When studying about the right alternative to the Easter tradition—the biblical Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread—there’s a very important question you should ask: What would Jesus do?
When you come to an understanding of Easter’s ancient pre-Christian origins and Jesus’ practice in His life and what He taught His disciples, you realize that He wouldn’t celebrate Easter. He wouldn’t observe a day that really had nothing to do with His death and resurrection and is actually rooted in the worship of pagan gods and goddesses.
Furthermore, you realize that Jesus most definitely did observe the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread, and He taught His disciples to do the same (Luke 22:15-20). Jesus, on the night that He was betrayed, sat down and said, “Do this in remembrance of Me,” in reference to the new Passover ceremony that He instituted at that time. And just as they learned from Jesus and the apostles, the early Christians most definitely did observe the Passover. They also most definitely observed the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which symbolized sin being removed from their lives and Christ living in them (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
As they observed these Holy Days, they came to a deeper understanding of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just like the Christians of apostolic times, Christians today can gain a whole new depth of knowledge and understanding by following Jesus’ example.
The traditional practice of Easter came not from Jesus’ example but from the history of the Roman church’s desire to separate itself from Judaism by replacing Passover. This decision, rooted in anti-Semitism, misses the point that the Passover is not a Jewish observance. It’s a holy occasion that points directly to Jesus Christ! It has deep spiritual meaning, and Jesus magnified the purpose and vision of Passover through His observance of the day.
If you really want to do what Jesus did, you will follow His example in observing these days that honor Him. Jesus is the true Passover Lamb, of which the Old Testament Passover lamb was a symbol, pointing to Him and His sacrifice. Christians take the symbols of wine as His blood and unleavened bread as His body, just as He instituted on the last Passover He spent with His disciples. In doing so Jesus amplified the command and observance of the Passover.
To learn more, download or request our free study guides Jesus Christ: The Real Story and God’s Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.