Monday, March 5, 2012

I was reading in Deuteronomy today - and I noticed the way remembering the Passover was stressed and stressed and stressed again -" Do not forget that you were once a slave in Egypt."  Moses was speaking to people who were children at the first Passover, and now were 40-60 years old.  The ones who were the slaves had all died in the desert.  Yet they were reminded that they had been slaves in Egypt - and reminded of the God Who frees from servitude. 

Jesus did the same thing - at the "Last Supper" which in actuality was a Passover celebration, the One Who frees from servitude said to His apostles, "Do this in remembrance of Me." 

At every communion service, He is remembered - and He is remembered for setting us free - the children of slaves, and slaves ourselves until the moment when we realized we needed our Passover Lamb to save us.

Coming up on Passover time, we do well  to remember how much Jesus is represented in the Passover itself. I think this is especially true for those of us who are CI.

We are in a sort of slavery to whatever our particular CI is - and yet, He has made a way for us to be free, even as we wear the 'shackles" of illness.  He bought us out of the marketplace as slaves, washed us with His blood, and freed us - from sin, yes, but from being bound also.  On bad days this is often difficult to remember - all we see is the hedges that close us in, whereas if we look up, we see freedom.  All hedges are for our protection as well as a means of confinement. He is creating something special in us - for all eternity we will be an example of His keeping power, His freeing power and, when and if He heals us, His healing power.

Now, on to the feast!

The lamb, of course, is central to the ceremony - and an unbroken bone is included in the Passover plate as a reminder that the sheep was to be sacrificed without breaking a single bone.  In the original ceremony, the lamb's blood is put on the lintel (the top of the door), then the sides of the doorway - in one motion making the sign of the cross.  The matzos - the unleavened bread at dinner, is striped and pierced, the same way Jesus was.  The father of the house searches everywhere to find the leaven - for they are commanded to have no leaven in their houses for 7 days, and leaven is a type of sin, found everywhere in the OT and NT.  Father searches everywhere with a lit candle (the Holy Spirit.)  When a ceremonial piece of leaven is found, it is put in a paper cup and burned outside of the house.  Children run wild in the house, "helping" Father find the forbidden lumps of bread left here and there.

Bitter herb - a bit of parsley - and salt water - representing the tears of the slaves, are taken - each dipping the parsley in the saltwater.  This is what Jesus referred to when pointing out to John who His betrayer was - "He who dips in the bowl with me..."

And then we have the three matzos.  Father pulls out a bag with 3 compartments.  One whole piece of matzo in the top, one whole piece of matzo on the bottom.  But, in the center compartment, the matzo is broken in half.  Only half goes into its pouch, the other half is wrapped in linen and is "buried" by Father. This is the piece Jesus broke and said "this is my Body, broken for you." The piece that is buried is called the Afikommen.  That is not a Hebrew word.  It is a Greek word that means, "He will be back." 

Meanwhile, 3 cups of wine are passed.  The 3rd cup, which is our communion, is called "the cup of Redemption".  It is this cup that Jesus held when He said, "This is My blood, shed for you"

Then Father "suddenly" finds the Afikommen, and it is broken and passed to all. 

The youngest child in the house gets to as the 4 questions of Passover, beginning with the well=known, "Why is this Saturday different from any other Saturday?"  Then at the end, taking note of the table setting in front of the empty chair, the child runs to the door to see if Elijah is standing there, because Elijah is prophesied to come before Messiah comes.  Finding no one (yet) the youngster comes back and the Hallel Psalms are sung on the way out, as Jesus and His apostles rose and went to Gethsemane.

The garden at Gethsemane was actually a large portion of the hill opposite the temple.  Passover is one of the feasts of Israel where each male must appear before the Lord .  The population of Jerusalem would swell , as some estimate, from a few thousand to close to a million people, and many could not afford a hotel room - if there was one to be found - and so the families and single men camp out amidst the olive trees.

It is here Judas comes, leading a crowd of unruly men, presumably with torches, to the grove where Judas knew He would be.  It would have awakened all those in the garden with the noise and the torches - they would be staring and pointing and whispering to one another. 

The humiliation had begun. 

Those in the garden would have seen Peter chop off the High Priest's servant's ear - and seen Jesus heal him.  The servant would have been covered in blood all over his tunic.  I've often wondered what kind of man could have an ear chopped off in an instant, screaming with the pain and horror of it- then in another instant, cut off in mid-scream, be perfectly healed - no pain, no more blood, reach up and feel the ear completely whole and pain free, and then in another instant, arrest the and beat the One Who healed you.

It's an amazing feast - and I've really left most of it out!  If you want to check it out online at you will find many resources, from a book on the feasts of Israel to a video of the full ceremony. This feast was fulfilled so perfectly by the Messiah - and more and more Jews - and Arabs(all the children of Abraham) - are coming to know Him, as He has begun to lift the veil that has covered their eyes for 2 millennia.  Soon the cries of "Baruch haba Hashem Adonai" will once again ring out from the temple mount "Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the LORD!"

We live in an exciting time, as  prophecy is fulfilled before our eyes - we slaves who were not only set free, but adopted into His family. We have become His brothers and sisters -  all children of the Father, indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and saved by the Blood of the Lamb.

"Do this in remembrance of Me..."


1 comment:

MCAT said...

What a wonderful job you did at telling the story. Many a time friends and family have gathered at my home to a Passover Seder. One of Yeshua’s last earthly acts was teaching the Messianic meaning of the celebration of Passover. With his disciples, in the context of this celebration, Jesus revealed to them the mystery of God’s plan of redemption. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. With the covering of the blood of the Lamb, we become holy and spotless, clean and white, and are able to come before Yahweh, our God – our Father – our Abba (Daddy). “You should be aware that the ransom paid to free you from the worthless way of life which your fathers passed onto you did not consist of anything perishable like silver or gold; on the contrary, it was the costly bloody sacrificial death of the Messiah, as of a lamb without defect or spot.” 1 Peter 1: 18-19.