The fabulous Jenni Norsworthy of Ebenezer Collective rejoins us for this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday to begin our series on Feasts of the Bible with a word you’ve probably heard countless times, but may not have ever understood the full implications for Christians – Passover.
the major Jewish spring festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, lasting eight days from the 14th day of Nisan.
“The Passover to the Lord comes in the first month, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month.”
Growing up, I understood that Passover was a holiday connected with the Israelites’ escape from Egypt that always seemed to be celebrated around Easter. However, when, as an adult, I learned that Jesus, our “Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7), was crucified on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, and raised to life on Firstfruits, these foreign holidays began to take on a whole new meaning for me in my spiritual walk.
The First Passover
The Hebrew word for Passover is pesach (פָּ֫סַח). It comes from the root word, pasach, which means “to halt, to pass through, to exempt, or to spare.” In Exodus 12, Moses presents God’s instructions to the people concerning the final plague: “Go, select an animal from the flock according to your families, and slaughter the Passover animal. Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and brush the lintel and the two doorposts with some of the blood in the basin. None of you may go out the door of his house until morning. When the Lord passes through to strike Egypt and sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, he will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you.” (vs 21-23)
This event was so important, that before it had even transpired, the Lord instructs them to commemorate it throughout their generations, “Keep this command permanently as a statute for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, you are to observe this ceremony. When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ you are to reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians and spared our homes.’” (vs 24-27)
Passover is For Remembering and Rehearsing
Chapter 23 in Leviticus gives us further insight into the biblical feasts of the Lord. God tells the people that these are His “appointed times, holy convocations” (vs 4). The Hebrew word for convocation is miqra, which means “rehearsal meeting.” Every time an Israelite spoke of this holy convocation, they were calling it a rehearsal meeting. They understood, perhaps only vaguely, that these feasts of the Lord were both to commemorate what God had done, while also rehearsing for something greater – although they did not know what!
But we, as believers in Jesus, can see exactly what this feast, this holy convocation, was pointing to! Jesus was crucified on Passover, at the exact time that the Jewish priests were sacrificing the Passover lambs. The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2:17, “In the past these things were like a shadow that showed what was coming. But the new things that were coming are found in Christ.” It is nothing but the blood of Christ that causes the Lord to halt His wrath and judgement over our sin.
It’s important to note, that it took a certain amount of faith on the Israelite’s part, to trust that the blood covering their door was sufficient to save them. In the same way, we must also have faith that Jesus’ blood is sufficient to save us – not only from the penalty of sin (death), but also the from the bondage of sin, as He rescues us and redeems us into the newness of life in Him!
Passover by the Letter
There’s one last little nugget that we can glean from this word, pesach (פָּ֫סַח). In Hebrew, each letter has a meaning, and often when we look at the meanings of these letters we can find out more about the word itself. The first letter pey, means “mouth/speaking”; the second, samech, means “support/lift up”; and the final letter, chet, is often associated with “life/new beginnings.”
Therefore, the message of pesach reveals, “The mouth that supports life.” Isn’t it interesting how this coincides with what Paul writes in Romans 10:9-10, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.”
We all have our own “Passover” experience when we put our trust in Jesus. I love what the Apostle Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:9-10,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession,
so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness
into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people;
you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Out of the bondage of slavery in Egypt, the Israelites left as a new people – a free people, a chosen people. Drawn out to be drawn in to the presence of the living God! And in His love and grace, God invites us to do the same!
Jenni was born and raised in Texas, and currently lives in Plano. Jenni and her husband have been married for 8 years and are absolutely head over heels with their sweet 2.5yr old daughter, Abby.
Jenni has a passion for the Hebrew language and the Jewish roots of our faith, and currently contributes to Ebenezer Collective, a website that exists to share stories of God’s faithfulness in the lives of His children.
Linking Up With
For more encouragement please join the discussions on these fabulous blog link ups – Suzanne Eller, Faith On Fire, Susan B. Mead, Faith Filled Friday, Grace and Truth, Faith and Fellowship Friday, Soul Survival, Rah Rah Link Up, Tell His Story, Sitting Among Friends, Testimony Tuesday, Planting Roots, and Fresh Market Friday, Salt and Light, and Becoming Press’s Writer Wednesday, Moments of Hope