Why would our family want to celebrate the Passover if its a Jewish holiday?
Jesus. He was/is Jewish. And for me—anything to do with Him is enough to learn more about how He walked while He was here.
This meal was the last supper—as I take part in it with those I love…as I remember Palm Sunday…as I remember the road to Calvary…I remember His last meal…I join in the same feasting He joined in…and I begin to understand His ways in a new way.
Had the Israelites not put the blood of a sacrificied lamb on a doorpost, they would have never entered the Promised Land. The promises of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would have been null. And there would have been no pathway for the Messiah, OUR PASSOVER LAMB! Understanding the Passover…what it means…and taking part in it—is to understand Your Savior and His special people in a new way. He saved the first borns…He brought His first born back to new life after being the sacrificial lamb…and after all that—HE SAVED ME! For this…I want to celebrate!
The hard part of all of this though—is that the Jews…His precious people…missed Him as Savior. Many of our precious friends are Jewish—and if you are one of those and reading this…please know we do not write about Passover and Jesus together to make light of your faith, heritage or history—but to celebrate it…as it was the history of our Savior as believers. And we truly believe that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah who you now wait. I promise…we aren’t crazy. We aren’t brainwashed. We are just sinners saved by grace. We have just come to the alter broken and asked God to help us see truth…and in our journeys we have met Jesus. I know for some it will sound crazy…but Lord willing, if you meet Jesus one day—you, too, will understand. We love you dearly—DEARLY. DEARLY. Truly, we want to sit at the table with you. Because we love you. But we also invite Jesus to our table…because our hearts long for more of Him in our lives. And although we understand His presense at our table as being different from your table—we see that when we invite Him to the table it makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world to the meaning of this meal. When you see the Seder with the Savior at the table…it all begins to make sense—for both the Jew and the Gentile. And He welcomes not only the Jew…but also the Gentile.
Seder – “God directs this special night of the year, to take on the role of teacher, and pass down His story of the exodus from Egypt to future generations. This ceremony not only looks back to the miraculous story of God delivering His people, but it also presents the promise of Messiah’s death and resurrection. It is an exciting experience centering on a mixture of ritual foods. The matzah, bitter herbs, wine, and the rest, provide lasting link through the march of history.” – A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson and Linda Pierce
This dinner, Seder, can be celebrated with your family. The host will have a pillow at his chair to lean on…remember all the paintings you have seen of the last supper with Jesus and the disciples leaning? Ever wonder why they lean on one another?? Leaning during the dinner is a sign of free people. Slaves stand. Free people lean. On this special night the people will lean while they eat symbolizing the Israelites freedom from Egypt.
Every plate will have a Haggadah “the telling” (a prayer book) and inside is a script of what the host and the participants will say. The cover of a traditional Haggadah would look like this…
And inside you would find the order of the evening. If you are a believer you would want to follow the Messianic Haggadah which recognizes Jesus as the already coming Savior.
Preparing the elements of the table…(What you’ll need)
The table is prepared with the Seder Plate and the elements (don’t worry…there is actually a bigger meal other than what is on the Seder Plate during the dinner!). Each element on the Seder plate represents something symbolic in the journey of the Israelites during their enslavement. These elements will be eaten throughout the night during the telling. The Seder plate…(Ours is from Target and actually looks more like the first picture in the post:)
The foods you will find on the Seder plate and their meaning…
Karpas/Fresh Greens (Parsley or celery) dipped in salt water – for new life and the hyssop used to sprinkle blood on doorpost. The salt water reminds us of the tears of the Israelites in bondage.
Roots of Herb (onion) – for our roots being bitter (slaves to Pharaoh) – this will NOT be eaten and stay on the table to remind us of our roots.
Bitter Herbs (horseradish) – for bitterness of bondage
Haroset (yummy mixture of apples, nuts, grape juice, and cinnamon—click here for a yummy sample recipe)– represents mortar of the bricks the Israelites used to build Eqyptian cities during slavery.
Roasted Egg – symbol of life
Shank Bone of a Lamb – symbolizes the lamb eaten before the Israelites fled Egypt.
Matzah – you can buy this already made:) or follow this recipe.
The Four Cups and unleavened bread – (this is for wine or grape juice). We will eat only unleavened bread (without yeast)—yeast represents sin…which “puffs you up”…and this week we will remember the one without sin, our Savior. The cups represent the expressions of redemption (coming to the Lord, dealing with sin, the Lord covering and redeeming us, and enjoying the kingdom in praise).
The table is set.
The candles are lit by the woman of the house…and it’s time for the blessing…
As she prays…hearts are prepared.
The father brings out the Seder plate and introduces each element’s meaning. Three of the foods God tells us to eat on this night…the others were added by men to help us remember Passover. He explains the four cups…two we will drink from before dinner and two after. The four cups at the Seder represent the four expressions of redemption – bring (Cup of Sanctification), deliver (Cup of Judgement), redeem (Cup of Redemption) and take (Cup of the Kingdom).
It is time for the first cup…
…To be sanctified means to be set apart…we set apart this time to honor the Lord…and to remind us to be set apart for His purposes…we remember how God set apart His people in Eqypt…we drink from this cup while we lean to remember that we were set free from bondage as the Israelites were set free…
It is now time for the washing of the hands…the father washes his hands in a basin and explains…
We wash our hands to express our desire to live clean lives for the Almighty God…we remember how Jesus humbled himself the night of Passover and washed the feet of His disciples…help us Lord to serve as you served…to love as you loved…
The children watch…taking it all in…
Hearts are renewed…
And worship begins.
This…is truly understanding Passover.
Eating of the Karpas…the father dips the parsley in salt water and passes them around the table for all to share…This symbolizes the lowly origin of the people and the tears that were shed in Eqypt…help us Lord to also remember the tears that were shed on the cross over us…for our sake…so we might know you and live through you…
Three Pieces of Matzah…are wrapped sacredly up and await on the table. The bread is flat without yeast…yeast symbolizing sin and this bread—symbolizing being without sin. The three pieces symbolize the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit…
This was also the type of bread that the Hebrews had to take with them when they left Egypt…it was the only bread that could pack to take with them on their journey. But this bread is also a picture of Christ…He is the bread of life…He explains in John 6:48-51 that our fathers ate manna in the wilderness but that he is the living bread…
The center bread is taken out and the father breaks it in half.
He was broken for us.
And then the father wraps the broken matzah in a white cloth.
He was wrapped in linen…prepared for burial…and laid in the tomb…
The other half of the matzah is put back with the other two pieces…and the wrapped up matzah is hidden for the children to later find. If you ask a Rabi why they do this tradition, he will say it’s to entertain the children. But why do I think God allowed an element to be broken, wrapped and hidden for a time? I do believe my God had a purpose. And how He LONGS for His chosen people to see it and understand.
Open our eyes Lord to more of You. Help us to not miss you in this life. Help us to see you at our table. Meet with us Father…we praise you for Your Son…His brokenness…but we also praise you today that He did not just stay in the tomb…
Now we ask the little children to close their eyes while the other half of the broken matzah is hidden…called the “Afikoman” (Greek for “that which comes after”). Whoever finds this later…will receive a reward!
And He who finds Christ…the risen Savior…will, too, receive a reward…life eternal…worshipping Him with joy…and knowing Him and enjoying Him forever…
What a beautiful picture…that for the believer in Christ is so easy to see…yet some have not seen…some don’t understand…and this is what we pray for…that His chosen people will understand and see Christ for who He really is. In Isaiah we see Jesus so clearly…and in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—all that was prophesied comes to past. A miracle indeed! As Christ rode on the donkey on Palm Sunday…this was the day that had been awaited! This was the day that had been prophesied for centuries. And they shouted in “Hosanna!” as he came through town. Oh that our hearts would shout this this Holy Week. Hosanna…in Hebrew meaning “save, I pray!”…may all your people seek truth and find it as they come with open hearts to know You.
Exodus 12:25-27 “And it shall come to pass, when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, “What does this service mean?” That you shall say, “It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Eqypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses.”
And the littlest child at the table now has the honor to ask the questions that the Lord said they would ask…
Even they are remembered at His table.
And He longs for them to know Him deeply too.
Then…the story is told.
The story of Passover.
The story of the Israelites and the passover lamb that was sacrificed…blood painted over their door frames would be a sign to God to pass over that house and not take the life of the first-born son living there. Yet…most Jews today who celebrate Seder don’t know Jesus as their Savior and miss the beautiful symbolism here. Jesus was God’s first-born Son. He was the sacrificial Lamb of God on our behalf. And When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming, indeed he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God.” Indeed, this was a very powerful thing for him to say.
Jesus had the Passover Seder like this one the night before His death. And you can see Him everywhere in it today. The Matzah is striped and pierced just like Jesus was striped and pierced for us. The center Matzah (the Afikoman) is broken–wrapped in cloth and hidden away…just as Jesus was broken, wrapped in linen and buried in the tomb. The ENTIRE passover ritual was simply a foreshadowing of Christ…as is Genesis, Exodus…Psalms…Hosea…Isaiah…Ruth…our Redeemer is everywhere in the same Old Testament the Jewish people read today.
Isaiah 53…such a beautiful scripture to read aloud as the story is finished…and then another cup.
And at our Seder…it is time for the 2nd cup…the Cup of Judgement…Jesus did not want to drink of this Cup of Judgement but He did because He wanted the will of His Father. And He knew what it would mean for us. Praise Him that He drank from this cup so we will not have to!
The father now walks through the meaning of the elements and leads the family in eating the Matzah, the bitter herbs and Haroset.
The children hunt for the Afikomen wrapped in cloth…and the child who finds it gets a ransom…a reward. The large meal is served…family time is shared…and a sweet dessert enjoyed. And then we return to our Seder ceremony.
Our Passover dinner has been eaten…and now it’s time for the children to find the Afikoman (matza bread that was broken, wrapped in linen and hidden) and the child who finds it will get a reward…
The Afikoman is then broken around the table for each person to have a piece…and it is time for the Third Cup…the Cup of Redemption…
The father of the home explains this cup…Jesus ate the Passover meal as an obedient Jew…he drank from the first two cups, but did not drink from this cup as we will tonight. Jesus excluded himself from drinking the third cup he was without sin and He excluded Himself from redemption by not drinking the third cup. Yet the next day, Jesus, who knew no sin would become sin for us…He died to redeem us.
A traditional hymn is sung as a family as our hearts move from remembrance into praise.
The Fourth Cup…the Cup of Praise.
Just as Jesus took time to praise at the end of the Passover dinner with his disciples, we too sing our praise…to the King of Kings that was the sacrificial Lamb of God for our sake…and worthy of all our praise…
casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,
They parted my garments among them,
and upon my vesture did they cast lots.
And sitting down they watched him there;
And set up over his head his accusation written,
THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
With one last bit of strength…he took a deep breath—and uttered His final cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”
And it was finished.
Three days later.
A miracle happened.
And this part of the story…is not told at traditional Jewish Seders. Instead, there is an empty place set at the Jewish table for Elijah the prophet, the honored guest at every passover. The Jewish people expect Elijah to one day show up at the passover to announce the coming Messiah. A place is set…wine glasses are filled…and at one point in the night children even run to the back door to yell for Elijah’s name as part of their tradition. But not at our table.
At our house, we celebrate as the Messiah has already come! And through Him—and only through belief in Him—you and I are offered a REAL, PERSONAL relationship with our Father! And because of our relationship with Him…our lives look different from the world. Our lives following Him are never quite what other expect…just as Jesus wasn’t what the Jewish people expected either.
I am convinced.
My Savior Lives!
Blessed are you O LORD, King of Kings, God of the universe! Thanks be to You the Sacrificial Lamb…who was…who is…and who is to come! You are our Savior! Our Redeemer! The One, True, Perfect Lamb of God!
Visit Light of Messiah Ministries for more information on Jesus in the Passover, Passover presentations or Jewish holidays and what they mean.