Passover, Easter and Jesus

Jews around the world start celebrating Passover today (April 14, 2014) to honor the time when God freed the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 13:3). Jesus, who’s Jewish name is Yeshua, and His followers also celebrated this holiday.

In fact it was the last time they shared a meal before the cross and is known to Christians as the “Last Super” or “Holy Communion.” It occurred during Passover week on Thursday night just before Jesus was arrested early on Friday morning, put on trial, executed, buried and arose from the dead (Matthew 26:17-35; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-13).

This year, 2014, is a bit unusual because the Jewish observance of Passover falls during the same week when both the Western Christian and Eastern Orthodox Church celebrate Easter. Each of these groups follow different calendars and it is unusual that the occasion falls during the same week.

seder meal

Passover involves more than wine and bread.

An interesting connection is the Passover meal that is referred to in New Testament of the Bible. That dinner included several other items not mentioned that are a traditional part of the Jewish feast. We know from the Gospels that Jesus and His disciples had Lamb meat, bread made without yeast (Mark 14:12) and wine (Matthew 26:29). But, what else was incorporated?

Jews call the special collection of foods and drinks the “Passover Seder.”  Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah see a strong symbolic connection between Yeshua and the Passover celebration. Read what our friends at CJF Ministries say:

“The Synoptic Gospels [Matt, Mark and Luke] reveal that the Last Supper was a Passover Seder, in which Jesus reveals the dual meaning of the meal. Where the Seder commemorates the redemption of God’s people out of physical slavery, it also commemorates the redemption out of spiritual slavery to sin.

“Similar to the Paschal [perfect young] lamb, Jesus, who was observed for a period of time and found to be without blemish, was offered up as sacrifice to defeat the hold of death on those who believe. His blood institutes the New Covenant spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.”

The items that are traditionally part of the meal include four glasses of wine, saltwater, unleaven bread and the Seder Plate that includes: a roasted lamb bone, hardboiled egg, bitter herb, Charoset (sweet paste made of fruits and nuts), parsley and a second type of bitter herb.

To me Passover and Easter is a time the Lord has given us as a reminder that in Him there is always hope. He gives us new beginnings and a certain hope well beyond wishful thinking.

For me it is the beginning of my semi-retirement and I’m not sure what that means yet. I know I will spend some time writing on this website/blog.

God Bless and Happy Easter,

Steve

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