Summary: This message compares The Feast of the Passover and Communion
The Feast of the Passover and Communion
There is a traditional question asked at the beginning of each Passover celebration by the youngest child in the family: “Why is this night different from any other night?” In response, the Father answers the question with the telling of the Passover story. Tonight, we ask of the Last Supper, “Why is this night and why is this seder different from any other?”
Most of us realize that there’s a link between Passover and Holy Communion. From the Gospels, we know that the Last Supper Jesus shared with his disciples was a Passover meal and that Jesus was crucified during Passover. But you may not realize that the connection between Passover and Easter runs much deeper than this; that Holy Communion and the events of the cross and resurrection are actually the fulfillment of Passover. As the Apostle Paul writes, concerning all the events, ceremonies and celebrations of the Old Testament: "These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." – Colossians 2:17 The real meaning of Passover is found in Christ; and specifically, in the events of Good Friday and Easter. This is why 1 Corinthians 5:7 says, ". . . Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."
Every year around the same time as Easter, Jewish families gather at their dining room tables to observe the Feast of Passover. In doing so, they are fulfilling the command of God given to Moses for all the Jews to celebrate The Passover, also called the "Seder," and recall the great acts of God in delivering the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt.
Before the ceremony can begin, the house must be cleansed of all leaven. Leaven throughout scripture is symbolic of sin. The woman of the house removes all the leaven, including baking soda, baking powder, yeast, breads, cakes, cereals, pasta, rice, beans and anything which puffs up when it is cooked. After this is done, The ceremony begins with the lighting of the candles. This is always done by the woman of the house. In this act, we are reminded that the Messiah, the light of the world, came by the seed of a woman.
Passover is celebrated for 8 days and recounts the events of the killing of the first-born spotless lambs on the first Passover. Over 3,500 years ago, when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, God commanded every Jewish family in Egypt to select a spotless male lamb, the first born of the flock. The lamb was to be brought into the home, kept as part of the family and observed for a four-day period to assure it was a perfect, spotless lamb. Then the head of the household was to slaughter that lamb. He was specifically told not to break any of its bones. The jugular vein was cut and the blood poured out into a basin in front of the house. Hyssop branches were used to apply the blood to top of the doorposts first, and then to the two side posts of their door. The blood was a sign upon the door directing the Angel of Death to "pass over" that home. Those inside were spared the ravages of death to any of their first born and lived. 1500 years later, we see in this event as a fore-shadowing of the death of "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
One cannot escape the parallelisms between the death of those first lambs and the death of Jesus. Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem on a Sunday and remained in the city for a four-day period, during which time the religious leaders examined Jesus, like a family does its Passover Lamb. It was confirmed that He was an innocent man. Nevertheless, the Jews had the Romans crucify this perfect, spotless Man on a cross and like the Lamb, not a bone in His body was broken. Crucifixion was a horrendous death. Not only were people nailed to a cross, but it was also very difficult to breathe. The accused had to push the weight of his body on the nails in his ankles in order to push himself up to take a breath. This would be repeated over and over again while exhaustion and dehydration set in. To hasten death, the Romans would break the bones of the accused. The bones of Jesus were never broken because Jesus willingly gave His life for us. No one could take the breath of life from Him; He laid it down willingly.
The blood Jesus shed enables those who receive Him as Lord and Savior to "pass over" from death in this life to eternal life. Josephus, the Jewish historian, tells us that 500,000 Jews from all over the world typically attended the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread each year. Jewish law permitted two families to share a lamb, so roughly that meant 125, 000 animals were sacrificed probably in several shifts on the evening of the Passover. (Exodus 12:6 5). Josephus also tells us it required 600 priests, slitting the throats of four lambs per minute, to accomplish this. It was said that the blood from those animals ran down like a stream from the eastern slope of the Temple Mount to the Kidron Valley. It was graphic reminder of the awful price of sin that Jesus would pay on Calvary to forgive all our sins. His blood would run down the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 9:22,10:4, 13:1-19 and John 1:29