My husband and I are planning a Passover meal for our Bible group. Do you
have an outline of the Passover meal and the coorelations between it and
Jesus’ life?


I have a friend who is an expert on this. He is Phillip Lester. His e-
mail is He did a Passover seder for us a couple of
years ago. It was really great. I do have a bit of a piece on the
Passover. See below for an article on the types and foreshadows in the

John Oakes

THE PASSOVER (pesach)[1][1]

The Passover (pesach in Hebrew) was a one-day feast instituted by God in
order that the Jews would remember the “passing over” of the destroying
angel, when the firstborn of every household in Egyptwas killed. This was
the last of the plagues which God brought on Egyptso that Pharaoh would
let God?s people go out into the desert to worship him. Remember from
chapter one that the entire event of leaving Egypt, passing through the
Seaof Reedsand entering the wilderness is a foreshadow of those under the
New Covenant leaving their life of sin and entering into a saved
relationship with God after baptism. God established the Passover because
he never wanted the Jews to forget that it was only by his miraculous
power that they were saved, both from slavery and from the destroying

To this very day, Jews hold the Passover to be their second most
significant feast, after yom kippur, the Day of Atonement. Every Jewish
family, even some of the least religiously observant, celebrates a
Passover meal in their homes very similar to the one instituted by God in
Exodus chapter twelve. Very precise directions were given by God in
Exodus for how the Passover meal was to be celebrated. Every single
detail of this meal has deep significance for those who are saved by the
blood of Jesus. We will see that God intended the Passover meal all along
to be a reminder, not just for the Jews, but for Christians.

The historical record of the Passover is found in Exodus chapters eleven
through thirteen. God had already brought nine unnatural disasters,
commonly known as “plagues” on Egyptin order to convince Pharaoh to let
his people go out into the desert to worship him. After some of the
plagues, Pharoah had repented and agreed to let the Jews go out to
worship, only to change his mind and harden his heart when he thought
about the implications of letting them free, even for a short time. God
told Moses “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After
that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you
out completely.” (Exodus 11:1). So Moses shared with the people what God
had told him; “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn
son in Egyptwill die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the
throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill,
and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.” (Exodus 11:4,5). Since the
Jews themselves were slaves, this would presumably include the firstborn
sons of every Jewish family. Most of the previous nine plagues had
affected both Jew and Egyptian.

God provided his people with a way to avoid this disastrous plague. Each
family was to take a year old male lamb “without defect,” slaughter it at
twilight and put some of the blood of that sacrifice on the sides and tops
of the wooden doorframes on their homes. God promised that if they would
perform this sacrifice, he would “pass over” their houses when he came to
destroy the first born in Egypt. The families were to eat the slaughtered
lamb that night. Prophetically, God told them not to break any of the
bones of the lamb they slaughtered (Exodus 12:46). They were also
instructed to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs with their Passover
meal. God told them to eat the meal in haste, “with your cloak tucked
into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand.”
(Exodus 12:11).

What God had told Moses is exactly what happened. On that same night, the
LORDstruck down the firstborn sons throughout Egypt, right up to Pharaoh?s
house, except for those whose houses were marked with the blood of the
Passover lamb. Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron into his palace and ordered
them to leave into the desert to worship Jehovah. Unlike in his previous
similar orders, he told them to go with their herds and belongings. The
Jews went on their way laden with many valuable gifts from their Egyptian
neighbors–eager to see them go. The Jews left is such haste that they
were unable to leaven their bread. The rest of the story of the Exodus
has already been described in chapter one. The people escaped from
slavery in Egypt, symbolic of those under the New Covenant escaping from
slavery to sin. They were only able to escape by passing through the
waters of the Red Sea, as they were baptized into Moses.

At the same time that God performed the Passover miracle, he also
instructed his people to perform a ritual Passover meal every year from
that day forward as a reminder of how he freed them from their

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come, you
shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD–a lasting ordinance. ”
(Exodus 12:14).

“When you enter the land that the LORDwill give you as he promised,
observe this ceremony. And when you children ask you, ?What does this
ceremony mean to you?? tell them, ?It is the Passover sacrifice to the
LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egyptand spared our
homes when he struck down the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:25-27).

If there ever was a command God gave to the Jews which they have followed
religiously, it is the command to celebrate the Passover meal annually.

Every year, Jewish families perform a ritual cleansing of all yeast from
their house before celebrating the Passover. On the night of the Passover
meal, known as the “Seder,” the extended family gathers together to share
the meal of lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The lamb is eaten to
remember the sacrifice and the escape from destruction. The unleavened
bread is to remember the haste of their escape from slavery. The bitter
herbs are eaten to remind them of the bitterness of enslavement under
Pharaoh. Traditionally, the patriarch of the family reads from set
passages in Exodus. Before the readings it is traditional to choose a
young boy from the family to ask four questions. One of these is “What
does this mean?” (Exodus 13:4), after which, the whole group is taught
about the meaning of the Passover. The other three questions are, “Why is
this night different from all other nights?” “Why on this night do we only
eat unleavened bread?” and “Why eat bitter herbs?” Traditionally, three
pieces of unleavened bread are used. The third piece of bread is broken,
hidden away, only to be recovered and distributed to all later.
Additionally, three cups of wine are shared. For the Jews, the third cup,
shared at the end of the supper, is known as the cup of redemption.

Every single detail of this feast serves as a wonderful foreshadowing of
salvation in Jesus Christ. To quote from Phillip Lester[3][3], “The
essence of the Passover is that of the Lord?s Supper. It is all about
remembering where we have come, the bitterness of our enslavement (to
sin), and the price of our deliverance by the blood of the Lamb.” The
Passover of the Jews is a type, while theLord?s Supper is the antitype.
In fact, it would probably be more accurate to call the meal on the night
Jesus was betrayed the Last Seder, rather than the Last Supper. This
truly was
the last Passover meal before the Passover was replaced by its
New Testament antitype–The Lord?s Supper (Not that there is anything
wrong with a Christian celebrating a Seder meal). This is exactly what
Jesus meant as he shared the Last Supper with his closest friends;

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to
be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying “Go and make
preparations for us to eat the Passover?.

When the hour had come, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And
he said unto them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you
before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds
fulfillment in the kingdomof God.” (Luke 22:7,8,14-16).

It this passage, Jesus is telling the disciples that the next Passover
celebration would be in the form of its New Covenant antitype?the Lord?s
Supper. One is reminded one more time of Jesus? claim that he did not
come to bring the law to an end but to bring it to fulfillment in the New

Consider some of the type/antitype relationships between the Passover and
the Lord?s Supper. As mentioned in the introduction to this chapter,
when God made the Passover to be a type of the Lord?s Supper he was not
being subtle, given that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper on the night of
the Passover meal. In the Passover meal, an innocent lamb is sacrificed.
The Lord?s Supper commemorates the death of Jesus who, “was led like a
lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he
did not open his mouth.” The Passover lamb had to be without physical
defect. The antitype to the lamb, Jesus Christ was without spiritual
defect. He never sinned.

The original Passover lambs were killed to save people who were under a
death sentence, as the death angel was to pass through Egyptthat night.
The Lord?s Supper commemorates Jesus? death for a people who were under a
spiritual death sentence. “But because of his great love for us, God, who
is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in
transgressions?it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4,5).
The Passover lamb?s sacrificial blood was sprinkled on the wooden
cross-beam over the Israelite?s doors. When they did this, the Jews had
no idea whatever that they were prefiguratively acting out the blood of
Jesus, “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” (John 1:29)
which was to be shed on a cross-beam fourteen centuries later. Because of
the blood of the Passover lamb, God “passed over” the houses of the Jews.
Because of the blood of the Lamb of God, “slain from the creation of the
world,” God will pass over the sin in our own personal house?our lives.

The five type/antitype parallels already mentioned are only the
beginning. God commanded the Jews not to break any of the bones of the
Passover lamb. “Do not break any of the bones.” (Exodus 12:46). How did
the Jews interpret this seemingly obscure command? What did God have in
mind? The command to not break any of the bones of the Passover lamb is a
prophecy of the antitype to the Passover lamb, Jesus Christ. It is
reminiscent of the messianic prophecy in Psalms 22:17, “I can count all my
bones.” Jesus was crucified along with two thieves. Jesus died first of
the three, most likely because of the extremely rough treatment he
received even before being crucified. Because the crucifixion happened on
the same day as the Passover meal, the Jews wanted the bodies taken down
from the cross before sunset. When they made this request, the Roman
soldiers broke the bones of the two thieves crucified along with Jesus.
They did this because it was common knowledge that once the condemned
person?s legs were broken, they could no longer push themselves up to get
a breath. They therefore expired within just a few minutes. When the
soldiers came to Jesus, they did not break his legs because he had already
died. All this is recorded in John 19:31-33. Thus was fulfilled the
prophecy, dutifully acted out every year, when the Jews carefully avoided
breaking any of the bones of the Passover lamb.

The Jews had to flee Egyptso quickly that they were not even able to
leaven their bread. Jesus expects those who follow him to flee from
their life of spiritual slavery in sin without even looking back (Luke
9:62). Whatever we are currently doing, Jesus expects us to drop our nets
there and then and follow him when we hear the call (Mark 1:17,18). Of
course, both the Passover meal and the Lord?s Supper include the eating of
unleavened bread. In the Lord?s Supper the unleavened bread is meant to
symbolize the body of Jesus whose life was without leaven. We have
already seen in chapter six that leaven is a symbol of sin. Before the
Passover meal, Jews go through a traditional searching of the house to
remove any possible leaven from their homes. Similarly, God expects us
before we even take the Lord?s Supper to look at our own personal
spiritual house in order to deal with spiritual leaven we will inevitably
find there;

A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of
the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:28).

Don?t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of
dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without
yeast?as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been
sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival. (1 Corinthians 5:7,8).

Here, the imagery of the Passover meal and the Lord?s Supper is intimately
intertwined. Note that the Lord?s Supper is both a reminder of the
already accomplished fact of being without sin and a call to walk away
from current sin in our lives.

As part of the Passover meal, God commanded the eating of bitter herbs.
This was to remind the Jews of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. One
would think that the Jews would never forget how terrible it was to be in
bondage. One would be wrong. While wandering in the wilderness, the Jews
soon forgot the horrors of slavery and longed to return to Egypt(Numbers
20:5,6). This is why God gave them the Passover as a remembrance, not
only of the amazing miracle of their release from bondage, but also as a
reminder of the bitterness of slavery. What a great foreshadow for those
under the New Covenant who celebrate the Lord?s Supper. One would think
that it would be easy for a disciple of Jesus to remember how amazingly
better their life is under the Good Shepherd Jesus Christ who gives life
and life to the full (paraphrasing John 10:10,11). Again, one would be
very wrong. Christians need to remember on a regular basis how truly
bitter life under slavery to sin was. The ritual reminder of the Passover
and the Lord?s Supper both let God?s people remember the bitterness of

Although it is not commanded in the Pentateuch, the Jews have an ancient
tradition of sharing three loaves of bread and three cups of wine. The
third piece of unleavened bread is broken into pieces and the pieces are
hidden around the house. After the meal, the family searches the house,
recovering the pieces and sharing them together. Little do most of them
know that they are acting out a foreshadow of the bodily resurrection of
Jesus in this interesting part of the Passover meal. The traditional
third cup of wine is drunk after the meal. The Jews recognize this as the
cup of redemption. This third cup is the one Jesus took on the night he
was sacrificed as a Passover lamb. “After supper he took the cup, saying,
?This is the new covenant in my blood??.” If only the Jews who shared
this third cup had any idea how prophetic the cu
p of redemption was to
become when Jesus shared it with his apostles the night before he gave a
sacrifice for redemption of the whole world.

There are three themes in this chapter. Two of these are the themes of
the entire book. One of these is that entire Old Testament is about Jesus
Christ. The second is that the abundant and intricate foreshadowings in
the Old Testament prove beyond a doubt that the Bible is inspired by God.
The additional theme in this chapter is that God wants and even expects
those who come to him to take time to make a regular habit of remembering
what he has done in their lives. In both the Passover and the Lord?s
Supper, God is calling Christians to remember the death of the sacrificial
lamb Jesus Christ and the miracle of salvation which it works in the lives
of those who put their faith in the blood of the Passover lamb. Perhaps
Christian parents would do well to institute their own ceremony similar to
the four questions asked by Jewish children. Ritual remembering is
valuable to all disciples of Jesus. This truth applies even more so to
their children. In order to bring home the parallel message of the Lord?s
Supper and the Passover, one helpful idea would be for a Christian family
or a group of disciples of Jesus to celebrate a Passover Seder together.
What might make this even better would be to invite a Jewish Christian to
take part. The point is that in these two ceremonies God is telling us
that we need to be reminded of the bitterness of slavery and the wonderful
salvation wrought by the blood of the Passover lamb.

Comments are closed.