As the world around me prepares for the Easter holidays, I am preparing to keep the Passover. Strange? Not at all, if you really understand the significance of the Passover and recognise Jesus Christ as our Saviour.
I have been keeping the Passover service for well over 10 years now, but it has only been in the last few years that I have understood the amount of love in Christ’s sacrifice – since I became a mother. You see, if I think for a second of my child suffering in the way that Christ did, it breaks my heart. But perfect Christ did suffer, not for any punishment, but rather to bear the death penalty (of sin) for me, my family and all mankind throughout history. And, God the Father gave up His Son for us sinners. What a most amazing display of Agape love!
So what is the Passover? Jesus Christ met with His disciples shortly before His crucifixion at what most people call “the last supper”. At this time Christ explained the symbols of the bread and wine, and washed His disciples’ feet.
Christ instructs His disciples (and all believers) in Luke 22:14-20 to eat bread as a symbol of His broken body, and drink wine as a symbol of His blood. “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:17). I do this once a year at the Passover service to remember that my older brother Jesus Christ suffered terribly because He loves me and bore the death penalty for me, so I have the opportunity of eternal life in His Kingdom. (John 6:54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day).
I also, at this solemn service, wash another baptised lady’s feet. Sorry if that sounds really weird, but it is a very significant and important part of the Passover, especially since Jesus Christ gave us the example to follow.
You can read about the account of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet in John 13. He says clearly in verses 14-15 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you”. Why?? Well, for a start Jesus explains it in the following verses – v16-17 “Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Foot-washing is a humbling, serving action – symbolic of being “washed clean” – just like at my baptism, when I entered a new life in Christ, putting off the old woman and putting on the new – giving my life fully over to God. It is also symbolic that the foot-washing occurs just before we take the bread and the wine, because it is important to be spiritually cleansed through true humility and repentance, before we can genuinely come to Christ and have Him live in us (Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”.)
Every year before the Passover I look deeply inside myself for areas in my life where I have to overcome, repent of sins, change and grow spiritually. This is a time of self reflection and sometimes painful analysis to see my (many) weaknesses and faults and make the conscious effort to seek forgiveness and mercy, and then actively repent and change! It is vital to do this as scripture instructs me clearly in 1 Corinthians 11:27 “Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord”.
When the symbolism of the bread, wine and foot-washing that Jesus did as an example for me, you and everyone through time to follow annually is really understood, this is the most significant time of the year to be in awe of our loving brother Jesus Christ, who suffered for us, and of the awesome opportunity that I (and you) now have to know the Father through the Son and build a close, meaningful and everlasting relationship with HIm. It is not the manmade holiday of Easter with its pagan symbols of eggs, bunnies and hot-cross buns that reveals then meaning of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, but the biblical Passover that hold the meaning and gravity of that life changing event in history!
If you want to know more about this and God’s other Holy Days, here are a few useful links: