By Toni Ford
Last week I wrote about the month of Nisan, which is the first month of the religious Jewish year. There are three spring feasts during this time – Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits. Even though many of us celebrated Passover this past weekend, I have continued to ponder the importance and significance of Passover for all believers.
Passover was first celebrated by the Jews in Egypt the night before they began their journey from captivity and bondage to freedom in the Promised Land. It was the starting point and foundation of advancing them into their destiny, which is the same for us today. God had a way out for the Israelites, just as He has a way out for us today.
Jesus Himself observed the Passover meal in Jerusalem with His disciples, right before His crucifixion when He taught about the New Covenant. The early church continued to celebrate Passover according to the instructions given by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5: 7-8, which reads, “Christ our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth.”
God gave these festivals to the Jewish people for many reasons, one being so that we as Gentile believers would learn how to celebrate God through His festivals. The goal of these feasts is to guide us into the presence of God and bring us into a fresh experience of God’s glory each year. They become our solid foundation, the root to our Christianity. Col. 2: 17 tells us, “All of these were but a prophetic shadow and the evidence of what would be fulfilled, for the body is now Christ!”
Passover is the first feast of God’s cycle of feasts and it is a beautiful example of exactly what Colossians 2:17 describes as a “prophetic shadow of what would be fulfilled.” In Exodus 12, God gives instructions on how to prepare the very first Passover lamb, and as we then read in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), we see the prophetic shadow of Jesus as our Passover Lamb fulfilled!
Lamb selected and examined. God instructed the Jews to go find a “chosen lamb,” only one per household and bring it in to the home on the 10th day of the month. Exodus 12 tells us that this lamb had to be carefully examined for blemishes. Only a perfect, spotless and unblemished lamb would suffice for Passover.
Jesus selected and examined. The Gospels tell us that on the 10th day of the month, the same month (Nisan) in which the Israelites celebrated Passover in the Old Testament, Jesus came down the Mount of Olives and entered Jerusalem. As he came down from the Mount of Olives, people waved palm branches and shouted, “Blessing on the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). The people had selected their Messiah! Jesus enters the temple to teach and is surrounded by Pha-risees and Sadducees and other teachers of the law who question everything He is saying. They are desperately trying to trap Jesus so that they can disqualify Him as the Messiah, and yet no one can find fault in Him. Jesus is without blemish and has no defects!
Lamb taken to the altar and slain. God then instructs the Jews, on the morning of the 14th day of the month, the lamb is bound to the altar at 9 a.m. in the morning and placed on public display. At 3 p.m., the high priest comes to the altar while another priest blows the shofar on the temple wall, cuts the throat of the sacrificial lamb and declares, “It is finished!”
Jesus taken to the cross and slain. Scripture tells us that on the 14th day of the first month, Jesus was led out to Calvary. At 9 a.m. in the morning, Jesus was nailed to the cross and put on public display at Calvary! Then at 3 p.m. on that High Holy Day, at the moment when Jesus breathed his last breath, He cried out with a loud voice, “It is finished” and gave up His Spirit. In Greek, “It is finished” is “Tetelistai,” which means, “The debt has been paid in full!”
The greatest news is that on Sunday, the day of Firstfruits, our Passover Lamb, Jesus our Redeemer rises from the grave! We serve a God, the one and only God that is still alive today, the only God that died for all our sins so that we could have eternal life! This is why we celebrate Jesus, for not only is He our prophecy fulfilled – our spotless Passover Lamb – but He is most of all our Redeemer, the one who stood in the gap for you and for me so that we could have freedom and eternal life!! No wonder John says in John 1:29, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
If you would like me to join you in prayer please e-mail me at email@example.com. I would love to pray for you!