Each year I join millions of Christians preparing to celebrate Easter by participating in a 40-day fast called Lent. This year I began to wonder how Jesus celebrated The Passover and how that corresponds to Easter. There is a connection between Passover and Easter and knowing it can help enhance our preparation and celebration and deepen the time of fasting!
Many Questions About Passover and Easter
In short, Jesus celebrated The Passover while Easter celebrates Jesus as the final unblemished Passover Lamb.
This will not be a post on the history of Easter, but there are several around that are amazing.
Instead, what has my mind turning are the similarities between The Passover and Easter, understanding what is Passover, what is Easter, how Passover and Good Friday relate and finally seeing Jesus in the Passover.
Did Jesus Celebrate Passover?
We see several accounts in scripture that show Jesus celebrated the Passover but I love the account in Luke 22. Through it, we will examine the relationship between Passover and Easter.
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people.” (Luke 22:1-2 NASB)
Yes, Jesus celebrated Passover and this is the text that shows His final Passover. God timed this perfectly so the people wouldn’t miss the symbolism of Jesus Christ as the Perfect Lamb of God.
What Preparation Was Required for Passover?
Not only was Jesus in the habit of celebrating Passover week, He knew well how much preparation had to go into the meal, the house, and the ceremony.
“Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.” They said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?”
And He said to them, “When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters.
We’ll talk about more details including how they handled leaven later on.Passover was a time to remember a specific captivity and salvation while Easter is a time to remember a larger captivity and salvation. Humanity is in slavery to sin. Through trials and hardship, God, through Jesus Christ… Click To Tweet
Does God Care About Details?
If you ever wondered if God cares about the details of your life, look no further than this odd reference.
A man. Getting water. In the middle of the day.
Tradition would have had it be a woman in the cool of the day. Why the mystery and intrigue around the location of the disciples’ Passover?
Remember Judas is among them and is seeking an opportunity to turn Jesus over. Jesus knew that and made sure it was no sooner than God’s perfect time and plan.
He made plans to celebrate this Passover with His disciples. Jesus, God in flesh, cared about the details!
If you ever are tempted to doubt that you should pray or bring small things to God, remember that God cares!
Jesus Is Always Right
Knowing the connection between Passover and Easter can help enhance our preparation and celebration! Jesus knew and made the way at the last supper! Click To Tweet
And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’
And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.” And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.”
Was The Last Supper the Last Passover or the First Easter?
“When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
I love this promise: we will celebrate Passover together in Heaven with a deeper fuller meaning one day!
And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.”
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.”
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.” (Luke 22:1-2, 7-13, 14-20 NASB)
Understanding: What is Passover?
Jesus celebrated The Passover Feast as did most Jews. The meal was completely different from other feasts in the Jewish culture. Certain dishes were prepared, and certain bitter herbs were used. Each dish and cup used throughout this meal was symbolic. Even the way they sat or reclined at the table was symbolic.
What is Passover? Passover was a time to remember Israels’ time of slavery in Egypt. Through trials and hardship, God won their freedom for a time.
In the Passover feast or Seder, the youngest person in the room asks questions to let the story be retold and explained – so it would be a tradition passed down to the next generation.
Many Similarities Between Passover and Easter
Passover was a time to remember a specific captivity and salvation while Easter is a time to remember a larger captivity and salvation.
Humanity is in slavery to sin. Through trials and hardship, God, through Jesus Christ purchased/won our freedom/salvation for all time.
Jesus’ last words – about the bread and wine representing His body and blood which were about to be sacrificed – give us the transition from Passover to Easter.
That was to be the final Passover as Jesus fulfilled all the promises and prophesies related to salvation that very day on the cross at Calvary. That is the real meaning of Easter!
Preparing Your Heart and Home for Easter
The Jews went to great lengths to prepare for The Passover and resulting fast of leaven.
“For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord.
Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders.
You shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt.
Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.” (Exodus 13:6-10 NASB)
Related: 10 Powerful Books On Fasting
A Fast from Leaven and Unclean Things for Passover and Easter
In preparation for The Passover week, the Jewish people went about the task of a deep Spring cleaning. Why? Leaven goes everywhere.
Imagine baking in the kitchen. You pour your ingredients in the bowl, mixing the wet then adding the dry (including the flour with yeast in it). As you mix a thin layer of dust rises from the bowl. By the time you are done mixing it has risen and fallen several feet all around.
By the time you get to clean up the mess, you have lost track of all the flour. It’s on the counter, around the floor, clinging to the cabinet above you, in nooks and crannies. Most of us don’t worry about getting it out of everywhere.
God made a big deal about cleaning out the old leaven. So much so that the people of Israel involved everyone in the task of cleaning out any old leaven in the house. While the women cleaned in one part of the house, the men hid leavened bread and took the kids on a scavenger hunt through the house to find it all. Shining a light on any they missed and making sure to sweep even the crumbs left behind.
Why Did God Care about Leaven?
We know that God cares more about the condition of our hearts than sacrifice or religious rituals (Hosea 6:6). So it’s no surprise that God was teaching Israel something that went deeper than bread and yeast.
To celebrate The Passover, Israel had to be clean. The care they took of their house was symbolic of the need to be physically and spiritually clean.
They would have been practicing a time of fasting from anything unclean, sanctifying themselves to come before God in this time of remembrance.
The Leaven of the Heart is Sin
We see the importance of leaven clearly in the New Testament. God calls us to spend time examining our heart as well, to clean out the leaven.
“Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened.
For Christ, our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Corinthians 5:6b-8 NASB)
Seeing Jesus in The Passover and Easter
Is there any hidden sin in your heart? Just as the Israelites needed to be clean before celebrating the Passover, we should clean our hearts before celebrating Easter.
What are the unclean things hidden in your heart? Often I am not sure. Sin creeps in unobserved while I am busy. While I am busy I rarely stop to examine my heart.
We can learn from the practice of the Jews preparing for Passover. We see Jesus in Passover as God will gladly be the loving Father shining His light all around the house of our heart to reveal the hidden sin.
Bitterness in marriage
Resentment in parenting
A Time of Fasting Prepare Your Heart for Easter
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate Easter this year we should take time to examine our hearts through the light of God.
Once God reveals sin, what do we do? Just as the Jews observed a fast it would benefit us to fast in preparation for Easter.
Set aside intentional time to meet with God each day, humble yourself to ask Him to reveal areas He wants to cleanse and change. These are things that can enhance your experience this Easter.
A time of fasting – drawing nearer to God with a humble heart – is a great Spiritual discipline. It gets you in the right head-space and heart attitude to honor God. ~A Beginners Guide to Pray and Fast: Taking Spiritual Warfare to the Next Level by Tiffany Montgomery
As we come together to remember and celebrate we can come with clean hearts ready to worship the God who saved us from captivity to sin for all of eternity.
Fasting is not complicated
We’ve discussed in the past how fasting doesn’t have to be a whole day or several days without food.
It could be without a certain type of food – like the Jews who abstained from yeasty bread for a week. It could also be a time without social media or a certain television show or anything else that you seek satisfaction from.
Through the 40-day Fast of lent Christians often give up red meat one day a week, or sweets for the month.
Don’t over-complicate fasting. Just decide what to set aside to be more intentional in prayer as we prepare for Easter.
A Challenge To Use Passover and Easter Knowledge to Grow This Year
I want to challenge you to examine your heart today. What would honor God through this time and in this season? What you will fast from? Set your mind to seek God about cleaning your heart from any leaven or hidden sin.
Remember leaven is tricky. It floats up and settles in all kinds of unexpected places. It blends in making it difficult to get out of nooks and crannies.
Sin is the same way. It creeps in unnoticed. Blends into areas that look holy to our human eyes. Spend that time asking Him to search you as Psalm 139:23-24 instructs.
Then wiped down every surface. Sweep out the house. Give your heart and soul a good deep Spring clean this month. Then when you come together to celebrate Easter you will be ready.
If you enjoyed this post you will like these:
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