So, how did Jesus fulfill the Passover requirements? He ate the Passover with His disciples at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month. While they probably did eat roasted lamb with bitter herbs, what Jesus emphasized for His disciples was the bread and the wine. Through washing His disciples' feet (John 13:2-17), He set the example of humble service, as well as forgiving others, because cleansing is symbolic of forgiveness. Most importantly, His sinless blood was shed on Passover day.
Yet, parts of the original Passover instructions were not fulfilled in their letter! Consider that He and His disciples left the house before morning, which the Israelites were forbidden to do (Exodus 12:22). Jesus was our Passover Lamb, yet He was crucified rather than being roasted in fire (Exodus 12:8). His remains were not burned, even though that, too, is specified. His blood was not caught in a basin, nor smeared on any doorpost (see verse 7). And, as we know, He was not killed between sunset and dark at the beginning of the 14th day.
So did Jesus fulfill the Passover? We know He absolutely did, and our Father was satisfied. But He fulfilled it according to requirements that were different from what He gave to a carnal people.
Jesus set the example for us of when and how to keep it. It was during the night of the 14th when He said to partake of the bread and wine “in remembrance of Me.” In reflecting on that night, Paul instructs the Corinthians to “proclaim the Lord's death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). However, the timing of His death, which did not occur until the following afternoon, was about far more than just being the Passover Lamb—as pivotal as it was.
The death of the Lamb was planned from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). The timing was not an afterthought—it was deliberate, drawing our attention to something momentous. Jesus only died once to fulfill all the sacrificial requirements, including those for the Passover, the Day of Atonement and the other holy days offerings, the Sabbath, the New Moon—His one sacrifice satisfied it all. Yet, the date and time He was crucified do not correspond with any holy day, nor with any sacrifice that God commanded Israel to make! Rather, it corresponded with a much earlier event: God's covenant with Abraham.
David C. Grabbe
Why Was Jesus Not Crucified as Passover Began? (Part One)