Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

“This day shall be for you a Memorial Day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.” Exodus 12:14

The question in the title is one of the four questions traditionally asked by the youngest child during a Passover Seder. The answer is in the biblical quote. It is to commemorate the deliverance the LORD GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob brought to the Jewish people through His servant Moses by bringing them out of Egyptian captivity where they were slaves into the Promised Land.

The Jewish people were brought out of slavery so that they could freely worship God. In Hebraic teaching worship means to live according to God’s ways; to honor God with one’s life and not to be bound up in idolatry. Exodus 20: 1-3 says, “God spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.'” It took Israel many years to learn this, as it does us! If we are honest with ourselves it is something we are, or should be, continually learning and applying in our lives.

Regrettably, we often have short-term and long-term memory loss when it comes to God’s instructions and ways. This is why the LORD tells us to remember! Passover is the LORD’s Feast. It is not exclusively a “Jewish” Feast. Passover was celebrated by Jesus, His disciples and the early Church. Jesus’ “Last Supper” when he instituted communion was a Passover meal. Jesus suffered, died, was buried and rose again during the week of Passover, also known as the days of Unleavened Bread. The Apostle Paul instructed the Church to keep it. (see 1 Corinthians 5:7-8)

Sadly, the practice of commemorating Passover fell out of practice in the Church. The push to create a separate non-Jewish celebration of Jesus death, burial and resurrection began as early as the second century. In 325 it became official at the First Council of Nicaea which established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon following the March equinox. Hence this year (2024) “Easter” was on March 31, while Passover which follows the biblical calendar begins at sundown on April 22. 

Passover is a remembrance of God’s deliverance in the past AND it points to what Jesus accomplished for us! As a Passover lamb had to be perfect and unblemished and it’s blood put over the doorposts of homes so that the death angel would pass over and not kill the firstborn, so Jesus is the perfect lamb without sin. He laid down His life and shed His blood for the remission of our sins so that we can have eternal life and are saved from eternal punishment and separation from God.

Should Christians commemorate Passover? Search the Scriptures and ask the LORD about it. Read Leviticus 23 about all the Feasts of the LORD and the story of Passover in Exodus Chapters 5 – 17, especially Chapter 12! Read Luke 22:7-20 to see Jesus celebrating Passover and instituting communion. He instructed His disciples to “do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19) Do you see the parallels?

How should we commemorate Passover? A Passover Seder is certainly beautiful and instructive. However, the Seder (which means “order”) is something that developed as instructed by the Rabbis over many years and is traditional. Many of the elements, especially the matzah and wine point us to Jesus. May the LORD show you how to commemorate Passover in your home. It could be as simple as reading the story of Passover, how Jesus celebrated it and having communion with unleavened (matzah) bread. It could be by having a Seder meal and going through a Passover Celebration for Believers in Jesus like the one here which includes prayers for Israel at the end. Please also pray for the revelation of Jesus to come to many Jewish people as they have their seders and this year especially pray for the release of the hostages still held by Hamas.

Passover has been celebrated for about 3500 years by Jewish people. It is a remembrance of God’s deliverance and a feast that gives them hope that God remembers His promises to His people which He does! Gentiles who believe in Jesus are grafted into the commonwealth of Israel according to Ephesians 2:11-13 so why not join in?

Chag Pesach Sameach – Happy Passover Holiday!

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry which also offers online christian bible studies and online bible reading plans. Betsy has been traveling to Israel on a regular basis since 2005. She leads prayer and ministry trips as well as tours there. She can be reached via the Women of the Word website.