Introduction: Around 722 B.C., the Assyrian army carried the ten tribes of Northern Israel into exile and captivity. This left only a remnant of the ten tribes in the occupied Northern Israel. Just before this defeat, Judah’s greatest spiritual reformer since David took the throne. Hezekiah led the nation in spiritual renewal. This included observing a Passover that had not been fully observed since the prophet Samuel (2 Chr. 35:18). Hezekiah was also the first leader to observe the Passover on a second alternative date since the Jews were in the wilderness (Nu. 9:9-11). The Passover foreshadowed Jesus (Col. 2:16-7; Heb. 10:1). Hezekiah’s observance of the Passover foreshadowed seven things that Jesus offers you. These include: (1) second chances, (2) compassion, (3) guidance, (4) righteousness, (5) mercy, (6) joy, and (7) fellowship.
First, Hezekiah wanted the Jews to follow God’s law in observing the Passover. But the priests were unable to consecrate themselves to observe it at the appointed time. Thankfully, God’s law allowed for a second date for the Passover for people who were unclean and unable to observe it at the appointed time. The Passover celebrated God’s deliverance of the Jews from bondage and how He caused death to pass over them. This foreshadowed Jesus. The second Passover foreshadowed the many second chances for redemption that He offers. Second, Hezekiah’s messengers offered God’s compassion to the people left behind in Northern Israel if the Jews returned to God and observed the Passover. Jesus also offers compassion when you repent and seek Him. Third, for those who agreed to observe the Passover, God guided them with one heart despite their years of division. Jesus also offers the Spirit’s guidance and to give you one heart with other believers when you seek Him. Fourth, God consecrated the priests to observe the Passover. Through faith in His sacrifice, Jesus also offers to make you righteous and holy. Fifth, in response to Hezekiah’s prayers, God also showed mercy to the Jews from Northern Israel who observed the Passover without first consecrating themselves. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, He also offers sinners His mercy. Sixth, the Jews who observed the Passover were overcome with God’s joy. Through Jesus, He also offers you the joy of the Holy Spirit. Finally, the Jews were so moved to experience God’s fellowship that they observed the Passover for a voluntary second week. Through Jesus, He also offers eternal fellowship in Heaven. His fellowship will be so moving that people will want to continually worship Him out of gratitude.
Hezekiah invites Judah and the remnants of Northern Israel to observe a Passover. At or near the time the Assyrians carried the majority of the 10 tribes of Northern Israel into exile, Hezekiah invited the remnant Jews from the northern tribes and the two tribes of Judah to observe a joint Passover feast at God’s Temple: “Now Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel. 2 For the king and his princes and all the assembly in Jerusalem had decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month, 3 since they could not celebrate it at that time, because the priests had not consecrated themselves in sufficient numbers, nor had the people been gathered to Jerusalem. 4 Thus the thing was right in the sight of the king and all the assembly. 5 So they established a decree to circulate a proclamation throughout all Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to celebrate the Passover to the Lord God of Israel at Jerusalem. For they had not celebrated it in great numbers as it was prescribed.” (2 Chr. 30:1-5). Hezekiah was possibly Judah’s greatest reformer since David. He understood that the captivity of the Jews in Northern Israel stemmed from their ongoing rebellion against God’s Word. He also understood that Judah had been almost equally culpable in failing to observe God’s Word. Thus, he invited the remnant Jews of Northern Israel to join Judah in observing the Passover.
The Jews in both countries had sinned against God. Passover was one of three yearly feasts where the Jews were required to appear before God (Ex. 23:14-17; 34:23-24). But the Jews in both countries had failed to observe God’s Word. God’s law required that the Passover sacrifice happen at the “appointed place”, which at that time was Jerusalem (Dt. 16:5-7). But the first King of Northern Israel, Jeroboam, created fake golden calf idols and worship centers to keep the Jews from worshiping God in His Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kgs. 12:25-30). He led an entire nation into idolatry all out of a misplaced belief that he needed to do this to preserve his power (2 Kgs. 17:21). He also took steps to prevent people from being able to travel to Judah. He fortified the borders and Shechem, his capital (1 Kgs. 12:25). He also built up Penuel east of the Jordan to assert his control over the Jewish territories in modern day Jordan. Thus, he began a process of spiritual decline that would culminate in Northern Israel’s exile to Assyria (2 Kings 17:20-23). Only a remnant escaped Assyrian captivity (2 Chr. 30:6). The Jews of Judah had also been unfaithful. They had allowed idols to exist throughout Judah since Solomon’s reign. Only a remnant observed the Passover feast as God ordained (2 Chr. 30:5).
Hezekiah had the Jews observe the Passover during the second month of the year. Passover was the first of three festivals that normally happened over one week beginning at sundown on the 14th day after the first new moon after the spring equinox, sometime in March or April (Nu. 9:1; Ex. 12:1-4). “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night.” (Dt. 16:1; Lev. 23:5-6, 11). Hezekiah, however, had the Jews observe the Passover during the second month of the year because the priests had not consecrated themselves by the appointed time (2 Chr. 30:2). While the Jews were in the wilderness, God allowed for second Passover for those who were unclean and unable to observe the Passover during the appointed time: “9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘If any one of you or of your generations becomes unclean because of a dead person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the Lord. 11 In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.” (Nu. 9:9-11). This was the second recorded use of the alternative Passover date.
Between Samuel and Josiah, Israel failed to observe the Passover on the intended day. Years after Hezekiah, Josiah would again bring spiritual reforms to Israel. He would be the first leader since Samuel to correctly observe the Passover on both the correct day and in the exact manner that God ordained: “There had not been celebrated a Passover like it in Israel since the days of Samuel the prophet; nor had any of the kings of Israel celebrated such a Passover as Josiah did with the priests, the Levites, all Judah and Israel who were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (2 Chr. 35:18; 2 Kgs. 23:22).
The Passover feast was a rehearsal for Jesus. The Passover celebrated that, during the final plague, the shed blood of the lamb allowed each family who acted in faith to have death “pass over” their firstborn child (Ex. 12:12-13, 22-23). The New Testament states that the Old Testament holy days reveal the “shadows” of Jesus (Col. 2:16-7; Heb. 10:1). These “holy convocations” or “miqras” can also be translated as “rehearsals” (Lev. 23:2). In celebrating these festivals, the Jews gave thanks for God’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. They also unknowingly rehearsed for Jesus’ deliverance of all believers from the bondage of sin. God gave the blood of His firstborn son to allow judgment to “pass over” His believers: “The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”’ (Jo. 1:29). “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” (Is. 53:7). The Passover lamb had to be without blemish or it could not be used in the sacrifice (Ex. 12:5). Jesus also was unblemished: “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:18:19). God further specified that the sacrifice could have no broken bones (Ex. 12:46). This again foreshadowed Christ. He died on the cross without any of His bones being broken (Ps. 22:17; Jo. 19:32-36). To make sure that the lamb was unblemished, it was observed between the 10th and the 14th of Nisan / Abib. During this time, Jesus was tried by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. But Pontius Pilot could find no fault in Him (Lk. 23:4; Jo. 19:6). He lived as a holy sacrifice for you. In turn, He wants you to lead a holy life without blemish or sin for Him (Ro. 12:1; 1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:45; 19:2). The Jews took for granted what God did for them in Egypt. Many also take for granted what Jesus did for them in freeing them from bondage to sin.
Our God is the God of second chances. The Passover festival was the only festival of the seven Jewish festivals where God offers a second chance for someone who was unable to participate in the first festival. This shows that Jesus gives everyone many second chances. You too have the opportunity to have a “new beginning” through Him (2 Cor. 5:17). He is filled with mercy and grace. He wants none to perish (2 Pet. 3:9). Thus, He offers multiple chances for a new beginning in Him. If someone tells you that they are not interested in the Gospel, are you giving them another chance? If someone hurts you or offends you, are you giving that person a second chance?
Hezekiah promised God’s compassion and the exiles’ return if the Jews returned to God. Out of compassion and a love for His people, God spoke through Hezekiah’s couriers to promise His compassion and the future return of the people sent into captivity if the Jews would only return and worship Him: “6 The couriers went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the hand of the king and his princes, even according to the command of the king, saying, ‘O sons of Israel, return to the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria. 7 Do not be like your fathers and your brothers, who were unfaithful to the Lord God of their fathers, so that He made them a horror, as you see.’ 8 Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the Lord and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the Lord your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. 9 For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.’” (2 Chr. 30:6-9). God’s promise that captives would “return to this land” establishes that the majority of the 10 northern tribes had just been carried off into exile (2 Chr. 30:9). God had sent many prophets previously to warn the Jews, including Elijah and Elisha. His warnings of exile if the Jews disobeyed Him dated all the way back to Moses. “64 Moreover, the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other end of the earth; and there you shall serve other gods, wood and stone, which you or your fathers have not known.” (Dt. 28:64). The Jews, however, ignored these repeated warnings. Thus, God was forced to keep His Word and send the Jews off into captivity. But He wanted to give them the opportunity to return. Thus, He called them to return to the true God who freed them from bondage.
Jesus’ blood is the only means for escaping judgment. The blood of the lamb was not optional. It was the only means of escaping God’s judgment (Ex. 12:12-13). Without the blood of Jesus, none are righteous before God: “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (Ro. 3:10-11). Only the blood of Christ can save you from judgment: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12). The shedding of the blood at the altar symbolized the exchanging of His life for yours (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22). “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood.” (Rom. 3:25). “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). Are you warning non-believers?
God required that His people humbly repent and return to Him. God charged the Jews with being “unfaithful” (2 Chr. 30:7). He further urged them to “not stiffen your neck like your fathers,” (2 Chr. 30:8). God’s charge that the Jews were “stiff-necked” meant that they were too prideful in their ways to accept correction. This was a charge that God frequently made against them: “And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!”’ (Ex. 32:9; Dt. 9:13; Ps. 78:8; 2 Kgs. 17:14). God repeated this charge against the Jews after Jesus’ death: “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.” (Acts 7:51). God’s Holiness is a consuming fire (Ex. 24:17). Sin cannot be in His presence. This includes the prideful heart of someone who refuses to repent. The Jews in both nations refused to observe God’s Passover feast out of pride.
When you are lost, God will seek you out to restore your relationship with Him. On many occasions throughout the Bible, God reached out to sinners away from the Temple to give them the opportunity to return to Him. When the Jews first worshipped the golden calf, God allowed Moses to create a tent of meeting “outside the camp” where Moses could pray and petition God to forgive His sinful and rebellious people (Ex. 33:7). When the Jews rejected God, God sent the Jews into the wilderness where they might listen to Him: “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her.” (Hosea 2:14). In the New Testament, when John the Baptist taught people on how to restore their broken relationships with God, he did so in the wilderness outside of Jerusalem. Jesus also mostly taught outside the synagogue to reach the lost. He was also sacrificed “outside of the camp” for our sins (Heb. 13:12). You can celebrate that Jesus kept chasing after you when you left Him for the wilderness of sin.
Spiritual renewal requires the confession of sin. When Nehemiah later led the Jews in a process of spiritual renewal, he began with a public confession that the Jews had acted corruptly in failing to follow God’s Word: “We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.” (Neh. 1:7) The Psalms also include many similar confessions of sin: “We have sinned like our fathers, we have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.” (Ps. 106:6). Have you confessed your sins (1 Jo. 1:9)?
God promises His compassion when you return to Him. When you confess your sins and return to God, He promises you His mercy and forgiveness. “Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love.” (Micah 7:18). “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Is. 43:25). “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Ps. 103:12). “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Dt. 4:31). As one commentator observes, this is one of many reasons to celebrate God: “These promises were based on an eternal principle of God’s character: that He will not turn His face from you if you return to Him. God promises to draw near to those who draw near to Him.” (David Guzik on 2 Chr. 30).
The majority of the northern tribes mock Hezekiah’s offer to observe the Passover. Sadly, only a remnant of the remnant accepted Hezekiah’s call to repent and return to God: “10 So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. 11 Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. 12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.” (2 Chr. 30:10-12). Only some members of three of the 10 northern tribes, Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun, responded to God’s calling. God then gave the people of Judah “one heart” to follow Hezekiah’s call and the direction of the priests in observing the Passover (2 Chr. 30:12).
Because mankind loves darkness, it repeatedly mocked God’s messengers. Despite seeing most of the ten tribes carried off into captivity, most of the survivors remained hardened in their sins. Thus, “they laughed them to scorn and mocked them.” (2 Chr. 30:10). They treated Hezekiah’s message the way many treated Jesus. The “people of the community of Israel” all participated in the killing of the Passover lamb (Ex. 12:6). Jesus was also put to death by the people of the community of Israel: “Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Crucify Him!’” (Matt. 27:22). The persecution of God’s prophets has sadly occurred throughout history. For example, Jezebel tried to kill Elijah when he discredited Baal (1 Kgs. 19:1-2). Evil men also mocked Elisha as he preached God’s Word (2 Kgs. 2:23). The priests plotted to murder the prophet Jeremiah (Jer. 26:7-8). The destruction of Jerusalem was also proceeded by evil people mocking God’s prophets (2 Chr. 36:16). Jesus also warned that His messengers would be mocked and killed: “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,” (Matt. 23:34). If you are mocked or mistreated for delivering God’s Word, you can rejoice for your reward is great: “Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” (Lk. 6:23).
Those who respond to God’s calling will receive guidance from the Spirit. A remnant of the remnant from Northern Israel accepted Word. So did many of the people of Judah. Through the Holy Spirit, the people acted with “one heart” (2 Chr. 30:12). When you respond to God’s calling, the Holy Spirit will also guide you to act with one accord with other Spirit-led believers: “and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them.” (Jer. 32:39). “And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh,” (Ezek. 11:19). When the early Church allowed the Holy Spirit to guide them, the Church also acted with one accord in taking care of each other: “And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” (Acts 4:32). Are you seeking the Spirit to serve and pray for the people according to Jesus’ will (Acts 1:14)?
A large assembly humbled themselves, removed their idols and observed the Passover. As led by the Holy Spirit, the Jews gathered in the largest united assembly to observe the Passover since Israel broke into two nations: “13 Now many people were gathered at Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very large assembly. 14 They arose and removed the altars which were in Jerusalem; they also removed all the incense altars and cast them into the brook Kidron. 15 Then they slaughtered the Passover lambs on the fourteenth of the second month. And the priests and Levites were ashamed of themselves, and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the house of the Lord. 16 They stood at their stations after their custom, according to the law of Moses the man of God; the priests sprinkled the blood which they received from the hand of the Levites. 17 For there were many in the assembly who had not consecrated themselves; therefore, the Levites were over the slaughter of the Passover lambs for everyone who was unclean, in order to consecrate them to the Lord.” (2 Chr. 30:13-17). Having been convicted of their sins, the Jews acted with one accord to destroy their idols (2 Chr. 30:14). They then observed the alternative Passover during the second month in the manner that God permitted (Nu. 9:5-14).
Jesus can also make you righteous and holy. After the priests burned the unholy idols, repented and sprinkled blood, God consecrate them to serve (2 Chr. 30:16). Through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice, He can also make you righteous: “For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.” (Ro. 5:19). Because He has made you righteous, He calls upon you to keep yourself consecrate by staying holy (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2). Are you living your life as a holy living sacrifice for Jesus (Ro. 12:1-2)?
God shows mercy on humble worshippers who failed to properly worship God. Despite responding to God’s call to worship Him, many of the remnant members from the three northern tribes failed to purify themselves as God required. God, however, responded with compassion when Hezekiah prayed as an intercessor: “18 For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good Lord pardon 19 everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the Lord God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.’ 20 So the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” (2 Chr. 30:18-20). This was one of many examples of God’s mercy. He wants people to obey His Word. But He cares more about what is in someone’s heart than a legalistic approach to His law.
God will listen and respond to the prayers of a believer made righteous through Jesus. God listened to Hezekiah’s prayers for the unclean people who appeared before Him. Through the blood of Jesus, God can also hear your prayers: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Jam. 5:16). Because of Jesus, you also have the power of intercessory prayer. Who are you praying for?
Through the blood of Christ, you can also be healed. The unclean believers received God’s healing (2 Chr. 30:20). Through the blood of Christ, you too can receive healing: “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24). “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5). If you are in need of healing or if others you know need to be healed, are you praying to Jesus?
The Jews encouraged each other and joyfully worshipped out of thanksgiving. For seven days, the Jews rejoiced and listened as the priests taught the people God’s Word: “21 The sons of Israel present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great joy, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments to the Lord. 22 Then Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites who showed good insight in the things of the Lord. So they ate for the appointed seven days, sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord God of their fathers.” (2 Chr. 30:21-22). Hezekiah led by example. He encouraged the Levities who had neglected their duties in the past. They in turn patiently taught God’s Word to the people. Although the people of Northern Israel came in ignorance, they did not leave that way.
Celebrating God in the appointed manner brings great joy. During the Feast, “the priests praised the Lord day after day with loud instruments to the Lord, . . .” (2 Chr. 30:21). When Nehemiah had the Jews who returned from exile observe God’s festivals, they also experienced God’s joy for celebrating Him in the appointed manner: “The entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing.” (Neh. 8:17). Thanks to Jesus’ death at the cross, you are freed from and legal obligation to observe God’s holy days (Col. 2:16). God never wanted worship that was compulsory and not from the heart. Yet, if you celebrate Him during the appointed times, He will also give you the joy of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). If you are lacking joy in your life, are you clinging to Jesus and celebrating Him?
The Jews continued for an extra week of worship after experiencing God’s fellowship. The assembly was so moved to experience the joy from God’s fellowship, that the people continued on in voluntary worship for an extra week: “23 Then the whole assembly decided to celebrate the feast another seven days, so they celebrated the seven days with joy. 24 For Hezekiah king of Judah had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 7,000 sheep, and the princes had contributed to the assembly 1,000 bulls and 10,000 sheep; and a large number of priests consecrated themselves. 25 All the assembly of Judah rejoiced, with the priests and the Levites and all the assembly that came from Israel, both the sojourners who came from the land of Israel and those living in Judah. 26 So there was great joy in Jerusalem, because there was nothing like this in Jerusalem since the days of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel. 27 Then the Levitical priests arose and blessed the people; and their voice was heard and their prayer came to His holy dwelling place, to heaven.” (2 Chr. 30:23-27). There was such an outpouring of both prayer and sacrifice that, over the two weeks, they offered at least 19,000 recorded animal sacrifices from the leaders. Other persons would have brought their own sacrifices. When Josiah later brought people together to again observe the Passover, there was a similar outpouring of offerings from the priests, and the people (2 Chr. 35:7-8). Your love for Jesus should also motivate you to give Him the best of your time, talents, and treasure.
Believers who experience the joy of God’s fellowship will yearn for more. The Jews were so overcome with joy in celebrating God during His appointed time that the people freely sought to worship for an extra week (2 Chr. 30:23). The same thing happened during Solomon’s reign. When the people celebrated the Feast of Tabernacles during the Temple dedication, the people were so overcome with joy that they decided to voluntarily observe it an extra week: “Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the LORD our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters.” (1 Kgs. 8:65). The same thing will happen when believers are in Jesus’ presence in heaven. People will crave ongoing worship.
The assembly ended with a blessing. At the end of the gathering, the priests rose and “blessed the people” (2 Chr. 30:27). After the Jews completed the Tabernacle, Moses also blessed the Jews for their obedience (Ex. 39:32-43). Aaron also blessed with God’s authority as a priest (Nu. 6:23, 27). Among other things, he blessed others with peace (Nu. 6:26). The blessings that the priests gave was God’s prophetic Word to His people.
In Jesus’ name, you have the power to bless. Paul also gave prayers of blessings (called a benediction) to others. In many traditional church services, the priest says a blessing to the congregation, and the congregation blesses the priest. Any Christian is part of God’s holy priesthood, not just those in the pulpit (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). When you pray in Jesus’ name, you also have the power to bless others: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” (Jo. 14:13-14). “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” (Jo. 15:16). “In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.” (Jo. 16:23). His name is so powerful that the archangel Michael was able to drive Satan away merely by rebuking him in Jesus’ name (Jude 1:9). Are you blessing others with the power that Christ has given you? Or, do your words tear people down?
If you bless with doubt, your blessings are worthless. Much like prayer, if you bless others with doubt about the power Christ has given you, your blessings are worthless: “For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Jam. 1:6-8). Do you have faith that Christ will bless others when you bless them in faith?
Honor Jesus during the Passover and receive His blessing. God commanded that His people observe the Passover “forever”: “And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.” (Ex. 12:24). He also called this day a “permanent ordinance: “14 Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” (Ex. 12:14). The early Church observed the Passover. They used it as an opportunity to give glory to Jesus. It was not until the counsel of Nicaea in 325 A.D. that emperor Constantine banned the observation of Passover. In a letter to the churches, he appealed to a then common belief that the Jews were the enemy of Jesus: “The commemoration of the most sacred paschal [Passover] feast being then debated, that it would be well that it should be everywhere celebrated upon the same day . . . It was, in the first place, declared improper to follow the custom of the Jews in their celebration of this holy festival, because, their hands having been stained with crime, the minds of these wretched men are necessarily blinded . . . Let us, then, have nothing in common with the Jews, who are our adversaries.” (Eusebius, Life of Constantine, 3:18; quoted in First Fruits of Zion, Torah Club (2013) Vol. 1 Unrolling the Scroll – Bo p. 241). Thus, by the edict of an anti-Semitic rant, the Church stopped observing the Passover. Jesus warns believers not to choose the traditions of mankind over His Word (Mark 7:6-8; Matt. 15:7-9; Is. 29:13). Even if your church ignores Passover, you can still observe it to honor Jesus. Are you willing to celebrate Jesus during the Passover out of love and devotion? If so, Jesus will also bless you with joy and fellowship.