Passover points to Messiah
Passover commemorates when God delivered the Israelites’ out of slavery in Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, Exodus 1-11 provides the account concerning how Moses was called by God to lead the children of Israel and perform mighty works before Pharaoh. Exodus 12 provides the commandments concerning why Pesach is still celebrated today in the form of the Seder meal. When we look at the timing of these events and what they were required to do, it becomes evident that Passover, in many ways, points us towards a promised Messiah.
Each household was required to sacrifice a male lamb without blemish on the 14th Nissan (the start of Spring time) at twilight. The blood of the lamb was then put on the doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they ate it. They were required to eat it in haste, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. On that night, the Lord struck the firstborn of Egypt though passed over the houses where He saw the sign of the blood. This was to be a feast day and a memorial to be kept throughout the generations.
The Seder Plate
Before Passover, every trace of leaven is removed from the home by making a thorough search for bread crumb, or anything containing yeast. The Seder table and plate are set and the contents and what they represent are as follows.
Zeroah (shank bone)Reminder of Passover (Pesach) offering.
Beitzah (Egg) Reminder of festival offering brought to temple on Pesach.
Maror (Horse Radish) Symbolize bitter suffering when slaves in Egypt.
Haroseth (Apple, Walnuts, red wine) Symbolic of bricks and mortar.
Karpus (Parsley) which is dipped in salt water. Represents salty tears whilst in slavery.
Chazeret (Bitter Herbs) bitter suffering whilst enslaved in Egypt.
But how exactly does Passover and the Seder meal relate to Messiah? Well, Yeshua (Jesus) was killed on the 14th Nissan and died at twilight during Passover. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) and His blood provides atonement for sin since He was perfect, sinless (leaven represents sin) and therefore without blemish.
Why all the blood and the need for atonement? God is pure and holy in entirety and we are not. Our sins separate us from God and only He can make us righteous before Him. ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for souls; (Leviticus. 17:11).’ Similarly, ‘Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews. 9:22).’
Afikomen, Communion and Messiah
The connection between Pesach, Communion and Messiah is strikingly clear from the gospel records of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which explain how Yeshua and His disciples made preparations for Passover and between them mention Passover no less than fifteen times (Matt. 26:2, 17-18; Mark 14:1-2; 12, 14, 16; Luke 22:1, 7-13, 15). Jesus explained that the bread and the wine was figuratively speaking of His body and blood shed for the forgiveness of sins.
A fascinating tradition takes place at the Seder. Three wafers of unleavened bread are used. The middle one is broken (afikomen) and then put in a white napkin and subsequently hidden. At the end of the meal the children play a game searching for it. When they find it, the adults redeem the afikomen by paying a small price and then they eat it and share it together.
Matzos bread used at Passover is pierced and striped. This foreshadows Jesus the Messiah who was sinless, pierced for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). He is the Redeemer who purchased the freedom of those who believe in Him by offering Himself in our place to reconcile us to God.
The body of Jesus was broken and then wrapped in grave clothes and hidden away. He was crucified and His disciples searched for Him, though He had risen from the grave. The timing of the Last Supper coincided with Passover and His resurrection, the Feast of Firstfruits. The disciples were to eat the bread and wine and to do that in remembrance of Him until He comes.
Next year in Jerusalem
The service ends with a prayer and the hope ‘next year in Jerusalem’. Where will Messiah come? To Jerusalem, and He will stand on the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:4). The first coming of our Messiah including his miraculous birth, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and fulfilment of prophecy is the sure certainty of His return. His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. One day we will meet Yeshua either as our Saviour and Redeemer or as our Judge. Since only Messiah can atone for our sins, no amount of prayer, fasting, good deeds or sacrifice can reconcile us to God.
Have you found Messiah? Are you searching for Him at this time, and have you come to trust in Him? Are you eagerly waiting His coming and when He comes will you be ready?
‘Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8).’
Discover more here: the Feasts of the LORD – Shavuot.