The Significance of Passover in Easter: A reflection of the New and Old Testaments

Many years ago I read a fictional book series that consisted of 7 books. I remember telling a friend after I finished the series that it amazed me how the author connected seemingly inconspicuous details from the first book to major events in the last book. Did the author know the whole story while they were writing the first book? It was really thought provoking to think of the creativity and ingenuity this author held.

Now, in 2023, I have been reading the Bible from cover to cover for several years now. Even more so than when I read the fictional series years ago, I am in awe of how details from the Old Testament reflect major events in the New Testament. Unlike when I wondered if the author of the fictional story series knew the whole story when they wrote the first book, I know for certain that my God actually did. Every day I am in awe of God’s creativity and ingenuity. Wow, the greatest Author there ever was!

Today I am sharing one of the ways God connects the events of the Old Testament to the New Testament, and even to our lives today. I hope you will follow me as I volley back and forth from the Old Testament to the New Testament as I talk about how Passover from the Old Testament and the resurrection of our Messiah are a reflection of one another. Easter is coming, and if we are to truly understand the magnitude, we must also understand the Passover Lamb.

To begin, we need to go back to the very first Passover in the Old Testament book of Exodus. There we find Moses, with the help of his brother Aaron, asking Pharaoh (most likely Ramses II) to let the Israelites go so that they may worship God. Each time Pharaoh refuses or changes his mind, God brings a plague upon Egypt. Finally, we get to the last plague, in which God says that the firstborn of all living creatures, people and animals, will die. But before doing so, God gives the Israelites instructions to follow so that God would ‘pass over’ them when the first born were struck down. In these instructions, God was very specific about actions the Israelites were to take, what they were to wear, and what they were to eat. We’ll come back to some of those specific instructions in a minute.

Next, we jump forward to the New Testament. In Matthew 26, we read that Jesus and His disciples were preparing for the Passover. In fact, this Passover meal is what we now refer to as “the last supper.” Matthew 26:17-18 says, “Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?’ And He said, Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, The Teacher says, ‘My time is near; I am keeping the Passover at your house with my disciples.'”

Now, let’s go back to Exodus chapter 12 and take a look at some of God’s specific instructions to the Israelites while they were preparing for the last plague to fall upon Egypt:

  • During the last plague, every firstborn child and animal was to die. (Exodus 11:4-5)
  • God told the Israelites that each household was to select a perfect, unblemished, one-year-old lamb.
  • They were instructed to slaughter it at twilight, as darkness fell.
  • The Israelites were instructed to roast the lamb and eat it in its entirety. Nothing was to remain in the morning.
  • They were also instructed to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
  • Using a bunch from a hyssop plant, they were to apply the blood to their two doorposts and lintel.
  • The blood was a sign for God to pass over them. This blood was their protection.

What does all of this have to do with Easter? To understand that we need to jump back to the New Testament. There we can see:

  • During the events of Easter, God’s one and only Son was to die. (John 3:16, Romans 8:32)
  • Jesus was observing the Passover the night before his crucifixion. (Matthew 26:18, Mark 14:14, Luke 22:11)
  • Jesus is the perfect, unblemished Lamb of God. (John 1:36, John 3:5, 2 Cor. 5:21, Hebrews 4:15)
  • During the Passover meal, Jesus used unleavened bread to signify His Body. (Matthew 26:26)
  • During the Passover meal, Jesus used wine to represent His Blood. (Matthew 26:27-28)
  • We know we are saved from our sin by the blood of Christ. Christ’s blood is our protection. (Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 1:19)
  • Using a branch from a hyssop plant, they put bitter wine on Jesus’ mouth. (John 19:29)
  • When Jesus died darkness (twilight) fell. (Luke 23:44-45)
  • Just as the Passover lamb was not to remain in the morning, Jesus did not remain in the tomb until morning. (Matthew 28:6, Luke 24:6, Mark 16:6)

When we understand how Passover and Easter are related, we can comprehend the significance. The Author of this world knew when he was instructing the Israelites to observe Passover that he would one day send his Son as the perfect Passover Lamb. His blood not only covers our lintels, but our lives and our souls.

In closing I would like to share how our family chooses to recognize the significance of Passover in Easter. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I feel strongly about creating family holiday traditions that follow events on the Bible and thereby teach the actual Bible events to future generations. (This is why our Protestant family observes Epiphany to teach about the true story of the events of the Wisemen.) On the Thursday before Easter, typically known as Maundy Thursday, our family will have communion at our dinner table before we eat. We’ll use Passover Matzo crackers as our communion bread and grape juice. We’ll read the New Testament where Jesus uses these to represent his body and blood. We’ll also read in the Old Testament of the Passover, because Jesus is the final, perfect Passover Lamb. It doesn’t always, but the first day of Passover actually falls on Maundy Thursday this year. I hope your family will join us in celebrating the life, death, and resurrection of our Savior. If you have time to stuff and hide Easter eggs, maybe you can find the time for this as well. 🙂

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