I want to discuss the relevance of celebrating Passover (pesach) and, more importantly, how the Passover all points to Jesus. There is plenty of direct symbolism and in-depth meaning behind this Jewish celebration. It is important for Jewish people in this generation and in Biblical times to keep the Passover. Exodus 12:11 says, “It is the Passover of the Lord.” It’s no wonder God told Moses in Exodus 12:24, “You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children.”
Jesus the Christ explained to his disciples that his Passover with them in Jerusalem would be the last one that he would celebrate with them. The Messiah expounds on it for them in Mark 14:25: “Truly I tell you I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom.”
Where do we possibly begin to link the Passover to Jesus? First, God lays out His application for Moses and the Israelites, telling them when to have the Passover. This pattern can be found in Exodus 12:2. “This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.” This means that the Hebrew date of Passover falls on the 14th of Nisan, which in the Gregorian calendar is the month of April. It is important to note that God, and not Moses, commanded the detailed regulations in how to pick the Passover lamb and when to kill it and how to prepare it.
Jewish law regulated picking a lamb out for your family to sacrifice. Since you could not take home just any lamb, the Priest had to thoroughly inspect it for any kind of blot or blemish. Exodus 12:5: “Your lamb shall be without blemish.” In order for the Messiah to meet these criteria, He himself must pass this biblical command of Exodus 12:5, having no blot or blemish. For us to start connecting Exodus 12:5 to Jesus, we should proceed to 1 Peter 1:19. “But with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish.” Here we really begin to start understanding who Jesus is from the Passover.
Our next progression will be the exact timing of when to kill the Passover lamb, and what the bible has to say about this, and how to correlate it with Christ’s death. “You shall keep it until the 14th day of this month, then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight,”
Exodus 12:6. As this important festival came slowly together, on April 14th the entire assembly of Israel congregated around the sacrificial lamb to be killed.
While the entire assembly of Israel were to have been gathered that night for the Passover lamb, the same is true about Jesus, having a congregation of His own around Him. “The kings of the earth took their stand and the rulers have gathered together against the Lord and against His Messiah. For in this city in fact both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus,” Acts 4:26-27.
When the time came for all Israel to congregate around the Passover (pesach) lamb, God commanded a special, yet divine, designated area for the actual Passover to take place. “You are not permitted to offer the Passover sacrifice within any of your towns that the Lord your God is giving you. But at the place that the Lord your God will choose as a dwelling for His name, only there shall you offer the Passover sacrifice, in the evening at sunset, the time of day when you departed from Egypt,” Deuteronomy 16:5-6.
Under Jewish law, the Passover lamb was not to be killed inside the city and if it did occur by ignorance of the law or by not adhering to what God had said then the system would be invalid. This prophecy is brought forth into fruition with the Messiah being brought out of the city of Jerusalem. Hebrews 13:11-12 sheds light for us to understand the sacrifice aspect of the Passover. “For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also suffered outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by His own blood.”