United Church of God, ia
Portland and Hood River Oregon

Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

How is the Passover Ceremony Commemorated Today?

The biblical observance of the Passover is a memorial of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins. The original Passover was a reminder of how God spared the firstborn of His people from death in Egypt. As the ultimate fulfillment of what the Passover pictures, the New Covenant Passover reminds us that Christians are saved from sin's penalty of eternal death by Christ's sacrifice as the Lamb of God.

Members of the United Church of God, publisher of Beyond Today magazine, approach this period of the year with deep spiritual introspection, recognizing the enormity of that sacrifice. We commemorate the Passover with a solem service based on the instructions of the apostle Paul and the New Covenant Passover ceremony that Jesus instituted as recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

The Passover service begins after sundown the night before Passover day on the Hebrew calendar, according to Jesus' example. The service starts with a brief explanation of its purpose and readings from the Gospels. Then, following Jesus' example and instructions in John 13, Christians wash one another's feet. This is followed by an explanation of the symbols of the Passover, unleavened bread and wine, which represent the body and blood of our Savior. Each baptized member of the Church eats a small piece of the unleavened bread and drinks a small cup of the wine, showing acknowledgment of and need for that sacrifice. After further readings from Jesus' teaching on that last night before His arrest and crucifixion, the service is concluded. (See, Exodus 12; Leviticus 23:5; Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:22-24; 1 Corinthians 11:23-28.)

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