The Old Testament is replete with prophecies of the coming Messiah… prophecies that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled. A powerful example of this is the Passover.
Passover – The Back Story
The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt for 400 years when God chose Moses to lead them out of captivity. But getting out of Egypt wasn’t going to be easy. Despite God inflicting many plagues on the Epyptians, Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he refused to let the Israelites go.
It was the tenth plague that finally did it. God declared that he would kill every firstborn son if Pharaoh did not change his mind. God provided a special means of protection for His people, the Israelites, from that terrifying tenth plague.
In Exodus 12, God commanded the Israelites in great detail how to mark themselves as His, so that the angel of death would pass over their homes and not kill their firstborn sons. Before this passing over even happened, God also commanded them to observe a memorial Passover feast annually.
In the first Passover, as well as in traditions that have developed in the annual observance of the Passover feast, there is clear prophecy and symbolism foreshadowing the death and resurrection of Christ.
Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
The Israelites were required to choose one unblemished yearling lamb per household. After sacrificing the lamb, they spread its blood on the doorposts and lintel of their homes, signifying a covering of protection from death. Jesus Christ, who was without sin, was the unblemished lamb slain on our behalf. It is His blood on the doorposts of our hearts that provides a covering from eternal death. (Exodus 12:5, Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:13, 1 Corinthians 5:7, 1 John 1:7)
The lambs’ bones were not to be broken. Nor were Jesus’ bones broken when He was slain (Exodus 12:46, John 19:33).
Passover – The Feast
Jesus Himself celebrated a Passover meal the night before His crucifixion, telling His disciples “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15)
And he took bread, and when he had 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 likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. Luke 22:19-20
Even in the modern Passover Seder meal, celebrated by Jews around the world, there remains symbolism that points to Jesus Christ. If you’d like to explore more, these sites detail the Messianic significance of the Passover Seder:
Christ in the Passover from Jewish Roots
How the Passover Reveals Jesus Christ from Evidence for God
Messiah in the Passover from Remnant.net
He Who is Coming – the Hidden Afikomen from Hebrew Streams (fascinating discussion of the Messianic meaning behind the still-practiced tradition of hiding a broken matzoh at the Seder meal)
For an engrossing, contemporary look at Passover, read through these letters from a Messianic Jew living in modern day Israel.
Our printable Passover Prophecies Fulfilled by Jesus details a few of the ways Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection embodied the ultimate Passover.
Is there a Messianic prophecy that speaks especially to your heart?
Have you ever experienced a Passover Seder meal? Did you notice any Messianic symbolism?
Share in the comments.