For Christians, Passover is a time of a heightened awareness and spiritual communion. The Last Supper, which was a farewell feast for Jesus and His disciples, has become a meal of remembrance that is practiced in essentially all of Christianity, especially during Easter.
By: Harald Almås
John the Baptist said to his disciples regarding Jesus: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”.
Jesus and his twelve disciples lived in poor conditions, and journeyed together every Passover to Jerusalem to celebrate this solemn occasion. One of the rituals that was part of this celebration was to kill and eat the Passover lamb with bread, radishes (pungent herbs), and probably other vegetables and side-dishes. We can read in the four gospels how Jesus and His disciples prepared and practiced this final Passover.
The old testament`s Passover means departure, and is a feast of remembrance about the dramatic departure of the Israelites from a life of slavery in Egypt. This was the Passover Jesus celebrated growing up as a little boy.
For Christians, the Jewish patriarch Joseph – who gave food to starving people, and saved all of Egypt from famine – is a representation of Jesus Christ. The Israelites` exodus from slavery in Egypt, led by Moses, and the slaughtered Passover lamb, were an early glimpse of Jesus as savior of the world – who took upon Himself and atoned for the sins of humankind on the cross.
All four of the gospels describe Jesus’ and the disciples` final Passover. Matthew, Mark, and Luke describe Jesus` words and His blessing of the bread and wine. John wrote a poignant account of how Jesus spoke about Christians serving one another in humility, and about his fervent final words to His disciples. We read in the gospel of Mark, “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it” (Mark 14:22-23).
To this day, the Christian practice of the Lord`s Supper is based on these very acts. The congregation breaks bread and shares it together. The communion wine is passed around and shared with all who have assembled.
What does this mean for Christians? It means that Jesus died for our sins and gave us a way to go and a life to live – a life of thankfulness, sacrifice, obedience, and self-denial. Partaking in communion is also a profession of faith of one’s determination to practice God’s word and to partake of the same life.
Where it concerns the communion (the Lord`s supper), I personally experience both anticipation and reflection, and I believe most Christians have this in common. It is good to take some time to think about what will take place before, during, and after communion. Thankfulness and joy will then occupy our thoughts.
As we eat the bread and drink the wine, we experience a unique peace and closeness in the gathering, both with Jesus as our Savior and forerunner, and in our fellowship with each other as Christians. Afterwards it is natural – certainly for many – to send prayers of thanksgiving to God, that we can be called children of God. It is our awareness of what the Bible calls ‘the spirit of adoption’, that gives us strength for daily living. Even though our feelings and situations have their ups and downs, or we experience pleasure and joy, or sickness, need, and tribulations during life’s changing circumstances, we can find rest knowing that heaven is open above us.