Easter always occurs on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. That is the same weekend that hosts the Jewish Passover. Since it is historically possible to determine the exact date of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, Easter would not have to be on the same weekend as the Passover. However, these two events are tightly linked the Bible. Because of this, Christians have chosen to celebrate their Easter holiday at Passover each year.
The Bible makes it clear that it is no coincidence that Christ was crucified at Passover.
Each year at Passover, a special lamb is to be set aside for the Passover. On the night of the Passover, the lamb is sacrificed and roasted and served with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. Each of these symbols, as well as, the event of Passover have a strong relationship to the events that happened in the life of Christ leading up to Easter.
The unleavened bread as a type of Christ’s sinlessness.
The Bible says that Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV) Both the Old and New Testaments picture leaven or yeast as representative of sin. Yeast is an agent that does its work in a way that only the results of its actions can be seen.
Once blended into the dough, yeast grows and multiplies within the mixture. If allowed to continue, it will eventually exert its influence over the entire ball of dough. If more ingredients are added, the yeast will continue to expand its territory. The only way to keep yeast from “corrupting” the dough is to never allow any yeast into the dough. This is the way sin takes over a life and then a society. The unleavened bread reminds Jews that God expects purity from His people.
The bitter herbs are symbolic of Christ’s suffering and the suffering of Israel in Egyptian captivity.
Israel resided in Egypt for the 430 years from the time of Jacob until the time of Moses. During the latter half of that period, the Israelites were slaves. Near the end, the Egyptians became very oppressive even ordering the death of all boy babies born to Israelites. The bitter herbs serve as reminders of this tough time. They also point toward the suffering of the Messiah to bring the deliverance from sin to all people.
A roasted lamb speaks of sacrifice, innocence, and forgiveness.
The lamb had to be without spot or blemish. So, Christ had to be sinless or morally unblemished by sin or the world. The death and blood of the lamb satisfied the need for sacrifice to cover sins. It is the sacrifice of Christ that defeated the effects of sin by covering them with His blood. The meat from the lamb has to be completely consumed because Christ has to be completed accepted for deliverance to happen.
The first Passover included blood on the door posts and lintel.
When these points are connected, they form a cross. The blood on an Israelite doorway kept the destroying angel from killing their first born son. When the blood of the sacrifice of Christ is applied to the heart of person, it keeps them safe from the judgements of God.
Easter occurred a little over 400 years after the last Old Testament prophet passed.
The first Passover happened after 430 years in Egyptian bondage for Israel. Over 400 years of spiritual darkness stood between the Old Testament and the death and resurrection of Christ. Passover remembers the deliverance of Israel from Egypt which was considered a form of the sinful world. Easter remembers the work of Christ to deliver people from sin.
Both Easter and the Passover look back to a significant spiritual event while looking forward to a future hope.
Easter remembers the work of Christ as it points toward the hope of the resurrection. The Passover looks back at God’s work to release them from Egypt while looking for the Messiah to come and restore Israel to its former glory.