The Jewish people have celebrated the Passover feast for hundreds of years to commemorate the night the angel of death passed over them during the tenth plague God inflicted upon the Egyptians. On that night, the Jews were instructed to paint the blood of a lamb on their doorposts; as a result, the firstborn of their children and livestock were spared. This show of God's great power brought about the Israelite's freedom from slavery in Egypt. God commanded His people to observe the Passover each year to remember the miracle of the night and to pass along the story of God's protection to their children (Exodus 12:25–27).
Is Passover something Christians should celebrate?
In addition to Passover being a look back at God's provision, it was also a foreshadowing of the provision to come: God sending His perfect sacrificial lamb, Jesus, to atone for our sins and save us from eternal death. Although there are many Jews who do not believe this atonement has taken place, Christians around the world acknowledge Jesus' death on the cross that allowed God's judgment to "pass over" us. It is for this reason that today Passover is celebrated by Jews and Christians alike.
While Christians are not required to celebrate Passover, there are various reasons many choose to observe a Passover Seder (ritual dinner). A Seder meal is rich in Jewish heritage, giving us an understanding of how Jews worshipped God in the Bible and what God required of them. It is also a picture of the Israelites' slavery in Egypt and God's deliverance.
The Seder is usually led by a Haggadah, a sort of "script" that determines the order of the meal and describes the various traditions associated with it. A Christian Seder Haggadah is full of parallels between the Jewish Passover celebration and Jesus' sacrifice for us on the cross. Many of the traditions associated with the original Passover feast were a picture of what was to come. For instance, the slavery in Egypt parallels our slavery to sin before we place our trust in Christ; the four cups of wine symbolize God's promises fulfilled through Jesus; the hidden Matzah bread signifies redemption; the lamb bone represents the slain Passover Lamb; the other varied elements not only look back to God's deliverance from sin, but also look forward to our final deliverance when Jesus returns.
Although a Passover celebration is not a requirement, it can be a very enriching and eye-opening experience for Christians as they learn more about Jewish history and experience firsthand the beautiful picture of God's deliverance for all His people.
A Christian Seder Haggadah is available at http://www.crivoice.org/haggadah.html
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