It is sad to discover how many Bible believers have never celebrated the Biblical feast of Passover.
The title of this post is a question: should Christians celebrate Passover? I would love to hear how you answer it but I also want to share my answer!
One of the most common and accepted definitions of the word “Christian” is “follower of Christ”. If we call ourselves Christians, it means that we are following in His example to the best of our abilities. Right?
Well … did you know that He celebrated Passover?
“And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.” – Matthew 26:18
“The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?” – Mark 14:14
“And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:” – Luke 22:15
I think it is pretty clear that our Savior observed the feast of Passover! Let’s look at one other passage before moving on …
“Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
As far as I’m concerned, anyone who is a follower of the Messiah should be following in His footsteps and celebrating this holy day. That is what our family has been doing for 25 years now. I was just a baby when my parents attended their first Passover seder and we have continued on ever since!
There is an enormous amount of significance surrounding Passover but I want to focus specifically on two things:
First, Passover is a commemoration of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt. You can find the story in the first few chapters of Exodus. In a nutshell – they were slaves … YHWH told Moses to tell Pharaoh to let them go … Pharaoh refused … YHWH sent plagues … plagues … and more plagues … they slaughtered a lamb and put the blood on the doorpost … the angel of death passed over their houses while he was bringing death to all the Egyptian firstborns … Pharaoh let them go … and they hurried out of Egypt with unleavened bread!
Much of the traditional seder focuses on this miraculous deliverance and exodus from Egypt. Unleavened bread (matzah) is eaten, along with charoset (a mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine – to remember the bricks/mortar that the Israelites were forced to build) and bitter herbs/salt water (to remember their suffering and tears). The young children ask traditional questions, the story is retold and Scripture passages are read.
But for those of us who believe in Yeshua (Jesus), this feast takes on an even larger significance when we realize that He was the Passover Lamb – the one Who died to bring redemption and salvation to His people. It is no coincidence that He was crucified on Passover! It was all part of our Heavenly Father’s amazing plan! And now, as followers of the Messiah, we celebrate this feast both to commemorate the salvation of the Israelites in Egyptian slavery and to celebrate the salvation from sin that has been provided through His ultimate sacrifice.
Passover is considered a one day festival and the following day begins the week (seven days) of Unleavened Bread. This is a time when all the yeast and leavening is removed from homes and we do not eat anything that is leavened. In the Scriptures, leaven represents sin. And just as we remove the leaven from our surroundings, it is symbolic of our efforts to remove sin from our lives as well. As we saw in the passage above …
“Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:6-8
Most people around the world will be celebrating Passover this Friday, April 22nd. For many years, our family has actually purchased a one year old lamb and slaughtered it to eat on Passover. We are quick to clarify that this has nothing to with a sacrifice for sin! Our preference is to slaughter or hunt our own meat as much as possible, whether that be chickens/turkeys, sheep, goats, deer or cows. To kill a sheep for meat is the natural order of things. But it is also a great opportunity to commemorate what the Israelites did and imagine how they must have felt.
Think about it.
They were commanded to kill a lamb and put the blood on their doorposts, and then eat the lamb with their shoes on, ready to leave at any moment. Can you imagine what they were thinking?
Are we really going to be preserved or will we lose our firstborn sons too?
Will we be able to leave Egypt this time or will Pharaoh stop us again?
Why are we killing an innocent creature so that we can be saved?
The last question leads us to think more deeply about our Savior. It was one thing to kill an innocent animal for the forgiveness of sins during the days of the sacrificial system, but Yeshua was an innocent man … a human being … who suffered tremendously so that we wouldn’t have to pay the penalty for our sins.
If I could only have one “takeaway” from Passover, it would be that. The correlations between the first Passover and the one on which the Son of God became the Passover Lamb are fascinating and as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is sad that so few Christians are unaware of them. If you have never celebrated the feast of Passover, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Follow the example of our Savior and your eyes will be opened to Biblical truths in a whole new way!
The Passover celebration includes lots of good food! I will leave you with a couple of recipes that you may want to try out!
Last year, Ruthie shared our family’s matzah recipe. We have been making this for years and it is very tasty – nothing like the box matzah!
Since I have been cutting most grains (especially wheat) out of my diet, I was excited to discover this recipe. It calls for six ingredients, the main ones being almond flour and coconut flour, and is very simple to prepare. I made it for the first time this evening and it was good! Two suggestions: I would use a little less salt, and you want to make sure and roll it thin! I also look forward to trying her Elana’s Matzo Ball Soup recipe as well! My brother Tommy gave me 24 pounds of almond flour as a Purim gift and I love to use it in cooking! I plan to share some of my favorite recipes here soon!
For years my friends, family, and readers have been asking me to create a grain-free matzo recipe. This year, instead of throwing my paleo matzo together the day of our Seder, I took time during the last few weeks to work on creating a gluten-free matzo recipe.
This recipe for Unleavened Almond Cookies was shared by a friend of mine last year and they are really good! They only take a few ingredients and are very easy to make! It would be a nice project for a child.
Ruthie is planning to share another one of our traditional Passover recipes this week … we’ll try to get it on the blog in a couple days!