The celebration of Passover is in remembrance of the time in Israel’s history when the Lord moved through Egypt destroying the firstborn of all people and animals (see Exodus 11 and 12.) This was the final of the ten plagues God visited upon Egypt designed to force Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave the country and their captivity. The Israelites were commanded by God to take the blood of a male lamb—one without blemish—and smear it on the doorposts of their houses. When the Lord saw the blood, He would “pass over” that house. This is a foreshadowing of the spotless Lamb of God, Jesus, whose blood would cover the sins of those who believe in Him, causing God’s judgment to pass over them. Ever since that night, Jews have celebrated the Passover in remembrance of God’s grace to them.
There has been an explosion of interest in adapting the Passover festival to Christianity. Various organizations, such as Jews for Jesus, have long promoted Christian Passover services as a means for Messianic Jews to retain their cultural heritage while professing their Christian faith. They have also used the Christian Passover as a means to communicate to Christians the Jewish religious heritage that they value. Many of the rituals associated with the Passover Seder have application to the Christian faith, and a Christian celebration of the Passover provides a unique way to bring the story of salvation to the ceremony.
Whether or not a Christian celebrates Passover would be a matter of conscience for the individual Christian. Like all the Old Testament Jewish Feasts, the Passover Feast was a foreshadowing of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Colossians 2:16-17 tells us that we should “let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ” (NKJV). Christians are no longer bound to observe the Passover feast the way the Old Testament Jews were, but they should not look down upon another believer who does or does not observe the Passover or other special Jewish days and feasts (Romans 14:5).
While it is not required for Christians to celebrate the Passover, it is beneficial to study it and could be beneficial to celebrate it if it leads to a greater understanding and appreciation for Christ’s death and resurrection. The Passover is a wonderful picture of Christ’s atonement for His people and His deliverance of us from the bondage of sin. That is something we should celebrate every day of our lives.