For the past few years, I’ve desired to initiate a Passover celebration in our home, but I’ve never had the time to put everything together. Passover requires preparation. You’re not just hosting dinner; the Passover Seder is an anniversary, a ceremony, and a celebration. I’ve been preparing for a few weeks now, and I’m excited to say that this will be our first year celebrating!
As I’ve been preparing for the Passover Seder, one particular question continues to pop up: why are you celebrating Passover? Honesty, this is probably the most common question asked of any Christ-follower when they announce that their family celebrates the Passover.
I’d like to take this opportunity to answer the question on behalf of my family and the many other disciples of Yeshua (Jesus) who choose to celebrate the Passover. In the process, I’ll explain why I am so excited to inaugurate this holiday in our home. Perhaps, it will even inspire you to introduce the Passover tradition in your family.
5 Reasons Why We Are Celebrating Passover
1. We are committed to living in God’s story, not the story of the world
For me, this is probably the easiest way to sum up our decision to celebrate Passover. In this world, there are two main narratives: one is true, but the other is a work of fiction. We choose to live in the true story, God’s story. Passover and the other festivals God ordained were meant to serve as reminders, to keep us connected to our story of origin.
2. Passover is not a Jewish holiday
The idea that Passover is a Jewish holiday is a myth. The reason it is considered a Jewish holiday, is because, typically, they are the only ones who celebrate it. But the Bible reveals the truth: the Passover is the Lord’s holiday. This celebration is described as “The Lord’s Passover” in multiple locations in the Bible, including Exodus 12, where the command was first given. Which leads right into my third point.
3. God commanded us to keep the Passover
“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14)
God never said to stop celebrating the Passover. (He revised it, but He didn’t do away with it.) God tells us to celebrate it as a festival to Him. It’s amazing that the God of the universe instructs on how to celebrate with Him. Even Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated the Passover, and His disciples continued the tradition after His death. It wasn’t until after Christianity became the official religion of Rome that Passover was simplified to Easter, because it was deemed more “convenient” to celebrate on one day, Sunday. And at the Council of Nicaea, it was also determined that Christians should not, “follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin,” referring to the crucifixion of Yeshua (of which ALL humanity is guilty, not just the Jewish people).
4. It is a tool for teaching and training
“And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them…” (Exodus 12:26-27)
Now, I don’t have kids that I’m teaching, but perhaps you do. What I do have is spiritual kids, disciples that I am training, and I am as responsible for their spiritual growth as you are for your kids. Since it is our first year celebrating Passover, we will be teaching just our family. But I look forward to next year and the years to come, when I invite friends and the people I am leading to learn about the history of our ancestors. We have been grafted into Israel. Their history is our history.
5. Jesus commanded us to keep the Passover
Now, some will argue that we don’t need to celebrate Passover because Yeshua fulfilled the Passover. Yes, He did fulfill it, but He did not “do away” with it. He said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
In the gospels, the Last Supper is actually a Passover celebration between Yeshua and His disciples. When Yeshua said, “do this in remembrance of Me,” He wasn’t talking about our church tradition of communion. Now, I’m not saying anything against communion. We should remember the sacrifice of Yeshua as often as possible, and communion is one way to do that. But we have to understand that what He was actually saying is, “God gave your ancestors the command to celebrate the Passover to remember their deliverance from Egypt. But I tell you to continue this lasting ordinance, not to remember your deliverance from slavery in Egypt, but your deliverance from slavery to sin. Celebrate this Passover in remembrance of Me.”
The Passover Seder that is conducted in remembrance of Yeshua our Messiah is rich in meaning and symbolism. I wish I could share more, but honestly there is too much! This is the amazing thing about God and His story, everything points to Yeshua, not just the Passover, but the entire story of the Bible and all of the smaller ones that compose it. Once you start digging in, it becomes very clear (cliché as it may sound), “Jesus is the answer.” He is the answer to all of the stories and mysteries and parables and symbols… everything! Everything points to Yeshua our Savior and God’s great love for us! So whether you celebrate Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, or Passover, do it all in remembrance of Him!