By Abe Sandler, a C&MA national evangelist
Most Jewish people, who will celebrate Passover April 10–18, do not observe or find relevant the Gospel accounts of Palm Sunday, Good Friday, or Easter. But do they have a part in the Passover story? Let’s find out by examining the various elements of a seder meal.
In Jesus’ time, the Passover lamb was selected on the 10th of the Jewish month of Nisan, which was the first month of the year, and sacrificed on the 14th day of the month, at twilight. Jesus, or Yeshua, is our Passover Lamb. Yeshua entered Jerusalem on the 10th of the month on what we call Palm Sunday. He was condemned to death and was crucified on the 14th of the month, known as Good Friday.
The veil into the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom as soon as Yeshua died. It was 3 p.m.; the Passover lamb was being sacrificed at the Temple at that very moment. First Corinthians 5:7 says, “. . . For indeed Christ, Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us” (NKJV).
Exodus 12:5 instructed that the Passover lamb was to be an unblemished, perfect, one-year-old male. First Peter 1:18–19 says, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Messiah, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Yeshua was without sin just as the Passover lamb was unblemished.
The lamb was to be roasted whole and eaten. All that was left of the lamb was to be burned with fire and reduced to ashes, a burnt offering all for God. The blood of the lamb saved them; its body strengthened and sustained them on the journey.
We need to feed on the Lamb of God, Yeshua, daily for our strength until He returns.
The shankbone of a lamb represents the Passover lamb. The lamb was killed, and its blood poured into a basin. When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, to save their first-born sons, they placed the basin at the doorway of the house, dipped a branch of hyssop into it, and brushed the blood on the two doorposts and on the lintel at the top.
What do you see when this is practiced? You see a cross. This pointed to the cross where Yeshua would die for our sins 1,500 years later.
During Passover, Jewish people are to eat unleavened bread, or Matzah, for seven days. According to Jewish law, it must be made with no leaven and with stripes, bruises, and piercings.
The lack of leaven indicates that Yeshua was sinless. The correlation between the Matzah and Yeshua is apparent as His hands were pierced; He was bruised for our iniquities, and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:3).
The Three Matzot
Three Matzot are placed in one Matzah holder with three separate compartments. This represents the unity of God in the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The middle Matzah is taken out of the holder and broken in half. The smaller half is put back, and the larger half, called the Afikoman (which means “dessert”) is wrapped in a white linen cloth, which is then hidden or buried, and is brought out—or resurrected—later on in the meal. What a picture of what our Messiah Yeshua did for us!
The Afikoman is the last thing eaten during the seder.
Yeshua took Matzah and broke it at the Last Supper, a Passover seder. He said, “This is my body broken for you.” Then He took the cup and said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19, 20).
The Four Cups
Four cups of wine are drunk during the seder. The four meanings of the cups are found in Exodus 6:6–8.
- Cup of Deliverance (Savior): “I will deliver you from their bondage” (Exodus 6:6). The children of Israel could not get free from Egypt on their own, and they could not save themselves. God sent Moses to be their “deliverer.” It is the Lord who bought them out and saved them.
- Cup of Sanctification (Sanctifier): “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” (Exodus 6:6).
- Cup of Redemption (Healer): “I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments” (Exodus 6:6).
- Cup of Restoration (Coming King): “I will take you to me for a people” (Exodus 6:7, 8).
The Passover story celebrates that Yeshua is our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. Hallelujah!
Illustrations courtesy of Deborah A. Schermerhorn