Jesus’ final journey to Jerusalem was not primarily to celebrate The Passover, but to become our Passover. The New Testament very clearly connects the crucifixion of Jesus to the Passover. Jesus is the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Cor 5:7). The sacrifice of this Lamb atones for sin (1 John 2:2), sanctifies (Heb 10:12-14), and purifies (Rev 7:14). Like the Passover lamb: he was a male, none of his bones were broken (Ex 12:46; John 19:36), he was examined and found spotless (Ex 12:5; 1 Pet 2:22), and was God’s perfect provision for his judgment (Ex 12:12-13; 1 Cor 15:3). As Peter wrote, we are redeemed, “not with perishable things like silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Pet 1:18-19)”
Even the Passover meal itself points to the Messiah. The lighting of the Passover candles at Seder service reminds us of the Light of the world (Jn. 8:12). The unleavened matzah reminds us of the one who proclaimed, “I am the bread of life” (Jn. 6:48). The ritual washing emphasizes God’s promise to “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). The wine served at the Seder echoes the blood of Jesus shed for the sins of the world (Eph. 1:7).
To an Israelite, the Passover is inextricably linked with the Exodus, their liberation from Egyptian bondage. Imagine, after centuries of slavery, the sense of redemption and new life. It is no wonder this meal so profoundly shapes the Israelite’s identity. It serves as a means to remember the Lord’s gracious deliverance, but also to renew their future Messianic hope. For Christians, the Lord’s Supper is likewise an opportunity to remember and renew. We look back in thankfulness to our redemption in Christ, the beginning of our new life; but also forward to the fullness of our consummation in Christ when his Church’s exodus is perfectly complete!