What Is the Significance of Passover?

What is the significance of Passover? Passover is the holy and joyous festival that commemorates Israel ‘s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. The Jews cried out to God in their oppression, and God sent Moses to deliver them. But Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, so God told Moses He would strike every Egyptian home with the death of the firstborn.

The Jews were instructed to slay a lamb and “take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses” (Exodus 12:7) on that night.  Then God promised,  “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (v. 13).

The Jewish captives were also told to eat the sacrificial lamb in haste as they prepared to leave Egypt in the first Exodus.

Birth of a Nation

The command to observe Passover is found in Exodus 12 which reads:

“The LORD said to Moses and Aaron  in Egypt,   ‘This month is to be for  you  the first  month, the first  month of your year.  Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family,  one for each household. . . .  That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast . Eat it in haste; it is the LoRD’s Passover”‘  (vv. 1-3, 8, 11).

Passover and the Exodus mark God’s redemption of Israel and their birth as a nation as Jewish families were liberated and led to the Promised Land.

Passover and Easter

Again this year, Jews the world over will share the Passover meal to commemorate their deliverance by God from slavery and captivity.

Some of the Jewish Passover rituals have carried over to the Christian holy days of Good Friday and Easter. Many of the aspects of communion or the Lord’s Supper are also taken from the Passover tradition.

Jesus regularly observed the ceremonies of Passover by going to Jerusalem to celebrate this festival with his disciples.  It was during the Passover celebration that Jesus taught his followers the significance of his approaching death and the season known to Christians worldwide as Easter (Luke 22: 1-20).

Jesus underscored the importance of Passover to him as a Jew when he told his disciples,  “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (v. 15).

The New Testament transformed this theme by also identifying Jesus as the Passover lamb who would be sacrificed for the world. John the Baptist pointed to Jesus one day and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

This year Passover begins at sundown on April 8, and Easter Sunday is April 12.

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