For over three thousand years, Jews have celebrated their liberation from slavery with the feast of Passover. As initially designed by God, the festival centered on the sacrifice of a lamb by each family grouping (what we would probably call the extended family). This reminded them of God’s power and grace in delivering them from the plague that killed the firstborn of the Egyptians as well as from oppression in Egypt. For those who celebrated the first Passover, this had the added significance that the lamb was sacred to the Egyptians, representing one of their gods, and by killing it, the Israelites rejected the religion of their oppressors and celebrated the feast as free men and women.
Jesus and his disciples, as faithful Jews, celebrated the Passover each year. But at this last supper, it gained a new significance, as Jesus identified himself as the sacrifice, and instructed his followers in a new meal of remembrance. In the words of an ancient hymn, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast.”