A Celebration of Redemption
by Aly Gideons
March 26, 2024
Categories - Timeless Truths
Topics - redemption

The children of Israel were ready to leave. Their bellies were full, their shoes were on, and their bags were packed. This night was different from all other nights. God was about to deliver them from slavery in Egypt. This first Passover night was a shadow of what was to come. God was setting the stage for His plan of redemption.

Every year, the Israelites continued to celebrate the feasts that God had commanded. These feasts were part of the law and corresponded with the seasons. Each one was established so that they might remember God’s faithfulness and respond in worship. When the Israelites celebrated Passover, they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah. The Lord had kept His promises before; He would keep His promise to send the chosen One.

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
Exodus 12:26-27

As Christians, we have the joy of living under the New Covenant. The question remains: Are Christians required to celebrate Passover? The answer to that question is no. We are no longer under the law but under grace. We are free in Christ. However, if we stop there, we are surely missing out on something wonderful. This holiday is not a command for us to follow, but it is an opportunity for us to embrace.

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
Romans 14:5-6

Passover is a humbling story full of pain and sacrifice. On that first Passover, cries of anguish filled the night as parents held the lifeless bodies of their firstborns. Thousands of years later, God sent His firstborn to be the sacrificial Lamb. The sky was dark, and the earth shook, as God kept His promise and poured His wrath on Jesus. It is tempting for us to rush past the pain that proceeds the deliverance. But Christ’s suffering leads us to worship just as His ultimate victory leads us to praise. Without the cross, there would not have been a resurrection. Without Passover, there would be no Easter.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Travel back in time to the last supper. Christ and His disciples were in the upper room observing Passover. They sang hymns and celebrated the deliverance of God’s people. The disciples were woefully unaware of the significance of the moment. Everything changed as Christ instituted the Lord’s table and made a new covenant with His people. Jesus proclaimed that the wine was His blood, and the bread was His body. This Passover feast was different, for Christ was preparing Himself to be slaughtered. He was the final Lamb. This new covenant did not erase the significance of the law or previous Passovers, rather, it fulfilled the plan of substitutionary atonement that God had ordained from the beginning. In our churches, the Lord’s table is often reduced to a trite ceremony with little to no emotion or significance. We drink the juice and eat the bread in a ritualistic manner. Could this, in part, be due to our ignorance of the connection between the Passover and communion? If we do not understand the true meaning of Passover, how can we understand the true meaning of this New Covenant? Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. This is the gospel, and this is the true meaning of Passover.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isaiah 53:4-7

Over the past two thousand years, many things have changed. As a result of the council of Nicaea and calendar differences, our holidays are not what they once were. In fact, this year, Passover and Easter are a month apart! It is no wonder that so many of us are missing the connection. These two holidays were always meant to be celebrated together. Another area of confusion has been the traditions of the seder. In our modern context, we have assumed that the seder is essential to Passover, however, the ceremonial seder did not appear until the tenth century AD when the first Haggadah was published. The three main components of Passover have always been: the lamb, the unleavened bread, and the bitter herbs. The other traditions of the seder are beautiful, but they are not essential. We could spend much time arguing over the repercussions of the decisions made by different religious groups, but the real tragedy is that Passover has become an obscure and ancient feast to modern day Christians.

We each have our own traditions and ways of celebrating the death and resurrection of our Savior. It is wonderful that we are free in Christ and do not have to follow a checklist. Can I encourage you to make time to celebrate Passover this year? You may choose to do hours of research and plan an elaborate, traditional seder. You may prefer to read the Passover story to your children over dinner one night. God sees your heart of worship. The important thing is to remember and proclaim all that God has done! The Creator of the universe made a way for salvation. Jesus offered Himself as the forever Passover Lamb. He has paid the price that we might be free, and, someday, we will be with Him in the New Jerusalem. Now that is something to celebrate!

Note from Selah International —

We are excited to share with you a wonderful Passover resource that Aly Gideons has created for your family. While Easter and Passover are over a month apart this year, they dovetail to create a glorious celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection, the final and beautiful fulfillment of the sacrificial, life-giving lamb.

This simple guide will help you carry out your own Passover celebration and seder meal in your home. The enclosed coloring pages, designed by Toni Phillips, allow even the youngest family members to be engaged and involved. Follow this link to access the Passover celebration resource: https://selahinternational.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/passover-celebration.pdf

Aly Gideons

Aly Gideons

Aly Gideons lives in Columbia, South Carolina with her husband, Colton, and their two girls, Audrey and Annie. Colton is currently on staff at Grace Baptist Church and Aly works from home and writes for LifeWay Kids. Together, they are passionate about knowing Christ and making Him known to others. Colton and Aly have always desired to go into international missions, and the Lord has given them a burden for the country of Spain. They plan to start deputation in 2025 and hope to be in Spain by 2026. If you would like to follow their journey to Spain, you can find them at www.thegideons.org.

*Special Note of Gratitude: This article would not have been possible without the insights and teaching of Miss Jacki Powell. She is an expert in Hebrew and teaches every year on the Jewish feasts. Jacki is the founder and director of Light for Israel. Her mission is to get the Scriptures into the hands of the Jewish people. To learn more about her ministry, visit lightforisrael.org.

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