The Christian Passover
On this Palm Sunday we take a look at the significance of Jesus Christ’s role as Passover. The Christian Passover focuses on Jesus’ body and the shed blood
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed[a] and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new[b] covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. – Matthew 26:26-28 NKJV
When I was a child, I was fascinated with the Holy Communion – I just had to “eat that cracker and drink that juice!” As a child, I did not know, nor did I understand the significance of the Holy Communion. To me, it was just a time of eating and drinking the juice, in church. In the church today, as I have matured, I look around and see that there is not an understanding of the significance and importance of our Holy Communion.
Many people choose to run out of the church, just before communion, because they don’t want to stay any longer. Some people just don’t bother to show up on communion Sunday at all, because it doesn’t mean anything to them. We’re like the people of Corinth – we don’t have a true understanding or appreciation of the significance of the Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 11:20-28). On this Palm Sunday, I want to talk about the significance of the Holy Communion by looking at the Christian Passover.
The Feast of Passover
It was at the Feast of Passover that Jesus would sit with His disciples and institute the Holy Communion – what most refer to as the Lord’s Supper. Jesus took the bread, broke it, blessed it, and told the disciples what it represented; He said to His disciples, “this is my body.” Jesus took the cup, filled with the fruit of the vine, and told them what it represented. He said to the disciples, “this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” This is very important to know and understand. For us to fully understand the Holy Communion we must look back at the Passover in Egypt.
When we think about the children of Israel in Egypt, some of us may first think about the plagues. We recall some of the plagues: like the plague of hail, plague of darkness, plague of locust, and the turning of water into blood. God used these plagues to illustrate His power and His might to mankind. It was during the last plague, the killing of the firstborns of Egypt, where we find the creation of the Passover.
On the fourteenth day of Abib (or Nisan – April by our calendar), the children of Israel were told to shed the blood of the Passover (lamb), in its first year. They were then to strike the shed blood of the lamb on the two sides of a door post and above (read Exodus 12:1-13). The children of Israel were to mark their houses as a sign to the Lord – any house marked by the blood of the Lamb would be passed over by the Lord. On that midnight the Lord would visit the houses of those not marked by blood and would kill all of the first born in the land of Egypt (Exodus 12:29).
The Lord then commanded the children of Israel to memorialize that day with a feast (Exodus 12:14). They were to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs along with the lamb, roasted. The bread representing affliction was called the bread of affliction because they ate in haste and went out of Egypt in haste (Deuteronomy 16:3). The Feast of Passover, the memorial of what God had done for the children of Israel, was to be celebrated for 7 days. The children of Israel were told to keep the feast for ever (Exodus 12:14). This showed the significance of the Hebrew Passover, and reminded of the importance of remembering what God had done for the children of Israel.
The Christian Passover
Notice that Jesus instituted what we call the Lord’s Supper at and during the memorial of Passover. On the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan, the Passover (the lamb) would have been sacrificed (shed blood) during the celebration of Passover. Jesus was, the Lamb of God, was arrested shortly after the feast. Jesus was beaten, bruised, and whipped after His arrest. He was then hung on a cross and would be dead 24 hours after celebrating Passover. I want you to be able to see the parallel and similarity between the Passover of the Israelites and Jesus Christ as our Passover. Do you see the parallel and similarity?
Jesus is the Christian Passover
His body: now the bread of affliction (pain or suffering). We should eat the bread to remembering that Jesus gave His body. We should remember that Jesus was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. You see, Jesus did not get beat, bruised, and chastised for us to think that He was doing something insignificant. We should not think what Jesus did for us as being unimportant! Through Jesus’ stripes, we are healed (Isaiah 53:5)! We do not have to suffer because Jesus suffered for us!
Jesus shed His blood for us! In Leviticus 17:11, you will read that “life is in the blood”. When on the altar, the blood made atonement for the souls of the children of Israel. You will notice at the feast of the Passover, Jesus said, “my shed blood for the remission of sin.” When you look up the word “remission” you will see that remission means forgiveness or atonement. Like a blood sacrifice, Jesus’ blood stained the cross – our altar – therefore it became our atonement! Jesus’ blood serves as the atonement offering for all of mankind’s sins!
In His blood there is life! Not life of this world, but the life of life eternal! Jesus would become the atonement offering for all of those that choose to believe on Him. Jesus would become the Passover for all of those that would believe on Him. Jesus’ blood is a covering blood. We say that we’re covered by the blood of Jesus, do you know what that means? Where the lamb’s blood covered the Hebrew door post, Jesus’ blood covers and marks all of those that believe in Him!
To further illustrate the parallel and similarity: The children of Israel had to kill the Passover (the lamb) outside of the gates at an appointed place, at twilight, at the going down of the sun (Deuteronomy 16:5-6). Jesus, our Passover (the Lamb of God), was hung on a cross outside the gates of Jerusalem – at Golgotha (Calvary – John 19:17). In Luke’s gospel we read, “it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.” It was during the ninth hour that Jesus would later cry out with a loud voice and give up the ghost (Luke 23:44-46). The 6th – 9th hour corresponds with 3pm-6pm in our time. Our Passover was killed (sacrificed), properly, at twilight – at evening. There are no coincidences when it comes to God!
There is a great significance in why we would should keep the Holy Communion. We memorialize what Christ has done for us – He became our sacrifice, our Passover, to the Lord. We should eat the bread and remember that Christ suffered for us. We should drink of the cup and remember that Christ shed bled for us! When we were afflicted, Jesus (God in the flesh) died for us!
One day the Lord is going to visit and put away from His presence all of those that are not marked by the blood of Jesus Christ – this is the second death. You do not have to be one of those that are put to death spiritually – you do not have to suffer that fate. If you believe on Christ, His blood will cover you and protect you from the Lord. You see, this is the significance and the importance of the Christian Passover – we are saved from the guilty verdict of sin! The Lord will pass you over because you are covered in the blood of the Lamb – Jesus Christ.
Bible Cross References:
Exodus 12:1-13 – Institution of the Passover
Exodus 12:14 – Keeping the Feast of Passover forever
Exodus 12:29 – The Lord kills the firstborns of Egypt
Leviticus 17:11 – Life of the flesh is in the blood
Deuteronomy 16:5-6 – Killing of the Passover
Isaiah 53:5 – Healed by the stripes of the suffering servant (Christ)
Luke 23:44-46 – Jesus 6th – 9th hours on the cross
1 Corinthians 11:20-22 – Lacking understanding