Thursday, April 17, 2003

Passover

Last night was Erev Pesach, the night of Passover. Because Genesis refers to evening and morning, in that order, the Jewish religious days begin at sundown. This year, 2003, the Jewish Passover season and Easter coincide. Last night, I could look at the bright rising full moon, marking Nisan 15, and remember the exodus of the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt and remember my own exodus from slavery to sin.

Jesus did not invent communion during the last Passover dinner. Rather he took elements that were already part of the meal and connected them with Himself. He did this a lot. He once said, "I am the light of the world." He said this during the Feast of Tabernacles when the tradition was to light huge bon fires on the temple mount.

On this particular Passover night, He took a piece of matzah from a bag containing three. According the Jewish custom, He blessed it, in Hebrew, "BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHENU MELECH HA'OLAM HA-MOTZI LECHEM MIN HA'ERETZ." which means, "Blessed are You Lord our God who brings forth bread from the earth." He was then to pass it around, but on this night He added something, "This is my body." This ritual that the Jews had done for centuries contained, according to Jesus, a picture of His death. Part of this broken matzah was wrapped in a cloth and hidden until the end of the meal, a picture of burial and resurrection.

After dinner, Jesus blessed a cup of wine saying, "BARUCH ATAH ADONAI ELOHENU MELECH HA'OLAM BORAY PRI HAGAFEN," "Blessed are You Lord our God who creates the fruit of the vine." Again, instead of passing the cup around, He first added, "This is the cup of the New Covenant in my blood." This Passover cup, after dinner,  is known as the Cup of Redemption.

When I was a teenager in the 1960's, there were no Messianic Jewish synagogues and Gentile churches did not do Passover. Now, some thirty-five years later, both are common. This is a good and remarkable thing.

All of this is to inform you of a good thing to know and explain, why my Hebrew's post will be delayed. My wife and I are hosting a Passover Seder for some 90 people. I am hoping that, as in many years past, the horseradish root that I prepare is potent enough to send me out of the kitchen gasping for breath; for then, I know, the partakers will shed many symbolic tears over our one time slavery to sin.

Let me leave you with a blessing from Ephesians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6, NASB)

Shalom

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