Much of what is celebrated today as Easter has nothing to do with the biblical account, and we need a biblical understanding of Easter. Bunnies, eggs, and lilies are not what the Easter story is about. It is about that first day of the week where a small group of Jesus’s followers went to his tomb to prepare him for burial. They discovered the stone that had blocked entrance to the sepulcher had been rolled away. They heard the angelic story of his resurrection. Therefore, many Christians attend worship on Sunday.
The night before he was crucified, Jesus celebrated Passover with his disciples in an upper room (1 Corinthians 11:23ff.). A Bible chart by Rose Publications says, “The Passover is the Old Testament feast that celebrates and remembers God’s liberation of Israel from Egypt.” After four hundred years of living in Egypt, God’s people cried out to him for deliverance. Through a series of ten plagues, God showed his superiority over the gods of Egypt. The final plague was to take the lives of all the firstborn among the Egyptians. The only way to be free from this plague was the blood of the Passover sacrifice. Exodus 12 details the instructions for the celebration.
The Passover marked a new beginning for the Israelites. It took place in the first month of their year. In Christ, every believer has a new beginning by becoming a new creation through faith in Christ. Families chose a year-old male lamb without defects for the sacrifice. Christ also was inspected by Pilate, Herod, Annas, and Caiaphas. None of them found any fault in him. Christians are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:19).
The entire community was required to participate in the Passover meal. To become a part of God’s community, each person must accept Christ’s sacrifice. “The righteousness of God apart from the law is now revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe” (Romans 3:21-22).
The lamb’s blood was spread on the sides and top of the door frame. First John 1:7 says, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” At Christ’s baptism, John the Baptist called Jesus, “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).
The Passover was to be permanent memorial for the Jews to remind them of God’s deliverance from their bondage. Jesus took the bread from his last supper with the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24 NKJV). For Christians, the Lord’s Supper is the permanent memorial of the price Christ paid to deliver us from the bondage of sin and death. He also took the cup after his last Passover supper and said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25 NKJV). The Lord’s Supper is a memorial, not a re-enactment of Christ’s sacrifice.
No bone in the Passover lamb was broken. To hasten the death of those on the cross, Roman soldiers went to break their legs. As Christ had already died, they did not break his legs.
Hebrews 8:6, 13 says, “But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises…In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (NKJV). Christ gave the Passover a fuller meaning. God said, “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Exodus 12:13) They demonstrated their faith through their obedience to his requirements. He did not say, “When I see your religion,” or “When I see your good works.”
When God looks at your life, will he see the blood of Christ, or will he see your man-made religion? There is no difference between Jew or Gentile, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No one can keep all of God’s laws perfectly. The good news of Easter is that you can be “justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).