Pass-Over: Remembering Jesus
by Nellie Ponce
It is that time of the year again: Passover and Resurrection season. Most Christians celebrate Jesus death and resurrection but few understand how the biblical celebration of Passover applies to them. Passover is more than just another Jewish holiday. It is a commanded time of remembrance and celebration established by God in Exodus chapter 12. It is followed by a 7day festival called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover was and is the holiest time of year for those of the Jewish faith and for those who honor God’s command to observe it.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance…And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and your sons forever.” Exodus 12:14,24
God said they would observe the Passover celebration FOREVER. Not until the Messiah came but forever. God knew that His people would quickly forget how He delivered them from the Egyptians. He knew that in their humanity they would need to be reminded of His goodness, His power and His love. Maybe you are saying, “I hear you, but what is Passover? How does it apply to me as a believer in Jesus Christ?”
Passover is a celebration of how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, which He called “the house of slavery” (Exodus 13:14). The Israelites had been crying out to God for a long time to deliver them and He had heard them. The Egyptians had enslaved them for over 400 years. Through Moses, God gave them specific orders for their deliverance. God was planning a great escape for His people! These were His instructions:
- Kill a lamb without blemish.
- Smear the blood on the doorposts and on the lintel (top of the door).
- The meat must be roasted (not boiled or raw) and eaten that night – all leftovers must be destroyed the following morning.
- Eat unleavened bread (no yeast) and bitter herbs with the meat.
- They must eat it in haste, fully clothed and staff in hand.
“And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:11-13 NKJV
The blood was a sign for God’s people. God was going to bring judgement upon the Egyptians and did not want His people included in that judgement. The only way death would not touch them was if God saw the blood. That is why it is called “Passover”. The Hebrew word for Passover according to Strong’s KJV concordance is defined as “a pretermission, that is exemption.”Pretermission is defined as letting someone pass without notice and to disregard. God exempted His people from judgement and death because He saw the blood on their doorposts. That evening God dealt with their enemies and gave them a new life of freedom!
This story and yearly celebration is powerful because it points to Jesus our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7, John 1:29). Jesus fulfilled every part of Passover – the lamb, the blood and the bread. Because of His blood, God’s judgement passes over our lives. We have sin and failure within us and actually deserve death like the Egyptians. But, God made a way for us like He did the Israelites. According to Romans 3:23, all of us have sinned against God and fell short of His glory! There is hope for all those who believe in Jesus, receive His forgiveness and are cleansed by His blood !
A few years ago God spoke to me and said, “When I see you, I see my Son bleeding in His beautiful crimson blood and there is no shame.” When God sees us He sees the blood. He sees Jesus. We must realize that God did not throw away Passover when Jesus died for us, He fulfilled it. Jesus Himself celebrated Passover with His disciples right before He died (Matthew 26:17-19) and gave them some very clear instructions similar to those in Exodus 12.
“Then He said to them, ‘With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’” Luke 22:15-20 NKJV
- Break bread and eat: it is His body
- Drink the wine (or juice): it is His blood
God commanded them to eat the unleavened bread and to place the blood on the doorposts. Jesus our Passover Lamb says to eat the bread and drink the cup in REMEMBRANCE of Him. We call this communion. God established Passover so His people would REMEMBER how He had vanquished their enemies. All of this is for us to remember Him – His power, His love and His mercy! Passover and communion are not just traditions to be upheld but holy celebrations to evoke praise for all God has done in our lives.
In our humanity and brokenness we forget the many different breakthroughs God has done in our lives. We grow discouraged when we meet new trials and enemies. In the darkness, in the battle we wonder if God will come through. I believe God established Passover and communion so that when we walk through trouble we would remember who He is: our loving Savior, Warrior and Friend! He wants us to know He can do it again. We can trust the One who gave it all because He loved us (John 3:16).
Have you forgotten all God has done for you and what Jesus’ blood means for your life? Today I encourage you to celebrate Passover and Jesus’ Resurrection with fellow believers! Think about all He has done in your life and simply worship! You will be encouraged and revived. At Yielded Vessels Ministries we hold a yearly Passover Seder where we eat, play games, pray and worship together to commemorate all God has done for His people! We rejoice in His deliverance and thank God for passing over our sin. We deserve judgement but He gave us mercy. That is love. That is what Passover is all about! For more info on our Passover Seder visit our facebook page!
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