Question:

Is the Passover meal a requirement for Christians meaning if they do not eat it they sinned or is it more of a celebration or memorial as to what Christ has done for us? Please explain if possible.


Answer:

The Passover was a memorial under the Old Testament. It reminded the Israelites that the death angel passed over the firstborn of Israel. "And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.'" And the people bowed low and worshiped" (Exodus 12:26-27). While meaningful to the Israelites, it has no particular significance to the Christian, other than it being the time when Christ was killed. There is no statement anywhere in the New Testament saying that the Christians were to celebrate the Passover. Instead, Christians are told not to allow people to condemn (judge) them for not following the Old Testament customs. "When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day -- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ" (Colossians 2:13-17). "Festivals" would include the Passover.

There is a memorial observed by Christians, but it is called the Lord's Supper. "For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (I Corinthians 11:23-26). This memorial is done weekly on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7), and not yearly as the Passover was kept by the Israelites.