Monday, March 25, 2013

Passover has begun.

Right now it's what we in Christianity call "Holy Week". It started yesterday with a celebration of the triumphant entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, later this week we will remember the Last Supper on Thursday, then commemorate the crucifixion on Good Friday, and finally we will celebrate again on Easter as we remember the resurrection of Jesus our Savior and Lord. It is the most holy time of the year for believers.

And now that sundown has occurred today, it is also Passover - the religious festival where our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate the deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egyptian slavery. After the Jews were in slavery under the harsh Egyptians for 400 years, God raised up Moses to be their deliverer. Moses told the Egyptian Pharaoh about a series of plagues that would descend upon the Egyptian people if he would not let God's people go. But Pharaoh stubbornly refused and the plagues hit Egypt with a fury. The last plague would be the death of the first born of each family who lived in Egypt, including the Jews since they also lived in Egypt.  But God who is rich in mercy provided a means of deliverance for the Jews. In Exodus 12:13 we read that if the Jews would trust God, spread the blood of a sacrificed lamb over the doorframe of their homes, then God's angel of death would "pass over" their homes and their firstborns would be spared. It's a majestic picture of God's grace in the Old Testament portion of the Bible.

For us who trust in Jesus as Messiah, we see how Passover is a foreshadow or preview of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, which we celebrate during Holy Week. You see, as the Jews spread the lamb's blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the motion formed the shape of a cross. That reminds us of the deliverance and protection we enjoy because of the blood of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world once and for all on the cross. You can read how Christ is like Passover to believers here.

So the Jewish celebration of Passover and the Christian commemoration of Holy Week are beautifully connected to each other. And as Christians our faith will be enriched if we celebrate Passover alongside our Jewish brothers and sisters, while anticipating the wonder of Easter.