After cleansing the temple of false gods and idols and reading to his people the word of God, King Josiah then re-instituted the feast of Passover.
21 Then the king commanded all the people, saying, “Keep the Passover to the Lord your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant.” 2 Kings 23:21 NKJV
16 So all the service of the Lord was prepared the same day, to keep the Passover and to offer burnt offerings on the altar of the Lord, according to the command of King Josiah. 2 Chronicles 35:16 NKJV
The Passover feast includes a meal of remembrance for the blessings God gave His people when He delivered them out of slavery in Egypt and directed them towards a Promised Land of their own.
Heavenly mysteries and symbols abound in the spiritual significance of the Passover. God used this event to point to the future and His provision for the forgiveness of sins throughout the world, on a scale far beyond that of the original recipients.
In the original Passover, an innocent lamb was sacrificed so that an Israelite family would be able to escape the curse of death and experience a complete freedom from the bondage of Pharaoh and his nation. The lamb’s blood was spread on the top and sides of the doorposts in the shape of a cross, providing a spiritual covering for the house so that the angel of death would pass over and spare the life of their first-born son. God had instructed that this meal of remembrance be celebrated each year, but Judah had failed to keep this along with many other unfaithful actions and attitudes.
The Passover feast points to the time when Jesus Christ would lay down His own life as the innocent and sinless Lamb of God. Because of His loving act, all believers may now experience eternal life with Him, and also receive the gift of freedom from the bondage of sin, addictions, and destructive habits in our lives today.
At Calvary, the Father offered up His beloved Son on a cross for our sake, taking the punishment of death that we deserve because of our sin. It must have torn the Father’s heart open to do so, just as any of us would gladly trade places with our suffering children. Yet God’s love for us is so great that both Father and the Son were willing to go forward with the plan. For heavenly reasons we may not fully appreciate or understand, this sacrifice was necessary to allow us to live in God’s presence throughout eternity. The plan was victorious – Jesus died a sinless death on the cross and was raised to life from the dead on the third day.
Jesus was well aware of the true significance and symbolism in the Passover meal and His role in its deep spiritual meaning. When His time to go to the cross had come, He celebrated His final Passover with His disciples on the night before His crucifixion. At this meal of remembrance, He instituted the celebration of Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, to always remember what He would go through for us.
18 And He (Jesus) said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.” ’ ” Matthew 26:18 NKJV
The apostle Paul later summarized the instructions for the Lord’s supper.
23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NKJV
By remembering the Lord’s sacrifice as we eat this meal of remembrance, we fellowship with the Spirit of Jesus and our fellow worshipers as we proclaim His suffering and His great love for us. We also celebrate His resurrection from the dead and the profound impact this has upon our own resurrection and our eternal future when He returns.
It is a very personal moment for believers as they partake of the Lord’s Supper. These moments are private and intimate, and sometimes what transpires there is kept secret between that person and God. Other times, people are willing to share of their spiritual experiences at the Lords table. In all cases, these are solemn and holy times spent with the Lord Jesus as we consider His works and love and thank Him for His sacrifice for us on the cross.
Some reactions I have heard from people or experienced myself after taking this meal of remembrance are:
It strengthens me physically.
It makes me realize that God hears me.
It brings spiritual strength and helps me to better resist sin.
It convicts me of my sin and brings me to a place of forgiveness.
It brings a deep sense of peace and security – I can sometimes sense the very presence of Christ in my heart.
Through the reading of the word, God led King Josiah to reinstate the Passover celebration in Judah. Each of us today is also encouraged to celebrate and remember the Lord’s sacrifice as we celebrate Communion in our own places of worship.
Lord Jesus, be present and guide me as I seek to celebrate the Lord’s Supper with You in fellowship with other believers. Teach me the great heavenly mysteries You hold in the Passover and in the Communion meal. Forgive me, strengthen me, uphold me, and touch my soul. Draw me close to You as I seek to remember Your great sacrifice. In Your name we pray, Amen.