Some claim that there is no need to keep the Passover because it belongs to the Old Testament law. They say that all laws were abolished after the Crucifixion. This means that Jesus abolished the Passover before He suffered on the cross. Did Jesus really say that we do not need to celebrate the Passover? First, let’s take a look at the record of the Passover in the Bible.
About 3,500 years ago, the people of Israel, who had been in slavery for 430 years, had a critical chance to be freed from Egypt. That was the ‘Passover.’ Immediately before they came out of Egypt, God commanded them to keep the Passover by observing the following rules and regulations (Exodus 12:1-14; 43-46):
- 1. It must be kept on the evening of the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar,
- by eating the roasted lamb and taking some of the blood and putting it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses,
- after being circumcised.
This was the rules of the Passover of the Old Testament. When they kept the Passover by following the words of God, they received His blessings. How about in the time of the New Testament?
For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival … (1 Corinthians 5:7-8: NIV)
For our Passover Festival is ready, now that Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us celebrate our Passover… (1 Corinthians 5:7-8: GNT)
According to the prophecy of the Old Testament, Jesus became the reality of the Passover lamb and shed His blood on the cross. And like the Passover lamb, the legs of Jesus were not broken:
The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. (John 19:32-33)
Jesus, the reality of the Passover lamb and God Incarnate, gave us a new promise (New Testament) on the day of the Passover before He suffered on the cross.
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed… And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer… And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you…” (Luke 22:7-20)
In the time of the old promise (Old Testament) which had gone away, the people of Israel ate a lamb on the Passover. However, we should keep the Passover by eating and drinking the flesh and blood of Jesus, the reality of the Passover lamb, since He made a new promise. In the time of the Old Testament, it’s allowed to eat the Passover lamb after being circumcised. Then, how about in the time of the New Testament?
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12)
In this age, we must be baptized to participate in the blessings of the Passover. The rules and regulations of the Passover of the New Testament are as follows:
- It must be kept on the evening of the 14th day of the first month of the sacred calendar,
- by eating and drinking the Passover bread and wine, which stands for the flesh and blood of Jesus,
- after being baptized.
The very day Jesus ate the last supper with his disciples before He was crucified on the cross was the Passover. On that day, He gave them a new promise while eating the Passover. And the disciples participated in the Lord’s Supper by keeping the Passover even after the Crucifixion (1 Corinthians 11:23-26.)
The Passover was not abolished after the Crucifixion. We should keep it in accordance with the promise and the rules Jesus made newly. By taking part in the Lord’s Supper held on the Passover by eating and drinking the Passover bread and wine representing Jesus’ flesh and blood, we can have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.