UPDATE for 2017: Passover starts sundown Monday, April 10th this year. The Feast of Unleavened Bread then continues through to the sundown on the 17th.
Did you know that Jesus is referred to as the Passover Lamb?
Are you aware that Jesus was participating in the Passover feast the night before he was crucified?
Have you ever considered that the Exodus story isn’t just a historical account, but is also an allegory of our life and walk as a Christian?
If you don’t know or have not thought about any of the answers to these questions, you are not alone. Many Christians don’t really know what Passover and Unleavened Bread are and what their significance is to a believer in Christ today.
Passover, which starts sundown April 10th this year, is not only a historical Biblical feast, but is also a pointer towards Christ, and is a reminder of who He is and what He has done.
Unleavened Bread starts sundown April 11th and lasts for 7 days. Unleavened Bread is a great time to learn more about how the story of the Exodus is relevant for Christians today.
The Allegory of The Exodus Story
Many years after Joseph is taken into captivity to Egypt, eventually reunited with his family, and lives and dies as a favorite of the Egyptian Pharaoh, we find his descendants in a very different place. They are now slaves of Pharaoh and Egypt. They are hated and unwanted in the land. They are in bondage, miserably treated, and they are crying out to God.
And God hears them.
Is this not like us before Christ? We are in bondage, slaves to our sin, slaves to the world and culture around us, slaves to our flesh – and we cry out to God.
And God hears us.
Back in that time, God gives them Moses and the promise that He will set the Israelites free. Here and now, we have been given Jesus and His promise is that if we follow Him, we will be free.
So then we find the Israelites have been freed and God is leading them away from Egypt and away from their bondage. But oh, how they struggle! They don’t trust, they complain, and when they don’t like what God is doing, they wine to GO BACK TO EGYPT!
How many of us, after having chosen to follow Jesus and we face a trial or something we don’t yet understand, turn and start whining to go back to our old life and the stuff that had us in bondage? Some of us call this “wanting to go back to Egypt.” We want to return to what we know, because the unknown scares us and our faith fails us. We certainly see how the Egyptians did this again and again in the desert as we read the Exodus account.
How Our Community Celebrates Passover and Unleavened Bread
This year, our community will break up into its small groups, will meet together in a home or facility depending on the size of the group, and we will share a modified Passover Seder together followed by a potluck meal. When I say modified, I mean that we include discussion of and pointers to Christ / Messiah throughout the Seder (vs the “traditional Jewish” Seder), as many of the elements like the bitter herbs and the wine end up showing us to do. The Passover, although a very real remembrance for Israel, was also to be a foreshadow of Christ to come.
And now that He has come, we can see how it all points to Him!
There will also be a time for worship, prayer and fellowship with each other. Passover is a very reverent time, but it is also a Feast, so we do enjoy lots of great appetizers, desserts and many variations of lamb dishes.
As for Unleavened Bread, before sundown on the day after Passover, we rid our homes of all leaven. This is mostly going to be breads, but there are a few other foods that may contain it also. As we do this, we should be examining out hearts, to remove the “leaven” from it – all the things that we do, say, act, and think that are not good for us and contrary to what God has set before us. It is not good to just remove physical leaven and forget the spiritual!
We then will not eat any unleavened bread for 7 days, and as families, we will read through the Exodus story and reflect what it means for us this year. Each year I do this, I see something different in the story that correlates with my life and walk at the time.
For Further Study For the Family
If you and your family would like to explore the Biblical Holidays together, I recommend A Family Guide To the Biblical Holidays. It includes recipes, stories, printables and much more:
Amazon: A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
Amazon: A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our messiah in the Festivals
There are also some great recipe books for the practical side of the Passover and Unleavened Bread: