Summary: The first of the Seven Holy Days given to God’s people to celebrate. Ths Passover Seder is written in typical Haggadah fasion with a relationship to Christ in each step of the dinner.
April 12th, Sundown
We know from the scriptures that Jesus was Jewish. He observed Moses’ Law faithfully and no sin could be laid to his account. (1 Peter 2:22)
Colossians 2:16 – 17
“16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.”
In Exodus 12; 23:14-17; Leviticus 23; Numbers 28 & 29; and Deuteronomy 16, God gave His people 7 feasts to remember and to celebrate each year, passing them down to their children, from generation to generation.
These feasts were more than just to celebrate and worship God.
God was preparing His people for the coming of the Messiah. He was drawing a picture of what was to come.
As we read in Colossians, the Apostle Paul refers to the Jewish feasts as “mere shadows” of things to come, the substance was found in Jesus.
What Paul is saying is that the feasts were symbols that pointed to Christ and was fulfilled by Christ.
Today we are going to celebrate the first of these 7 Holy Days (holidays), Passover, and talk about the 2 feasts that take place immediately afterwards, The Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of the First Fruits.
We will see how the Passover represented Christ’s sacrifice, the feast of unleavened bread represents the burial of Christ who was without sin, and the feast of the first fruits represents Christ on resurrection day, Christ, the first fruit of the dead.
The first three of the seven holy days fulfilled by Jesus is during what is known by the Jewish calendar as the dry season.
The fourth holy day, the feast of the wheat harvest, marks the end of the dry season. This feast also falls on the exact day of Pentecost, the day we received the Holy Spirit. This truly was the end of the dry season for on this day the Lord made the Holy Spirit available to all.
The Passover points to the messiah as our Passover lamb whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover, at the same time that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening.
Passover begins at sunset in the first month on the Jewish calendar which is Nissan. According to this calendar the first night of Passover was on a Thursday, when Jesus had the Last Supper with the disciples and gave them the true meaning behind the Passover.
Although Jesus honored God’s given Holy Days, He did not however honor the oral traditions of the rabbis. In fact He often challenged them and warned His hearers, “Ye have made void the word of God because of your traditions…in vain do they worship me, teaching as their doctrine the precepts of men.” (Matthew 15:6-9)
From childhood Jesus observed the sacred Passover with his family.
As His days drew to a close He shared the feast with His disciples (Mark 14:12). It was during this Last Passover feast together that Jesus instituted the sacred memorial feast we call the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
Following His resurrection, the disciples observed this sacred meal on the first day of each week (Sunday), the day on which He was raised. (John 20:1)
This is why most Christian churches meet on Sunday mornings because Christ returned from the grave on this day, this was the day the disciples took communion and the day they met to collect tithes.
All Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight.
From this, we understand that a day actually begins with evening, that is, sunset.
So before we begin, let’s look at a few Hebrew words and what they mean.
Kippah (Skull Cap) or Yarmulka
The most commonly known and recognized piece of Jewish garb is actually the one with the least religious significance. The word yarmulke (usually pronounced yammica) is Yiddish.
According to Leo Rosten’s “The Joys of Yiddish”, it comes from a Tartar word meaning skullcap. According to some Orthodox and Chasidic rabbis it comes from the Aramaic words "yerai malka" (which means fear of or respect for The King). The Hebrew word for this head covering is kippah (pronounced key-pah).
It is an ancient practice for Jews to cover their heads during prayer. This probably derives from the fact that in Eastern cultures, it is a sign of respect to cover the head (the custom in Western cultures is the opposite: it is a sign of respect to remove one’s hat). Thus, by covering the head during prayer, one showed respect for God.