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Why Should Christians Keep the Passover?
Good News Magazine ^ | April 1998 | Allen Stout

Posted on 04/11/2008 5:52:15 PM PDT by DouglasKC

Why Should Christians Keep the Passover?

Do you really know why Jesus had to suffer and die? What should the Passover mean for Christians today?

by Allen Stout

Only 3 1/2 years after He began His ministry, Jesus of Nazareth was apprehended by the religious authorities at the time of the Passover feast (Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1). After a brief trial-while mocking Him, spitting on Him and beating Him-they took Him before the Roman authorities and accused Him of "perverting the nation, . . . saying that He Himself is Christ, a King" (Luke 23:2; Matthew 26:59-68).

Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Jerusalem, after analyzing the charges, declared to the chief priests and the others present: "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man . . .; no, neither did Herod . . . I will therefore chastise Him and release Him" (Luke 23:14-16).

But the people would have none of it. They cried out, "Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas [a murderer]" (verse 18).

Pilate found himself in a difficult position. Wanting to release a man he knew to be innocent, he urged Jesus' captors to reconsider. He was answered with angry shouts of "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (verse 21).

Pilate tried to reason with the crowd. "Why, what evil has He done?" he asked. But the mob was insistent, demanding that Jesus be put to death. The priests and the crowd prevailed. The Roman governor freed a murderer and sentenced an innocent man to death (verses 19-25).

Jesus was mercilessly beaten and scourged by the Roman soldiers and subjected to a horrible death.

But why? Why did Jesus Christ have to die?

Meaning of the Passover

Many Christians have been taught that the Passover is an outdated "Jewish" observance done away with at Jesus' death and replaced by Easter, the commemoration of His resurrection.

But why did Jesus Christ keep the Passover? Is there a connection between the Passover and Christ's death? What does the Bible teach us about this most important observance kept by Jesus and the apostles?

In ancient Israel the first Passover was a time of deliverance, the rescuing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The blood of the Passover lamb was smeared on the doorposts of the residences of those Israelites who put their trust in God, and He promised to deliver them from harm (Exodus 12:13, 23). The Israelites were spared while the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain.

God ordained the Passover as a commanded feast: "So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance" (verse 14).

Much later, during the time of Christ, the observance of the New Testament Passover was revealed as the first step toward salvation. It reminds Christians not only of how God delivered ancient Israel out of Egypt, but, more important, of our deliverance out of sin today. "We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin" (Romans 6:6, New Revised Standard Version, emphasis added throughout).

The Passover is the first of the annual festivals commanded by God (Leviticus 23:5). Jesus knew this and kept the Passover with His disciples (Luke 22), showing that this is not a command to be taken lightly.

During His final Passover with His disciples, Jesus Christ introduced new symbols, which commemorate Him as "our Passover, [who] was sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus said, after He had broken the unleavened bread and given it to His disciples, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19).

The Passover is an annual reminder that, through Christ's sacrifice, we have been set free from slavery to sin so we can serve God in righteousness (Romans 6:1-22).

Sacrifice for sin

But why was Jesus sacrificed for us?

All human beings are in slavery to corruption and death caused by sin (Romans 6:16; 8:21; Hebrews 2:14-15), "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And the Bible says, "the soul who sins shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4, 20).

What frees us from this bondage to sin? The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God! God the Father willingly gave up His firstborn Son, and Jesus willingly poured out His life's blood.

Why? Why couldn't God just forgive our sins without a sacri- fice? Why did Jesus Christ have to suffer and die for our sins (Philippians 2:8)?

The truth is that there is no other way to save humanity from the consequences of sin!

God will not compromise with His perfect law (Matthew 5:17-20; 19:17; Psalm 19:7). All of God's commands are summed up in the law of love: "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," and "you shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:36-40).

As the apostle Paul wrote, "Love is the fulfillment of the law" (Romans 13:10). God's law would, if observed, produce and maintain a peaceful, abundant and joyful society (Deuteronomy 4:5-8; 6:1-2; 28:1-14; Galatians 3:21). Tragically, no human (other than Jesus Christ) has kept God's law perfectly. All have broken it by sinning (1 John 3:4).

The Bible likens sin to leaven: If sin is not removed, it grows and spreads (1 Corinthians 5:6). The whole world suffers the curse of sin. Wars, famine, disease, oppression, crime, poverty, family problems, emotional disturbances and every type of evil result from sin, the breaking of God's law (Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68).

The ultimate result of sin is death. "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23), just as God in His love warned the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:17).

Why Christ's sacrifice was necessary

God's way of redeeming humanity-all of us-from the death penalty without compromising His perfect law is for the penalty to be paid in our place by the Son of God.

Why? Because "truly, no ransom avails for one's life, there is no price one can give to God for it. For the ransom of life is costly, and can never suffice that one should live on forever and never see the grave" (Psalm 49:7-9, NRSV). And that applies to us all, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:10, 12, 23).

Our partaking of-participating in-Christ's sacrifice makes possible our reconciliation to God, setting us on the road to eternal life. "... God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us . . . When we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, . . . through whom we have now received the reconciliation" (Romans 5:8, 10-11).

Our sins separated us from God, because through sin we lived hostile to God and His ways (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:10-12; 8:7). As sinners we had the death penalty hanging over us. We fell under that penalty for breaking God's law (Romans 3:9, 19-20).

But, because Jesus Christ's sacrifice paid the death penalty for our sins, God "passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate . . . His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (verses 24-26).

Except for Jesus Christ, no man or woman has ever lived without sinning. But notice these encouraging words in the Bible: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

We read that the wages of sin is death, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23, King James Version).

What must we do?

Does Jesus Christ's death, then, save us? Let's see what the Word of God-the Bible-says.

If Jesus paid the penalty for our sin by His crucifixion, what must we do to receive God's gift of eternal life? Notice Acts 2:38: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

Though "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8), His sacrifice does not redeem us from the death penalty until we have repented of breaking God's law, turned from sin and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Master. Then what happens?

Notice Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the [lusts of the] flesh, but according to the Spirit."

We no longer seek to go our own way, but are led by the Spirit of God (verses 2-16; 1 Corinthians 2:10-16), building our relationship with God and Christ through prayer and study of God's Word (Ephesians 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:15).

When we embark on this new way of life, following Christ's example as shown in the Bible, we are then saved by His life in us (Romans 5:10; Galatians 2:20). Gradually God begins to write His law of love (Romans 13:8-10) in our hearts and minds (Hebrews 10:16). We become transformed by taking on the thoughts of God (Romans 12:2; Philippians 2:5).

With the help of God's Spirit we can obey God's law, submit to Him and overcome sin. Sin is no longer in control over us. We become servants of God rather than the servants of sin (Romans 6:12-16). Keeping the Passover brings these great truths into sharp focus.

Will we follow Jesus' example?

Jesus Christ observed the Passover. The Bible makes this clear in many passages (Matthew 26:2, 17-19; Luke 2:41-42; 22:1, 7-20; John 2:13, 23; 13:1-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29). His words and actions at His last Passover provide us profound lessons about our relationships with Him and our fellow human beings.

"Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed" (Luke 22:7). According to God's instructions, a new day begins with the evening (Genesis 1:5), not at midnight.

Jesus Christ and His disciples assembled that evening in a large upper room. "And supper being ended . . . [Jesus] rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and took a towel . . . and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel ..." (John 13:2, 4-5).

Assuming the role of a servant, Jesus washed His disciples' feet and said to them: "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you . . . If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them" (John 13:14-15, 17).

Jesus carried out this humble act of service to show His disciples that His true followers must be led by a giving, serving attitude. He tells us all by implication to follow His example (see "A Lesson for All Time," p. E4).

On that same evening Jesus "took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is [or 'means,' James Moffatt Translation; i.e., 'represents'] My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me'" (Luke 22:19).

He also "took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. For this is [represents] My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins'" (Matthew 26:27-28).

A lasting memorial

The Bible makes it clear that all who will follow Christ should observe this New Testament Passover in remembrance of His love and sacrifice for our sins and as a reminder of our commitment to Him for what God has done in our lives (1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Luke 22:19; 14:21-24).

We are to avoid observing the Passover in an "unworthy" manner, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:26-27).

Many readers of this scripture have not comprehended the significance of Paul's warning. Some, incorrectly feeling they were not worthy of Christ's sacrifice, have elected not to take the Passover. Others have taken the Passover in attitudes ranging from casual to ritualistic to superstitious. Nothing is magical about the unleavened bread and the wine Jesus used; they were simply symbols to remind us of His sacrifice for our sin.

Self-examination necessary

We are to take the Passover in a worthy manner, but what exactly does that mean?

Paul warned, "But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup" (1 Corinthians 11:28).

In a later letter, Paul wrote: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5, KJV).

We are to examine our own hearts before we take the Passover symbols of bread and wine. We are to ask ourselves some searching questions about our intentions toward God and our fellow human beings. Do we show humility and service to others? Do we honor God in our everyday lives?

Just what should your attitude be toward the world, toward God and His laws and toward others? "Do not love the world or the things of the world," the apostle John wrote. "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever" (1 John 2:15-17).

As long as we live in "this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4, KJV), which is under Satan's influence (Ephesians 2:1-3), we will be tempted to break God's law. We are tempted through our own desires (James 1:14) to cheat, lie, boast, swear, gossip, hate, commit adultery and put other things before God (Matthew 5:27-28; Galatians 5:19-21).

Each of us, even though called, repentant and forgiven, will fall down and sin. But, as long as we are genuinely repentant, striving to overcome sin, "we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).

And, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). God forgives and accepts us, applying Jesus' sacrifice, as long as we allow God to lead us (Ephesians 2:8).

No one is worthy of Christ's sacrifice on his own merit. But that is not what Paul is discussing. Not taking the Passover is choosing to disregard Christ's instructions and example. Taking the Passover in an unworthy manner is choosing to take it with little or no respect for Christ's sacrifice, showing indifference to the importance of His death as payment for our sins.

"For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world" (1 Corinthians 11:29-32).

If we take the Passover while reverently respecting and appreciating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we not only won't be condemned, but we will be on our way to salvation.

Observing the Passover in its New Testament context, and obeying God's Word in respect to His Holy Days, gives understanding of God's great plan for humanity. We are to strive to obey God in all things (Matthew 4:4), a truth that is summed up in the two great commandments-love toward God and love toward our neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40). GN

TOPICS: General Discusssion; History; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: christ; christians; feasts; holy; passover
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To: topcat54
I think we would both agree that the early disciples were not keeping a biblical passover because they were not strictly following the code set forth in the old covenant.

Yup....the Christian Passover was what took the place of the old rituals and this is what Luke and Paul had been observing in [Acts 20:6]. Our Saviour instructed us in the proper observance by saying: "Do this in remembrance of Me" [Luke 22:19].

I'm sure that some of these disciples were doing so for purely traditions sake, but the practices died out within a few generations.

The canons of the church well into the fourth century disagree with your statement. Canon XXIX CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ. Canon XXXVII It is not lawful to receive portions sent from the feasts of Jews or heretics, nor to feast together with them. Canon XXXVIII IT is not lawful to receive unleavened bread from the Jews, nor to be partakers of their impiety.

These are Canons from the "Council of Laodicea" in 364 A.D.: here.

I guess the question would be......why are Christians celebrating the Days of Unleavened Bread and other Feast Days with the Jews more than three hundred years after the crucifixion? That's a long time to have not "gotten the word". Maybe these folks were off shoots of that radical sect of Polycrates who insisted on keeping Passover on the 14th as The Apostle John had instructed.....many years after the death and resurrection of Our Lord!

219 years ago they were framing the Constitution in Philadelphia. This gives you a sense of just how long three hundred years actually is.

But it also true that most of the groups that continued to push these old covenant practices, like the Ebionties, were heretical in much of their theology.

Why don't you show me from scripture where the Passover and other Feast Days were eliminated?

41 posted on 04/12/2008 4:55:48 PM PDT by Diego1618
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To: topcat54
The fact remains that biblical passover ended when the temple was destroyed and the Levitical priesthood came to a close, and we see nothing in the NT to suggest that the Church expected to continue keeping it as a religious ceremony.

Christ became the Temple wherein any who would and/or will abide in Him every day do not need a physical building. Christ became the forever and for all time blood sacrifice. At the moment of His death on the cross there was the miracle within the temple where the 'veil' was rent from top to bottom.... No place for a flesh priest to hide behind to offer up sacrifices any more.

42 posted on 04/12/2008 8:24:57 PM PDT by Just mythoughts (Isa.3:4 And I will give children to be their princes, and babes shall rule over them.)
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To: All
If you truly wish to do this in remembrance of Me you will celebrate the Passover as Yah'shua did.
Luke 22

15 And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, "Take this and share it among yourselves;

18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes."

19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying,
"This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."

20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying,
"This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
Yah'shua does not drink the fourth cup of Passover wine during the Last Passover

He will finish the Passover meal with us at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Revelation 22.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach Adonai

43 posted on 04/13/2008 11:57:45 AM PDT by Uri’el-2012 (you shall know that I, YHvH, your Savior, and your Redeemer, am the Elohim of Ya'aqob. Isaiah 60:16)
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To: Diego1618
Passover Patterns

Marks, bad and good

Revelation 13:16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,


The meaning behind the Magan David (also known as The Star of David)
Notice the same numbers, 13:16

Exodus 13:16 And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the LORD brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand."

What observance? Passover / Mazah

Exodus 13:9 This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the LORD is to be on your lips. For the LORD brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand. 10 You must keep this ordinance at the appointed time year after year.


When the Hebrews placed the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintel that formed the triangle pointing up. When Yeshua hung on the tree He formed the triangle pointing down. Both events occurred on Passover, the exodus from Egypt and the Crucifixion and this is why It’s mentioned twice in Exodus 13. As a matter of fact the dates between these two Passovers is encoded in Daniel.
(Christians need not look, they’ll not find it).

I have my Fathers mark because I observe Pesach / Matzah. Simple!

As always there’s lots more!


44 posted on 04/14/2008 12:21:14 PM PDT by Jeremiah Jr (What would John Lennon do?)
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To: XeniaSt
Passover this year begins at sunset on April 19, 2008 and continues until sunset Sunday April 20.

And Holy Pascha this year begins at midnight on April 26, 2008 and continues until sunset Sunday April 27.

45 posted on 04/19/2008 11:59:12 AM PDT by newberger
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