God performed mighty miracles on Israel’s behalf. He broke Pharaoh’s resistance with ten increasingly horrible plagues so that He would release the Israelites from slavery and let them go. But something was required of God’s people as well. They were commanded to sacrifice a year-old lamb without defects— in other words, their best. Following God cost them something, and the meal they ate (and would continue to eat in memory of that night) signified that. The Passover meal today still symbolizes sacrifice.
The elements of the Passover meal have not changed in thousands of years. Your Jewish friends eat a meal identical to the one consumed the night the death angel visited Egypt. Each element of this meal reminds the participants of the story of God’s provision for His people. Three matzos —pieces of unleavened bread— are included, and one of them is hidden for the children of the family to find. Once it is found, the hidden matzo is broken and eaten. Isn’t it interesting that there are three pieces of bread —one each for Father, Son and Holy Spirit? And isn’t it interesting that one of them is broken and hidden, just as God the Son was broken and hidden in the grave for three days? Now, do Paul’s words concerning the last supper have more meaning: “This is My body which is broken for you”?
In addition to the bread, the meal includes a plate with several elements. A lamb shank or bone of lamb indicates that a whole lamb was roasted. Bitter herbs (often horseradish today) signified the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. When they would taste the herbs they would wince, remembering their years in bondage as a people of God. Charoset (chopped apples mixed with nuts, sweet wine, honey and cinnamon) symbolized the mortar for the bricks the Israelites were required to make in Egypt. In contrast, parsley reminded them of the sweetness of the promise of God and the new life that comes from God each spring. Today, a roasted egg symbolizes the burning of Jerusalem in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed. Then a bowl of water with salt was to remind them of the salty tears shed as Hebrew slaves were at the hands of their Egyptian taskmasters. Finally, wine was poured to depict the blood of the sacrificed Passover lamb —the lamb that spared their lives and set them free.