The Passover Seder (3)

The Passover Seder (3)


“Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast.” (1 Corinthians 5:7)

Jesus Christ the Passover Lamb

a. The sacrifice must be a lamb (Exodus 12:3); Jesus was the Lamb of God (1 Corinthians 5:7; John 1:29)

b. The lamb must be without spot or blemish (Ex. 12:5); As was Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19).

c. The lamb was to dwell with them (Ex. 12:3,6); Christ dwelt among us (John 1).

d. The lamb’s blood is shed that they might have life (Ex. 12:6-7); The blood of Jesus was shed that all might have life (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24).

e. No bone was to be broken (Ex. 12:46); None of Christ’s bones were broken (John 19:33).

f. Blood must be applied to the door (Ex. 12:7, 22); Christ’s blood must be applied to our hearts by faith (Romans 3:25-26, and 10:9).

g. Safety only behind the blood-crossed doorways (Ex. 12:23); Spiritual safety only beneath Christ’s cross (Revelation 12:11).

h. They must eat the lamb (Ex. 12:8); We must feed on Christ (John 6).

Christ Fulfilling the Passover Feast. Each number below corresponds to the numbers in the Passover ceremony. Consider the many ways that Jesus fulfilled the Feast and its elements at the table. Keep in mind that the Last Supper inaugurated the Communion ceremony, the time-honored Eucharist.

1. Lighting the Candles. During creation, God said “Let there be light!” And He said it once again when He sent His Son to be the light of the world, the Redeemer. As the candles are lit by the honored woman of the house, so Jesus came into the world as the promised seed of an honored woman. The candles are lit at sunset to make a separation between a work day and a feast day. As is traditional, a circular motion is done with the hands of the woman to welcome in the presence of God’s Spirit. “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

2. The First Cup: Sanctification. As He began His final Passover seder, Jesus shared a cup of wine with His disciples, saying to them, “Take this and distribute it among yourselves. For I tell you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine again until the kingdom of God comes.” (Luke 22:17) It was probably during this first cup when Jesus said this. This first cup is also called Cup of Blessing, or Kiddush.

3. Washing the Hands. At this point in the Passover ceremony, Jesus poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciple’s feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Purification is not merely a matter of the hands, but of one’s whole being. “Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” (Psalm 24:3-4). Also, washing the feet of guests was a servant’s job. Jesus said at this point, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. For I have given you this as an example, so that you should do what I have done to you.” (John 13:5, 12-15)

4. The Green Vegetable. Among other things, the sprig of parsley represents the hyssop that the Israelites were to use when they marked doorposts with the lamb’s blood. This also reminds us of Jesus on the cross, the Lamb’s blood being shed, and how Jesus was given vinegar on a branch of hyssop. (John 19:29). Also, as Christians we have followed the Lord through the salty Red Sea of baptism, and have been redeemed into a personal relationship with God.

5. The Middle Matzah. The unleavened bread is a picture of Christ. It is made with pure flour and water without yeast, which is a symbol of sin and pride (1 Corinthians 5:7). After the dough is flattened, before it is baked, it is pierced and striped with a pointed tool to keep it from bubbling under the flame. During the Passion of Christ, He was pierced and flogged before He died. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). Also, the three squares of matzah sharing one napkin is called a Unity by the rabbis. This may represent for us the unique unity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The middle piece of the matzah is broken in two, representing Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, broken unto death. The broken middle piece is hidden, much as Christ was buried and hidden after His death.

6. The Four Questions. These questions are answered in the seder.

7. The Second Cup: Instruction. The Scriptures from this section tell the story. Discuss where Jesus can be found in Psalms 113 and 114.

8. The Washing of the Hands. Already discussed in #3. Also, don’t forget that the waters of baptism are also represented in this purification.

9. The Dipping of the Matzah. By dipping both the bitter herbs and the sweet haroset, we are reminded that even the most bitter of experiences can be sweetened by the presence of Christ and our hope in His love. Also, it was at this point that Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me. They were saddened and one by one they said to him, ‘Surely not I?’ ‘It is one of the twelve,’ he replied, ‘he who dips his bread into the bowl with me.'” (Mark 14:18-20).

10. The Dinner. May this feast remind us that Jesus is the Bread of Life and our Source for Everlasting, Everliving Water.

11. The Afikomen. The hidden matzah that was hidden and buried is now found, resurrected, as it were, and given to the leader. The leader distributes broken pieces of the afikomen to all present. It was probably at this point that Jesus said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

12. The Third Cup: Redemption. It was during this moment in the ceremony that Luke 22:20 happened: “He took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Also, the front door is opened for Elijah, hoping he would come to announce the coming of the Messiah. Before the birth of John the Baptist, an angel of the Lord said, “And he will go before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17). Later, Jesus spoke of John, “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:14). Finally, it was this same John in the spirit of Elijah who saw Jesus and announced, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Messianic believers also refer to this cup as the Cup of Resurrection.

13. The Fourth Cup: Praise. It was at this point that Jesus and his disciples sang a psalm, most probably Psalm 118. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Mark 14:26). Keep Jesus in mind as you read together Psalm 118. Many Biblical scholars believer that there is evidence in the Last Supper retelling that Jesus didn’t drink the 4th Cup, that He basically created a new Passover to be enacted from that time forward. They feel that He immediately went to Gethsemane to ask the Father that this cup pass by Him. It is believed by many that Jesus finally finished the new Passover on the Cross by drinking from the sour wine offered to Him at the moment of His death. He intended to drink the cup of Praise when the Passion was completed, when the Passover lamb was slain and the Messiah had been sacrificed. He finally drank the 4th Cup as He gave up His Spirit unto death, and the new Passover was finally completed.

14. Conclusion. Christians can freely and without reservation pray this traditional Hebrew Passover prayer. You might want to conclude with something like: “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”

15. Celebrate in Song and Dance. Sing songs of triumph… The Horse and Rider; God Has Spoken; Mary Don’t You Weep; and any others that will lead you to join Miriam, dancing and singing to celebrate God’s redemption story. Use any instruments you may have around the house… tambourines, piano, etc.

16. The Watch. Observant Jews have traditionally “Kept the Watch” following the Passover ceremony, which meant drinking more wine, praying, talking theology, reading scripture, discussing ideas and topics pertinent to the occasion. Here’s a question one could ask, “Why did Jesus choose the Passover meal to celebrate in the last meal of his life on earth? The Watch typically went on till late in the night.