Then He [Christ] said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
On the evening before His crucifixion, after sunset, Jesus Christ partook of one last Passover with His disciples. But unlike the previous Passovers He kept in His physical lifetime, this one would be different.
With only slight modifications, the Passover had been observed the same way since it was instituted in Exodus 12. Each Israelite household was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb during the evening at the beginning of 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar (Exodus 12:1-7).
The unblemished lamb foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (John 1:29).
But now, on this Passover, what had previously been foreshadowed would become reality. The One who never sinned—who was unblemished—would sacrifice His life to redeem mankind from the penalty of sin.
And so it was during this Passover that Christ changed the symbols of the service. The lamb (which had looked forward to Christ) would be replaced by unleavened bread and wine, which look back to Christ’s broken body and His shed blood (Luke 22:19-20). The New Testament Passover is a memorial of Christ’s death (1 Corinthians 11:24-25) and the institution of the new covenant (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24).
Jesus Christ also introduced another new component of the Passover ceremony: the foot washing. The foot-washing ceremony symbolizes our personal need to love as Christ loved and to follow Christ’s example as a servant (John 13:1-7).
Jesus Christ looked forward to this Passover because He knew His death would save mankind from the penalty of sin—eternal death! This had been God’s plan from the beginning (Revelation 13:8).
The New Testament Passover will be observed on the evening of April 13 this year.
To learn more about the New Testament Passover, read “Passover: What Did Jesus Do for You?”