Last year, our family celebrated Passover for the first time. I prepared for weeks, and the hard work paid off. The ceremony was powerful and deeply symbolic. Of course, everything wasn’t perfect. This year, I’ll be sure to cook the meat a little longer!
For our family, the memorial of Jesus’ death and resurrection felt more sacred with the celebration of Passover. We decided to make it an annual tradition. Here’s why our family chooses to celebrate Passover and why I believe all Christ-followers should consider observing this very special holy day.
What is Passover?
Passover is an ancient tradition, a celebration that marks God’s deliverance of our Jewish ancestors from their slavery in Egypt and our own deliverance from slavery to sin.
Passover is not “just a dinner.” The Passover Seder is an anniversary, a ceremony, and a celebration.
Pesach (Passover) is a Hebrew word that means “the mouth speaks,” and Seder means “order.” It is an orchestrated ceremony with designated steps and symbolic food. The Passover Seder tells a story, a story that is not just for the Jewish people but for Christ-followers as well.
Why Passover is Important to the Christian Faith.
1. Christ-followers should be committed to living in God’s story not the story of the world.
For our family, this is the easiest way to sum up our decision to celebrate Passover. In this world, there are two main narratives: the Story of the World and God’s Story. 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. Passover is often considered a Jewish holiday because, typically, Jews 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.
3. God commands 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 told us to stop celebrating the Passover. (God revised the Passover, but He didn’t do away with it.) God tells us to celebrate it as a festival to Him. Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe instructs us 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.
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. Passover 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)
Whether it’s your physical children or spiritual children (disciples), God has given us His holy festivals as tools for teaching and training in the faith. Each year, we hope to invite friends, family, and the people we lead to join our Passover celebration and learn the history of our ancestors. We have been grafted into Israel. Their history is our history.
5. Jesus commanded us to keep the Passover.
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. In fact, Jesus 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 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. Yes, we should remember the sacrifice of Yeshua as often as possible–communion is one way to do that–but we have to understand what Jesus was actually saying.
God gave our ancestors the command to celebrate the Passover to remember their deliverance from Egypt, but Jesus tells us to continue this lasting ordinance to remember our deliverance from slavery to sin. We should celebrate Passover in remembrance of Jesus.
God wants us to celebrate Him and remember Him like we would an anniversary. We are His Bride after all. He gives us specific instructions on how to celebrate Him in ways that are much more symbolic than the holidays humans have created.
Throughout the Passover Seder, it becomes obvious that everything points to Yeshua, not just the Passover, but the entire story of the Bible. 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! This is why we should celebrate Passover. Because we do it in remembrance of Him!
A Couple Notes About Passover
This year, Passover takes place almost an entire month after Easter. This has to do with the way the Jewish calendar handles calculations during a leap year. Our family will be celebrating Passover this week according to the Jewish calendar.
In a couple weeks, I’ll post some pictures from our Seder and a step-by-step guide for how you can incorporate a Passover celebration into your family traditions.