The New Testament Passover

Dear Brethren,

For us, the Lord's Passover is the most important and solemn Feast of the year.  Without the sacrifice of Jesus Christ there is no forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus is the Lamb of God which takes away all our sins.  As the True Passover Lamb, He shed His blood to deliver us from the penalty of our sins and gave us eternal life.  "The next day John [the baptist] saw Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world."  (John 1:29)

Why is it that every year, Christians are commanded by Jesus, as a salvational requirement, to observe the Passover?  "[Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19)  In keeping the Passover each year, we renew the vow of our baptismal covenant.  "Jesus said unto them, Truly, truly, I say unto you, Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoso eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."  (John 6:53-54)

When we participate in the Passover service, we express our faith in Christ's death on our behalf, and renew our commitment to allow Jesus to live His life in us.  Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you...At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."  (John 14:18,20)

The Footwashing and Passover are central to our relationship with God.  The Footwashing shows a number of pictures beyond the obvious washing of dirty feet, including the example of humility, personal service to one another, and more.  During the first New Testament Passover, the disciples did not fully understand the meaning of the Footwashing.  "So after He [Jesus] had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Do you know what I have done to you?"  (John 13:12)

It would only be after they had received God's Holy Spirit that the apostles would understand the importance of the yearly Footwashing.  Jesus made the Footwashing a requirement for our salvation.  "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet... Happy are you if you do them."  (John 13:14,17)

Because we have all sinned throughout the year, the Footwashing is a yearly renewal and rededication of our bapismal covenant and washing of regeneration.  At the disciples' baptism, all their sins were washed away.  (John 4:2)  When Peter suggested that Jesus wash him all over, Jesus told Peter, "Only your feet need to be washed."  "Jesus saith to [Peter], He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and you are clean, but not all."  (John 13:10)

"For He [Jesus]  knew who should betray him; therefore said He, You are not all clean."  (John 13:11)  Besides the obvious reference to Judas Iscariot not being clean because of the betrayal - there was another, more important, meaning.  In the same way that the disciples feet had become soiled as they walked to the Passover supper, we too, become soiled by sin after our initial cleansing that took place at our baptism.

How can a converted Christian be justified of his subsequent sins, after baptism, and remain in the grace of God?  The Footwashing is the answer.  It is the renewal of the grace of God in continuation of the cleansing and forgiveness that began with our baptism.  "...According to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit; Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."  (Titus 3:5-7)

This incredible process of being able to remain justified demands that we take the Passover in a worthy manner.  A key part of our Passover preparation is to examine ourselves --- our attitudes and actions over the past year.  Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.   But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup."
  (1Co 11:27-28)

What do we look for in examining ourselves?  What questions do we ask ourselves?  We need to ask ourselves how God sees us? And what do we need to be doing to grow spiritually?   It is of the utmost importance that our evaluation of ourselves matches God's evaluation of us.  We welcome and desire His involvement in our lives.

"Search me, O God, and know my heart: examine me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." Psalms (139:23-24)  "Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart."  (Psalms 26:2)  "Thou hast examined mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress."  (Psalms 17:3)


Sermon: "Discerning the Lord's Body"
Sermon: "The Old Testament Passover"
Sermon: "The New Testament Passover"

Also see "Passover"