From Passover to Messiah
Quickly approaching, is Passover (Pesach), the day that kicks off the 8-day holiday of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It’s a time with family. A time of Joy. A time of remembrance. When one thinks of Pesach, one thinks of matza bread, a special plate of 6 foods, remembering The Exodus, and more. Most also think of it as a Jewish holiday.
Pesach Is Far More Than A Holiday
True it is a holiday Jews celebrate. However, Pesach is far more than a holiday, and far more than a Jewish holiday. Not only does God call it HIS holiday (Leviticus 23:1, 4-8), but this is actually a very rich feast, imbued with prophetic meaning about OUR future. This celebration beckons the heart of the Jew, but also the heart of those who believe that Jesus is the Messiah – The Son of God. (Author’s Note: Jesus’ parents named him Yeshua. I love calling him by the same name his mom and dad used. In this article, I’ll call him by his Jewish name.)
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them, “These are My appointed feasts, the feasts of the LORD that you will proclaim as sacred assemblies.’ ” (Leviticus 23:1-2)
The Passover to the LORD begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of the same month begins the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:5-6)
Passover calls Jew and believer alike. The Jew is reminded that God delivered them from Egypt. The believer has the gift of hindsight. The fact that the Passover is a foreshadow to the coming Messiah, who will bring ultimate deliverance, is clear from this spot in history. It was after all, during Passover, that Yeshua goes to the cross.
Yeshua connects Passover to His Death
12On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed, Yeshua’s disciples asked Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” 13So He sent two of His disciples and told them, “Go into the city, … 16So the disciples left and went into the city, where they found everything as Yeshua had described. And they prepared the Passover.
17When evening came, Yeshua arrived with the Twelve. 22While they were eating, Yeshua took bread, spoke a blessing and broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it; this is My body.” 23Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:12-25
What Are We Remembering?
At that Passover meal, Yeshua gives the command to remember him when we drink the cup and break the bread of Passover. This has become the communion service celebrated by many every week. What quickly follows is his arrest, the illegal kangaroo court in front of the Sadducees of the Sanhedrin, and the examination by Pilot to find a crime. Finding no crime, Pilot bends to the crowd’s chant to crucify him. Yeshua is then beaten, mocked, and crucified. Yes, a very quick overview of events. However, the books of Mark (chapters 14 and 15) and Matthew (chapters 26 and 27) carry the whole story in vivid and important detail.
Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread offer numerous foreshadows. Here are but a few parallels between the two Passovers.
- During the first Passover, the death angel searched for every first born. It passed over the homes of those who painted the lintel of their doorpost with the blood of the lamb. This was the last and final plague. The severity of the plague broke Pharaoh’s will to continue to hold the Jews as slaves in the land of Egypt. They were set free. Because of the second Passover, those who believe in Christ and Him crucified are set free. Yeshua is the blood of the lamb that covers us. God’s righteous judgment passes over us. We are set free from the power of sin. We’re set free from the consequence of sin. Amazingly, we are set free from a death that entails an eternal and horrific separation from God.
- The first Passover led to the giving of the written word; the second Passover led to the giving of the Spirit. Now the Word is written on our hearts.
- The first Passover lead to a covenant with the children of Israel. The second Passover fulfills that covenant and the one made with Abraham.
- At the same time the priests were looking over the lambs for any sign of blemish, Herod was examining Yeshua for blemish (crime). Herod declared Yeshua innocent (pure).
- The national lamb was chosen by the High Priest. At 9 a.m., the High Priest would tie it in the Court of Priests for all to look upon it. This is the very hour that Yeshua was nailed to the cross for all to look upon him. At 3 p.m. the national lamb was slaughtered, the very hour Yeshua gave his last breath on the cross.
Passover is a new beginning. According to the calendar God issued in Leviticus 23, Passover is celebrated in the first month of the new year. One thinks of new beginnings, second chances, new life, freedom. God still gives second chances. He still delivers us from the spiritual, emotional, and practical slavery in which we get entangled. The Passover Lamb is still seeking those who are not yet covered and protected by His blood, from the angel of death.
Without the first Passover, the second Passover would not be recognizable. Without Passover, we lose the big picture of God’s plan. The plan that He always wanted us free from the power of death. He always wanted us to make a choice for Him. He always wanted to be in relationship with us. It is our brokenness that creates the gulf between us. Yeshua covers our brokenness and brings us into the presence of God. Yeshua said it best, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
This Passover, the evening of Friday April 19th, find a Messianic Seder in which to participate. Experience the richness of the story being told. If you are not yet protected by Yeshua, and in the presence of the Father, this new Biblical Year is a good time to start that relationship.
About the Author
Susan Skommesa is a freelance investigative reporter and editor with The Northeast Texan. In addition, she flips houses and remodels homes with her husband, Steve. Her many interests include research, public speaking, studying Biblical and Paleo-Hebrew, all things health and nutrition, knitting, homesteading, and teaching and writing on topics of faith, gardening, pets, chickens, and human interest.