Easter and Passover both represent God’s miraculous deliverances
Providentially—more spiritual than coincidentally—two holy seasons of two different faiths coincide on the calendar this year. April 2 through April 13 marks both Christianity’s and Judaism’s holy and sacred times of the year, with each recognizing God’s divine intervention in history. Those two events also relate to His miraculous deliverances. Jews and Christians are set to celebrate Easter and then Passover.
April 2-9 is Holy Week for Christians’ celebration of Jesus Christ’s last Passover supper, crucifixion death, and resurrection. April 5-13 is the week of Jews’ celebration of Passover (Seder), the commemoration of God’s liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, and the Festival of Freedom.
Easter and Passover represent what both faiths consider divine rescues and deliverances from bondage by the mutual God they both worship. The first historical divine intervention and deliverance were from physical bondage—a people’s slavery to another people, followed by the deliverance of Mosaic law. The second historical intervention and deliverance were from spiritual bondage—humankind’s bondage to rebellion against God called sin.
For both, it is a time of deep reflection on God’s great compassion and deliverance. For Jews, the Passover celebrates freedom from bondage as slaves in Egypt and God’s miraculous deliverance from the Egyptians through the Red Sea. For Christians, Easter and Holy Week celebrate Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, God’s miraculous deliverance from human bondage to sin and eternal death to those who accept and believe in his divinity and sacrifice on their behalf.
Image: Jesus Christ’s last supper, a Passover celebration, by Dieric Bouts.
Both Jews and Christians have experienced frequent historical persecutions aimed at them specifically. The Holocaust is a reminder of a not-to-distant horrific persecution of Jews. Today, statistics tell us that, around the world, Christians are the most persecuted people in the world, especially across Africa and Asia.
This is an opportune time for sensitivity and respect for both groups and their faiths. As a Christian, I join all Christians who believe God divinely rescued the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. I—and I trust we—continue to sympathize with them and the many antisemitic persecutions they have experienced and continue to experience. The Holocaust was just one of the several horrific attempted genocides and enslavements they experienced. God miraculously delivered them once, and many of us also believe returned their homeland to them.
As a Christian, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was Jewish. This is what we believe. Christmas represented God incarnate coming clothed in human flesh as a baby to grow into manhood to sacrifice himself on behalf of those who would believe him to be the perfect sinless sacrifice in atonement for redemption from sin. He was raised from the dead and seen by many who testified. We believe He ascended into heaven and now sits on the right hand of God, the Father.
For the rest of us, as Americans, many of the laws upon which our nation was founded relate to and are commonly referred to as Judeo/Christian principles. Both Judaism and Christianity, in essence, have contributed positively to America.
This is just a brief description of Christianity’s and Judaism’s sacred celebrations today. They share a common spiritual heritage. They both deserve our respect for their remembrances of God’s faithfulness to them in their respective celebrations.