Celebrating Easter/Passover in 2024

Jesus was, and is, and always will be a Jew. During His earthly lifetime He was raised up in the Jewish practices and customs of His time and in the precepts of the Old Testament Scriptures. Since He was the living Word of God, His life was a fulfillment of Scripture. As we read of the words and deeds of Jesus’ life in the Gospel accounts, it is striking to note how He became the fulfillment of the Passover, God’s Paschal Lamb sacrificed for our sins, whose blood was shed that we, placing it over the doorposts of our hearts, might be spared from the Death Angel and enter into eternal life. On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus celebrated a Passover Seder ceremony with His disciples in an upper room that had been prepared for them. During this special Seder, He took two of the Passover elements, the Afikoman and the Cup of Elijah, and consecrated them as the LORD’s Supper, the Eucharist that believers have celebrated ever since.

When the Ekklesia (or those called out as the Church) was young, most of its members were Jewish and continued to celebrate the Festivals as Jesus had. However, as more and more new believers were won among the Gentiles, the attachment to the Festivals began to fade so that by the 3rd or 4th Century the Christian Church separated from Judaism and established the celebration of Christ’s passion and resurrection in a new way, divorced from its Passover Lamb origins. With time, the calendars also separated from the Judaic lunar calendar to the Gregorian calendar we currently use. Each calendar uses a different method to name and synchronize its dates with the changes of season, so that there are years where Passover and Easter nearly coincide and others, like 2024, when they can be as much as a month apart. This year Easter and the events leading up to it are celebrated the last week of March, while Passover doesn’t begin until the fourth week of April. You can learn more about the relationship between the two in our book The Biblical Festivals, which contains full instruction and a guide book or Haggadah for celebrating a Passover Seder that honors both the Tenach and the New Testament accounts.

For now, you might be interested in our handouts on A Passover Timetable and Jesus Fulfills the Promise of Passover, especially if you are thinking about hosting a Seder in your home. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.  In the meantime, “Chag Pesach sameach!” or “Happy Passover!” in Hebrew.