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John 2:12 -13, What is the Passover? Why did Jesus celebrate the Passover?

Updated on February 13, 2014

John 2:12&13 - "After this he went down to Caperaum with his mother and brothers and his disciples. There they stayed for a few days. When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem."

The stories of Joseph and Moses in the Old Testament make for very interesting reading.

Find the story of Joseph in Genesis chapter 37, chapter 39-47

Read the story of Moses in Exodus chapters 1 - 12

The Jewish people are also referred to as Israelites and Hebrews

The king of Egypt was called Pharaoh

About 6 months after the wedding in Cana, where Jesus turned the water into wine, Jesus, his family and his disciples travel up the hill to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. This is his first Passover since his baptism and it would be a significant event at the beginning of his ministry. All Jewish males over the age of 12 were required to travel to Jerusalem to attend the seven day festival.

Here is a brief overlook of the story behind the Passover celebration.

In the Old Testament, we learn about a man named Joseph, who was sold by his brothers to be a slave to an Egyptian Ruler. God was with Joseph and blessed everything that he did. He won favor with the Pharaoh and became his second in command. Under his authority, great storehouses were built and filled with food to protect against a coming famine, which God warned him about. When the famine hit, Joseph’s family suffered. They heard Egypt had food to spare and traveled there for help. Not knowing what happened to Joseph, they were very shocked to find him in such a position of power. At Joseph’s request Pharaoh allowed his family to settle in the best land that Egypt had to offer. Joseph’s family was the beginning of the Israel nation. As the years went by, the Jewish people grew and prospered in Egypt until they were almost too numerous to count. Generations passed and a new king arose in Egypt who didn’t know about Joseph or how the Israelites came to Egypt. He was afraid of the Jews because there were so many of them. To keep them under control, he enslaved them. He put them to work and treated them cruelly and ruthlessly. Still they multiplied and all of Egypt became afraid of them and treated them harshly. The king demanded that all the baby Israelite boys be killed at birth. He gave permission for his people to throw them in the Nile River to drown. There was one baby boy that was rescued out of the river by the Pharaoh’s own daughter. His name was Moses. God had chosen him to rescue the people from slavery. He grew up in the Palace as a prince. One day, Moses went out to see how his people were being treated. He got angry when he saw an Egyptian beating up a Hebrew and killed the Egyptian. When he realized he had been witnessed, and that Pharaoh wanted to kill him, Moses fled to the desert. He got married and lived in Midian for many years until the king died. The Israelites continued to live in slavery under the new king. God heard their cries for help and made contact with Moses. God sent Moses, along with his brother Aaron back to Egypt to demand that the Pharaoh release the Israelites. Pharaoh refused and God sent a series of 10 plagues or disasters on the Egyptians. It was not until the last plague, when God sent the angel of death to kill all the first born boys in the land, that Pharaoh relented and let the Israelites leave Egypt. That night, God told the Jews to ask their neighbors for gold and silver and to prepare to leave quickly. He told them to make their bread without yeast because it wouldn’t have time to rise before they left. They were to sacrifice a lamb for their evening meal and to put its blood on their doorway. The blood would be a sign to the Angel of Death so he would pass over the house and leave those inside untouched. At midnight that night, God struck down every first born male in the land who was not protected by the lambs blood on the doorframe. There was not a family in Egypt, from Pharaoh to the prisoner, to the livestock in the fields, without someone dead. Finally, in the middle of the night, Pharaoh called Moses and gave him permission to take the Israelite out of Egypt. To this day, the Jews celebrate the Passover to remind them of how God rescued them from slavery and how the Angel of Death passed over their houses, saving them from that last destructive and terrible plague of death.

I hope you found this overview interesting, to read about what Jesus did at Passover, please read my next hub, Why did Jesus clear Herod's Temple.


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