Passover - Nisan 14, 5779 (April 20-21, 2019)
Unleavened Bread - April 20-26
First Fruits - April 21
Sometimes it seems forgotten that the Last Supper of Jesus before He went to the cross was a Passover Seder. It was and still is an annual event celebrated by the Jews in commemoration of Moses leading the Children of Israel, as God commanded, delivering them out of slavery in Egypt. (Exodus12) As we will discover, this deliverance is a forshadowing of what Yeshua would eventually do to deliver all of humanity from the bondage of sin.
Traditionally a Seder is held in a home with family and friends which involves eating a symbolic meal while telling the story. Reclining on the floor is the proper way to conduct this lesson, although most people celebrating today use chairs and a table. The Ceremony begins with the lighting of candles by the lady of the household as she recites a blessing. Blessings continue as the meal progresses.
Next, a bowl of water is passed around with a towel for washing hands, symbolic of the temple washing. Jesus chose to wash the feet of His guests to teach them about servanthood. If I then, Your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. ~John 13:14
There is a script that is followed for a Seder called a Haggadah. It literally means "the telling." Many write their own Haggadah, but they are generally the same with some variation and last usually between two and five hours. Messianic believers in Yeshua, of course, include Him in theirs.
The Four Cups – First, the Cup of Sanctification
There are four cups of wine/grape juice consumed during the Seder. The first is called the Cup of Sanctification which represents being set apart from the world (holy). I Am the Lord; I will bring you out from the burdens of the Egyptians,... ~Exodus 6:6a Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. ~1 John 2:15
The Karpas And the Four Questions
Parsley (karpas) is dipped in saltwater and eaten with matzah. Parsley symbolized Springtime as the earth becomes green with life. Saltwater is tears, as we know are part of life. You have taken account of my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? ~Psalm 56:8
Four questions are asked, usually by a child, as the Haggadah is a lesson to contemplate: why do we eat only matzah (unleavened bread)?, why do we eat only bitter herbs (karpas and maror)?, why do we dip them twice?, why do we eat reclining?
As the ceremony progresses, the answers are unraveled. Remember in Part One, we discussed matzah, striped and pierced, and that leaven represents sin. Three pieces of matzah sit on the table called the bread of affliction. The middle piece, called the afikomen (the coming One), is removed, broken in half, wrapped in linen and hidden away (buried) to be found later on (resurrected).
The Maror, Matzah and Kharoset
Maror, horseradish, is the other bitter herb which represents the bitterness of slavery. It symbolizes the morter for the bricks the Israelites had to make for the Egyptians. It is eaten with matzah, then the karpas is dipped again in saltwater and eaten. Next maror is eaten with a sweet apple mixture called kharoset and matzah. It is a reminder that even in the bitterest of circumstances, there is sweet hope in God.
Reclining represents the quick exodus from Egypt. They were in a bit of a hurry and had no time nor room to bring furniture, but they were safe and the Lord gave them rest. Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. ~Matthew 11:28
The Ten Plagues
The story of the Exodus is briefly recounted, including the ten plagues. As each of the plagues, blood, frogs, lice, ....etc. are listed, each person dips a finger in the wine and puts a drop for each one on their plate.
As long as the Jews had a tabernacle and a temple they would sacrifice a lamb and eat it for Passover. They no longer have a temple and so no longer eat lamb for Passover but have a symbolic shank bone on the table as part of the teaching. Eventually some of them came to know, as we do now, the perfect sacrificial Lamb of God, who died on our behalf, but sadly many still await Him.
The Second Cup, Deliverance/Judgment
Next the Cup of Deliverance/Judgment is consumed. Not only did God deliver the Israelites, He brought judgment on the Egyptians and their gods. I will rescue you from their bondage,...~Exodus 6:6b
The Afikomen Is Found
During a break from storytelling, a regular meal is eaten and the children hunt for the hidden half of the matzah, the Afikomen. During Yeshua's time at the Lord's Supper, He identified Himself with this piece of matzah, "This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." ~Luke 22:19
The Third Cup, Redemption
This is the cup that is consumed during a traditional Lord's Supper. "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. " ~Luke 22:20
There is always an extra place setting for Elijah. One of the children is sent to open the door to welcome him, as he was expected to prepare the Way of the Lord... ~Isaiah 40:3 John the Baptist was identified by Jesus as having the spirit of Elijah and announcing the first coming (Matthew 11:14, Luke 1:17).
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" ~John 1:29
The Fourth Cup, Praise
The fourth and last cup of the Passover is consumed to conclude the celebration. It is Praise. The Name of the Lord is blessed with Psalm 136. This represents the Second Coming of Yeshua. All shout, "Next Year In Jerusalem!"