Seder.
If you cannot book a speaker from Jews for Jesus in time for this year’s Passover, there are other methods your church, family, or small group can celebrate the ancient feast that has so many modern applications.
One such way is to use the resource of YouTube. One video I like examines the link between Christ and the Passover. There are two great videos led by Messianic rabbis who lead Seder meals and articulate the Christian meanings behind everything on the plate.
If you want to read about and prepare for Passover next year, I recommend The Messianic Passover Haggadah, and Christ in the Passover. These have been very helpful in my understanding of Jesus’ role in the Passover.
This year is very unique in that Passover falls nearly a month after Easter. It is on Friday, April 22 to Saturday April, 30 this year. There is still time for you to prepare and participate in this wonderful celebration of God’s covenant, deliverance, faithfulness, and love toward His children.
Until then, as many Jewish believers will say after their Seder meal, “Lishana Ha-baah Bi-yerushalyim” (Next year in Jerusalem)!