The Passover symbolizes deliverance. To the Jews, it is deliverance from Egypt. But to Christians, it is deliverance found in Jesus Christ.
The Passover is symbolic not only of the Exodus, but also of what Jesus has done for us.
2. The Passover meal is called the “Seder” (pronounced Say-dur).
It comes from the Hebrew word meaning “order”. It has followed a precise ceremonial layout for thousands of years.
3.The Last Supper is symbolic.
The Seder/ Last Supper was (and is today) organized around four cups of wine. Why do you think the disciples had a hard time staying awake in the garden? It was late – the Seder can take hours – and they had consumed a lot of wine.
The four cups of wine represent the four “I will” statements from Exodus 6:6-7.
Those four statements are:
“I will bring you out”
“I will rescue you from bondage”
“I will redeem you”
“I will take you as my people”.
Jesus was about to do all these things with his death and resurrection!
After the first cup of wine the leader (which would have been Jesus) recites a prayer called “The Kiddush”.
It is a blessing to God, which ends with “Blessed art Thou O Lord our God… who has preserved us, and has enabled us to reach this season”.
4. There is a “Washing of the Hands” part of the meal. This is when Jesus would have washed the disciples feet.
Immediately knowing this makes that act seem much less random, doesn’t it?
It never made sense to me Jesus would just randomly decide to wash some nasty feet, and no one would think it was odd.
What Jesus did was a variance of this part of the Seder.
The Hand washing was an act of purification for the meal. When Jesus washed the disciples feet, he was showing them he would be the one to purify them from sin.
5. Unleavened Bread is wrapped in linen and hidden away in the house to be found later.
Remember, Leaven represents sin. (Click here to learn more).
They took “sinless” bread, wrapped it in linen, and found it later. Jesus, the sinless Bread of Life, was once wrapped in linen to be seen again as well…
6. Jesus handed Judas bread dipped in “bitterness”.
At a specific point in the meal, horseradish is put between bite-sized pieces of unleavened bread. It is dipped in an apple mixture and eaten. This is a reminder of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. This is the part of the meal when this happened:
…Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” (John 13:21-27)
At the most bitter part of the meal, Jesus had to acknowledge Judas’ bitterness, and what he was about to do.
7. The third cup of wine will sound familiar to you.
It is called the Cup of Redemption. Luke 22:20 says, 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.
This is called the cup after supper because this was the cup of wine after the lamb, the main part of the meal.
Our modern “communion” comes from here.
8. Jesus refused to drink the forth cup of wine.
The fourth cup is called The Cup of Acceptance. It corresponds with the Exodus statement we talked about earlier, “I will take you as my people”.
Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 26:29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
Jesus knew the time of his acceptance as the Son of God was yet to be realized. He was about to die and make it possible for us to be with him in “His Father’s kingdom” forever.
9. After the meal they quoted scripture.
The Bible tells us “they sang a hymn and departed”. It wasn’t random songs, but certain Psalms. Traditionally, it is Psalm 115-118. Here are some excerpts of what Jesus would have said RIGHT BEFORE he went into the garden.
The cords of death entangle me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Psalm 116:3
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:13-14
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord… Psalm 118:22-26
To learn more about the Passover, check out the book, “The Feasts of The Lord” by Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal, Thomas Nelson Publishers. It was a great resource for this blog.