If you ask a general Christian how to receive eternal life, you might hear several different answers. They might say, “You must do good deeds” or, “You must love your neighbor.” These answers are definitely not wrong when it comes to living a faithful and religious life. However, if we want to receive eternal life the Bible gives us a clear answer. By studying Jesus’ teachings we will find that the way to receive eternal life is through the Passover.
Origin of the Passover
Most of the time, when the Passover is mentioned people automatically think about Judaism. This is because the Passover originated at the time of the Exodus when God Jehovah was leading Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt. It was right before God sent the last plague upon Egypt that He commanded the Israelites to keep the Passover.
Ex. 12:11-14 “This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover…The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. 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.”
By obeying God’s command of keeping the Passover the Israelites were protected from the plague and ultimately were freed from slavery in Egypt. What is important to note is that God described the Passover not as the “Jew’s Passover” but as the “Lord’s Passover.” This is why not only do we see the Passover as a teaching for the Jews in the Old Testament but even as a teaching for Christians in the New Testament.
Mt. 26:17-19 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says…’I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
Jesus, who is God, directed His disciples to keep the Passover. This means that both the Old and New Testament show God leading his people to celebrate the Passover. The Passover is not only for the Jews but for Christians who want to follow Jesus’ teachings.
Blessings Contained In the Passover
At the time of the Exodus the Israelites were able to receive protection from the plague when they kept the Passover. However, the Passover that Jesus taught in the New Testament contains more blessings than in the Old Testament. The reason why Jesus wants us to keep the Passover is because it sets us free from sin and death.
Jn. 6:53-54 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
We, who are sinners, are destined to die because of our sin (Ro 6:23). However, Jesus opened up the way for us to escape death and enter eternal life by eating His flesh and drinking his blood. Through Jesus saying “unless” He let us know that eternal life and His flesh and blood are inseparable. By the use of the word “unless”, Jesus emphasized that we cannot receive eternal life any other way. Let us see how we can receive Christ’s flesh and blood.
Lk 22:7-8, 19-20 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”…And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”
It was the night of the Passover when Jesus called the bread His body and the wine His blood. There is no other scene or celebration in the Bible where Jesus likens His flesh and blood to anything else, except the Passover. This is because the way to eat His flesh and blood is by keeping the Passover of the New Covenant. Therefore, God leading us to celebrate the Passover in this age is His earnest love to save us from sin and death. Let us keep God’s Passover which He has granted us and receive eternal life.