Celebrate the Passover
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On this terrifying night, the Arm of the Lord was revealed to all—mighty to save His own—and terrifying to those who opposed Him. Te miracle of Passover also set in motion God’s redemptive plan for mankind. In His mercy and grace, God redeemed the Chosen People out of bondage in Egypt, creating a unique people and an enduring nation through which He would reveal Himself, and through which salvation would come to the world.
Te Bible entreats us to remember the Passover drama year aſter year, imparting the glory due God to the next generation. (See Exodus 12:24-27.) Te observance is experiential—partaking of the same foods the Israelites ate, such as matzo, “unleavened bread”—also called the “bread of affliction”—and responsively reading through the entire Exodus story.
“Behold the Lamb of God...” Woven into the rich tapestry of the Passover story is the powerful foreshad- owing of the coming Messiah. Although unleavened bread plays a prominent role throughout the Passover observance, the pivotal point of deliverance is the blood of the Passover lamb. Te Bible tells us that when God saw the blood of the sac- rificed lamb, He passed over the homes of the Israelites, sparing the lives of their firstborn. From that time forward, each year, lambs were sacrificed for the sins of Israel. When Yeshua came, his cousin John, who was immersing for repentance in the Jordan, recognized Him and an- nounced, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)! Aſter Yeshua’s final sacrifice, the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., and the sacrifices ceased, fulfilling Daniel 9:26: “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”
“This cup is the new covenant...” So integral to God’s redemption plan is the Passover, that Messiah’s last earthly event with His disciples was a Passover Seder, in which He revealed His impend-
ing sacrifice and brought light to the ele- ments partaken of during the traditional meal. Yeshua expressed, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15-16). Aſter offering the traditional blessing for the matzo and distributing it, Yeshua made this stunning statement: “Tis is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Luke records that likewise, He shared the cup aſter dinner, which is the third cup of the Seder—the “Cup of Redemption or Sanctification”— saying, “Tis cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
Te disciples must have immediately re- membered the day many had turned away from Him as He spoke a similar message in the Capernaum synagogue: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:51, 53-54).
Were the disciples beginning to connect the dots as Yeshua unveiled the symbol- ism of this yearly biblical observance? Te Gospels do not indicate an awareness on the part of the disciples of the dramatic events that awaited Yeshua over the next hours, even though Yeshua instructed them to keep this as a perpetual remem- brance of Him. It is from Yeshua’s last Passover Seder with His disciples and this mandate that Christians have instituted the Lord’s Supper or Communion.
“You Shall Remove the Leaven...” At Passover and throughout the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread, no food containing leaven, or yeast (called chametz in Hebrew), is to be consumed: “...you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything
2011 Calendar Passover (Pesach)
April 18 (Nisan 14) Sundown Leviticus 23:5 - “On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’s Passover.”
Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag ha’Matzot)
April 19-25 (Nisan 15-22) Sundown to Sundown Leviticus 23:6 - “And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.”
leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel” (Exodus 12:15). In some Jewish homes prior to Passover, an extensive “chametz hunt” is conducted by the entire family. Traditionally, leaven has been equated with sin.
Paul addressed the Believers in Corinth at Passover, making the same analogy. He admonished them to keep the feast of Passover, but to remember that they were “a new batch of dough” without leaven, without sin, because Yeshua, their Pass- over Lamb, had been sacrificed for them. Terefore, they should keep the feast in a way that is fiting and honoring to the Lord—not merely outwardly, but with a pure heart and with the “unleavened bread” of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthi- ans 5:6-8).
Tere is much more that is revealed in the Messianic Passover celebration, such as how the unleavened bread is a picture of the Messiah from Isaiah 53, the mystery of the three matzot, and the hidden Afiko- men. A Messianic Haggadah will help you navigate through the elements of your Seder, containing colorful commentary, Hebrew insight, Scripture readings, and traditional blessings. Go to www.je
to order your haggadah and see more Passover resources.
All Biblical references taken from NKJV. Jewish Voice Today 23
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