Jews and Christians, Passover and Easter
Christians attending the Seder meal is a great way to understand the connection between Passover and Easter, says the Council of Christians and Jews. Christians appropriating Passover, not so great
Pesach (Passover) and Easter are two highly significant festivals for Jews and Christians, respectively, which fall around the same time of year. At the Council of Christians and Jews, we often encounter Christians who wish to know more about Pesach and its connection to the Easter story (especially in relation to the Last Supper). Here, we highlight some of the background to Pesach and the Seder meal. We also want to explain why we think some ways in which Christians might engage with it are more helpful than others.
Pesach (or Passover) is a Jewish festival which commemorates the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, recalling their liberation from slavery into freedom. At the time when the Israelites were crying out for help because of the burdens of slavery and the slaughter of all newborn male babies, God called on Moses to demand that Pharaoh set them free. Only following a series of ten plagues which were cast upon the Egyptians and that passed over the Israelites did Pharaoh grant this freedom.
In Exodus 12, we read of God’s instruction to commemorate the liberation. This includes killing a lamb or a kid goat on the 14th day of the month of Nisan (before sunset) and then eating the lamb that evening with unleavened bread (matzah) and bitter herbs. Many centuries later, the Paschal lamb, as it came to be known, was taken by each family to the Temple to be killed, and so Pesach became a pilgrimage festival; the Israelites travelled to the Jerusalem Temple to hold the festivities nearby…
The Council of Christians and Jews is a forum for Christian/Jewish engagement throughout the UK
This is an extract from an article published in the June 2023 edition of Reform