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The Passover commemorated the night the Israelites were freed from Egypt, read (Exodus 12) for the complete story. However, we know that the last plague has been memorialized in the Bible by the celebration of the Passover.  On the night of the Exodus, the Israelites were required by God to slaughter an unblemished lamb and spread its blood over the doorposts of their houses.  In those houses so marked by the blood, the life of the firstborn was spared.  Henceforth in Israel, the celebration of the Passover meal reminded the people of God’s gracious salvation and deliverance of Israel.  This was the last great plaque on Egypt; in the unmarked homes, the firstborn sons died.  After this horrible disaster, Pharaoh let the Israelites go.

The day of Passover was followed by the seven day Festival of Unleavened Bread.  This too, recalled the Israelites’ quick escape from Egypt when, because they would not have time to let their bread rise, they baked it without leaven (yeast).  All Jewish males over the age of twelve were required to go to Jerusalem for this festival (Deuteronomy 16:5-6).  Jews from all over the Roman Empire would converge on Jerusalem, swelling the population from 50,000 to 250,000 people.

The Jewish leaders plotted secretly to kill Jesus.  They had already decided that Jesus must die  (see John 11:47-53); they just needed the opportunity.  They did not want to attempt to arrest Jesus during the Passover because they feared that the crowd would riot on his behalf.  They feared that such an uprising might bring the wrath of Rome.

We know from our study that the Passover took place on one night and at one meal, but the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was celebrated with it, continued for a week.  The first day of the feast was technically the day after Passover, but the two were often equated,  Thus, this was either Wednesday night (the day before Passover) or Thursday of Jesus last week (the night of the Passover meal).  The highlight of the festival was the Passover meal, a family feast with the main course of lamb.

Jesus disciples assumed that they would eat the Passover meal together with Jesus.  However, the meal had to be eaten in Jerusalem, so the disciples asked Jesus where they should go in order to make preparations.  Here is how the conversation went,  “12On the first day [of the Feast] of Unleavened Bread, when [as was customary] they killed the Passover lamb, [Jesus’] disciples said to Him, Where do You wish us to go [and] prepare the Passover [supper] for You to eat?”  (Mark 14:12 AMP)

Now this is how the “Passover” begins.  Let us celebrate it with great joy and remind all our family and friends to do the same.

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