Passover is an important Jewish tradition and holiday. It commemorates how God made His angel of death pass over the Israelites in the book of Exodus, saved them from captivity, and reaffirmed His promise to His chosen people. Today, many Christians see the value in celebrating Passover for themselves.
Should Christians celebrate Passover? Yes, Christians should celebrate Passover and already do so through communion. Christians don’t have to celebrate Passover to be saved but celebrate it because it is a way to remember as a family and as the Body of Christ what Jesus has done for us.
Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.Exodus 12:17 NIV
What the Bible Says about Passover
During the 10 plagues in Exodus, God’s angel killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt so that the Israelites could go free and begin to follow God as He lead them to the promised land.
This foreshadowed the death of God’s Son, Jesus, as He not just passed over our sins, but took them on Himself and rose again so that we could have eternal life with Him.
The apostle Paul knows about the sacrifice Jesus made and addresses the Corinthians about the Passover and how not to submit to the guilt of the law anymore, but to celebrate in freedom with sincerity and truth.
Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch-as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.1 Corinthians 5:7-8 NIV
Now the Corinthian church was made up largely of Gentiles, who wouldn’t have known what the Passover was unless the Jewish believers and Paul had taught them about the ceremony before.
Since Paul writes as if they already know what he means by mentioning the festival, we can assume they had celebrated it before with Paul out of just that-festivity, not an obligation.
Paul is also mentioned in Acts 20:1-7 as he is keeping the festival of unleavened bread with the believers there.
We can gather from this that celebrating Passover is not only for the people of the Old Testament but for the people of the Net Testament and new covenant as well. That’s us.
Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples. This meal is commonly referred to the Last Supper. It was Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before He was betrayed, denied, and crucified.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ Go into the city to a certain man,’ he said, ‘and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with my disciples.’ So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.Matthew 26:17-19 CSB
Celebrate in Freedom
God doesn’t want us to feel like we have to do everything right and we certainly don’t have to follow every rule about Passover in the Old Testament.
Since we are under the New Covenant, where we are justified by faith, not works. We can celebrate Passover in freedom, not because we’re worried about doing the right thing or following the right formula.
know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.Galatians 2:16
We can honor God as we celebrate, and what better way to do that than to acknowledge Jesus Christ Himself and His sacrifice for us?
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 22:19-20 NIV
Communion is a common practice that the Body of Christ carries out together in remembrance of what Jesus accomplished for us. It is not a requirement of salvation, but instead an expression of our reverence and gratitude for God.
Jesus modeled for us what it looks like to take communion, and He did it with the people who were closest to Him.
Communion directly translates to community or fellowship. This is a beautiful picture of God’s desire to see us join together with Him and others in a relationship through the holidays and practices we keep.
This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord—a lasting ordinance.Exodus 12:14 NIV
After God had saved Moses and the Israelites from the Egyptians, God gives them specific commands on how to carry out the preparations for the Passover and how to keep it.
God says one thing will last forever: generations will celebrate Passover as a festival for the Lord and to bring him glory.
We are not to celebrate Passover like we are sometimes tempted to celebrate Christmas and Easter as if the only thing we look forward to is what presents we receive. No, Passover is for worshipping the Lord, remembering what He’s done, and keeping His ordinances.
Though we don’t have to keep to all the Old Testament laws because Jesus came to establish a new law of freedom, we can use that freedom to keep the festival of Passover and worship God.
After all, God is a good God who wants us to have fun as we celebrate. He’s not only in the serious parts of our lives, but He’s in the fun ones as well.
The Importance of Passover
Christians should celebrate Passover because the Bible is clear on its importance of using celebration as a way to remember God’s goodness and praise Him for it, especially for Jesus’ sacrifice for us.
Ultimately, Jesus did it for love so that we could all celebrate together in heaven.
“When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
In heaven, we will all celebrate Passover and commemorate Jesus’ sacrifice together. That should be the hope for our families and churches as we celebrate Passover now, remembering the faithfulness, graciousness, love, and sacrifice of God.