Happy Passover and Easter season! I look forward to this time of year when we observe Passover, which is a foreshadowing of the most defining moment in human history—the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.
The two holidays are forever linked in much the same way as the Old and New Testaments are joined in one great story of God’s love and redemption. Yet, the historical distinctions between them are at the core of the religious self-understanding of so many Jewish people and Christians.
It is thought that Passover is for the Jews and Easter is for the Christians. However, in the Bible and in the mind and heart of God, I believe they are twin sisters of the same redemptive truth. The cross only makes sense in the shadow of the blood-smeared doors of the Israelite slaves in Egypt.
How I pray that my Jewish family and friends might one day recognize the continuity of this one great story and its fulfillment in the Messiah of Israel—Jesus. Passover and Easter are like bookends holding together a narrative of faith that spans thousands of years, dozens of authors, and Spirit-breathed texts (2 Timothy 3:16).
Yet, it is still one grand story of God’s love and creation, of man’s fall and spiritual wanderings, and of the prophetic hope exquisitely fulfilled when the Savior spoke these words at His last Passover supper with His disciples.
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 22:19-20)
In order to help this season be all the more meaningful to you, I have some really good news!
Our staff has produced a 350-plus-page book entitled, Messiah in the Passover. It is a reference book and there is something in this volume for everyone! It includes an in-depth study of the Passover throughout biblical history, church history, and Jewish history—all of which leads to a deeper understanding of the Passover today and how the Jewish people celebrate this remembrance of the redemption from Egypt.
We also cover some very practical topics, such as how to use the Passover in sharing the Gospel with your Jewish friends and linking the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, with the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus announced His death and resurrection through the traditional elements of the Passover meal.
We provide a Jesus-centered Hagaddah, or guide, to a family Passover that you can use in your own home and also provide Passover lessons for your children so that they can better grasp this great Old Testament story.
And, we included a number of delicious recipes so you can enjoy many of the traditional Passover foods yourself!
The book is now available for pre-order. We are also happy to send you a copy of the book for your donation of $200 or more. As you know, we depend upon God and your generous support to continue our ministry of reaching the Jewish people with the message of redemption.
We have also developed a new website entitled—you guessed it…Messiah in the Passover. So please visit www.messiahinthepassover.com to enjoy a bundle of wonderful features including Passover “how to” videos and some additional detailed studies that will enable you to learn more about the Jewish heritage of our faith.
Please remember to pray for Your Mission to the Jewish People this month as we share the message of Messiah in the Passover with thousands of Jewish people, both online through our Facebook campaigns, and in person through our Messiah in the Passover presentations at churches, and banquets at our centers and Messianic congregations. Find out more by visiting our website and find a presentation near you.
Passover, Prophecy, and Jesus
Allow me to share with you the following excerpt from my chapter written on the Passover in the Gospel of John from the Messiah in the Passover book:
Often referred to as His Passion, this last week is the most eventful of Jesus’ short life. Certainly, it is the most significant from a human perspective, as it includes His death and resurrection—the penultimate moment of human history.
His final week, according to John, also includes various teachings, which are unique to this Gospel [of John] such as His Upper Room Discourse, teaching on the Holy Spirit, High Priestly Prayer, etc.
The last week of Jesus’ life is also significant because many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled during this week, especially those involving His atoning death and resurrection.
The agenda, goals, and purposes of His last week are outlined in both the Old and New Testaments and driven by the necessity for Jesus to fulfill all that is predicted about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, as well as His own predictions in the Gospels.
In particular, three Old Testament passages heavily influence the agenda of the Messiah’s last week on earth: Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24–26, and Leviticus 23. These texts create a path for what Yeshua would do and when He would do it.
- Isaiah 53—The prediction of the Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection, along with Israel’s response to His message.
- Daniel 9:24–26—The prediction of the Messiah’s death as detailed in the prophecy of the seventy weeks.
- Leviticus 23—The pattern of the Messiah’s passion as revealed through the Passover, which will especially influence the last week of Jesus’ life.
The Jewish festivals found in Leviticus 23 appear to be prophetic types and in one way or another are fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus (we view the first four “spring” festivals as fulfilled in His first coming and the three additional “fall” festivals as fulfilled in His second coming).
Additional Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10 also help to paint a prophetic portrait of our Messiah’s last days on earth. As the Apostle Peter writes,
As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. (1 Peter 1:10–11)
There is no doubt that the Savior of the world was born to die in order to fulfill many direct prophecies and types. Especially that of the Lamb of God, which is a direct comparison to the Passover lamb whose blood was smeared on the doorposts of the Israelite homes to protect their firstborn males from the tenth plague of the Exodus story.
The Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, describes Jesus as “the Lamb who has been slain” (Revelation 13:8). The Apostle Peter adds that we,
. . .were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold,…but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. (1 Peter 1:18–20)
The predicted role of Jesus as the suffering and sacrificial Lamb of God who will die for sin and rise from the grave is not peripheral to the plan of God, but rather is at the very heart of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. Isaiah had already used the prophetic imagery of the Passover lamb in his well-known chapter 53.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
This last week of the Savior’s life would conclude with the Passover!
I hope you will be blessed and enriched and that the Messiah of the Passover will be more precious to you than ever before!