"On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover."
— Mark 14:12-16 (NIV)
Sunday as we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord, our Jewish brethren commemorated Passover. The Passover celebration begins with a seder meal.
This dinner is a family celebration that can last five or six hours, about the same amount of time Christ was on the cross. I just returned from the Holy Land last week, and the preparations for Passover had already begun. The women in most families were busy removing all leaven or yeast from the home. Some of them will simply throw away all of their pots, pans and cooking utensils and get new ones. Some families even buy new stoves, bread ovens and kitchen appliances.
It is fascinating to see the Bible come alive. When they begin the Passover dinner the father of the home must declare that the home is free of all leaven.
In Exodus 12, the Bible describes the first Passover as the children of Israel are leaving Egypt after over 400 years of slavery. The three main components in the meal are lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs, these items all point to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Passover Lamb of God, therefore he was crucified during the festival of Passover and three days later he rose from the dead during the Festival of First Fruits, which occurs right after Passover.
Jesus is also called the bread of life, and he teaches us to take the bitter things of life and trust that God will work them out for our good. The Festival of Passover reveals the reason for our Easter celebration. On the night before his betrayal, Christ had a seder with his disciples. Today, this is called the Last Supper and it is the prototype for Christian communion. As we celebrate the empty tomb let’s remember that Jesus is our sacrificial Passover Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. Shalom, Shalom!
Deason is senior pastor of Liberty Prayer Chapel, executive director of Liberty County Manna House, morning radio personality for Gospel 94.9 FM and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance of Liberty County.