Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples and turned the Old Covenant feast into the prophetic sign of the New Covenant we call the Last Supper, the Lord’s Supper, Communion, Breaking Bread or Eucharist.
God instituted the annual Passover feast to commemorate the His pass over the Israelites the night He delivered them from Egyptian slavery. God had mercy on the Israelites and delivered them with the pass over. After 430 years of slavery in Egypt (Ex 14:30), God’s people Israel had multiplied to such an extent that they became a threat to the Egyptians (Ex 1:8-10). At their exodus from Egypt, the males of Israel numbered 603,550 from twenty years old and upward (Num 1:45-46). The total Israelite population was about 2 1/2 million people. This was getting close to the same number as the Egyptian population. So they set taskmasters over them to make their lives bitter with hard bondage (Ex 1:14). The went so far as to command the midwives to kill newborn sons at birth (Ex 1:15-22).
The First Passover
Warning the Pharaoh of the 10th plague.
And Moses said, “‘Thus saith Jehovah, ‘About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: and all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill; and all the first-born of cattle. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there hath not been, nor shall be any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that Jehovah doth make a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.‘” Exodus 11:4-8
God instructed Moses how to prepare His people with the first Passover Supper. We will look at these instructions for the Feast of Passover because they contain many signs of Jesus’ Last Supper, crucifixion and deliverance from sin, death and the power of the devil for all who believe in Jesus as the Son of God.
And Jehovah spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers houses, a lamb for a household: and if the household be too little for a lamb, then shall he and his neighbor next unto his house take one according to the number of the souls; according to every man’s eating ye shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old: ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at even. And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two side-posts and on the lintel, upon the houses wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roast with fire; its head with its legs and with the inwards thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it: with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is Jehovah’s passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am Jehovah. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. Exodus 12:1-13
On the night the Passover, just as God had Moses warn them, the firstborn in Egypt were killed as God said (Ex 12:29-30). The Egyptian population at the time was more than 3,000,000. If only 1/5 were killed, that meant 600,000 Egyptians died that night.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Feast of Unleavened Bread was annexed to Passover for that week (Ex 12:14-20). No leaven was to be found in their houses for seven days. Thus Matzo (flat unleavened bread) was or is eaten.
And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever Exodus 12:17
Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples and turned the Old Covenant feast into the prophetic sign of the New Covenant.
Messiah Jesus came to deliver us from the tyranny of darkness (Col 1:13). The ordinances commanded for the Passover supper point to Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for our sins and to how we should then live. Jesus revealed that the Old Covenant was passing away for the glorious New Covenant (2 Cor 3:7-18). The significance of the ordinances is shown frequently in the New Testament.
- Christ is our Passover. 1 Cor 5:7
- Christ is the Lamb of God. Jn. 1:29
- Christ was the Lamb was to be without blemish. 1 Peter 1:18-19
- Christ was the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Heb 9:22-28
- No bone was to be broken. Jn 19:33, 36
- Blood must be sprinkled. We must receive the atonement. Rom. 5:11
- Blood was sprinkled upon the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. Blood was to be sprinkled upon the lintel and the sideposts, but not upon the threshold, which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. Heb 10:29
- If the blood of Christ be sprinkled upon our consciences, it will be our protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell. Ro 8:1
- The paschal lamb was killed, not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon; so we must by faith make Christ ours, as we do that which we eat, and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, and have delight and satisfaction in him, as we have in eating and drinking when we are hungry or thirsty. Jn 6:53–55.
- The lamb was to be eaten immediately, not deferred till morning. Today Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death.
- The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt. We must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin; this will give an admirable relish to the paschal lamb. Christ will be sweet to us if sin be bitter.
- The lamb was to be eaten in a departing posture. When we feed upon Christ by faith we must absolutely forsake the rule and dominion of sin, shake off Pharaoh’s yoke; and we must sit loose to the world, and every thing in it, forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain. Heb 13:13-14
- The feast of unleavened bread indicates our sincerity and truth. “Purge out the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, even as ye are unleavened. For our Passover also hath been sacrificed, even Christ: wherefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Cor. 5:7-8
- We should carefully teach our children the meaning of Passover. Ex 12:26-27 Those who are careful to ask for the way will find it. Christ himself, when a child, heard and asked questions. Lu. 2:46
- No stranger that was uncircumcised might be admitted to eat of it. Nor shall any partake of the benefit of Christ’s sacrifice, or feast upon it, who are not first circumcised in heart. Col 2:11
Excerpts edited from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
The Last Supper, the Lord’s Supper, Communion, Breaking Bread, Eucharist
Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-23; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it; and he gave to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took a cup, and gave thanks, and gave to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many unto remission of sins. But I say unto you, I shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. Matthew 26:26-29
And this is the message which we have heard from him and announce unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-10
All quoted Scripture is from ASV