Jesus and Passover

Our family is Christian.  I grew up in a Methodist church in Ohio, my wife in a Christian Missionary Alliance congregation in Western New York.  We love and celebrate all that Jesus is and have desired to teach our children about the “Jewishness” of Christianity.  In that spirit, we have celebrated the Jewish holidays that Jesus celebrated… Shabbat, Passover, Purim, Feast of Weeks, Feast of Tabernacles and even Hanukkah.  Tonight we will celebrate Passover with some dear friends.  Here is our family’s Haggadah, or story book, that joyfully celebrates Yeshua in the Passover Seder.   It’s a little long, but it is chock-full of rich ties to Jesus.

The Haggadah for The Ronald Family

WELCOME (outside)
Welcome in the name of Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah!  Tonight we will celebrate Pesach (pah-SACH)… Passover.  This is the celebration of the most incredible feast in the Jewish and Christian calendars.  It intricately weaves a story of God’s power, faithfulness and love for mankind in both the Old and New Testaments.  It was celebrated in the Ancient World, in Jesus’ time, and is still celebrated in traditional Jewish homes today.

The first Passover was not a celebration.  It was a night of apprehension, fear and expectation for the beginning of a new journey for the children of Israel.  The Word tells us that the Hebrews were to take the blood of a perfect lamb, and paint it on their doorposts.  By following this command, the Angel of Death which moved through Egypt that night would “pass over” their homes.  But since the Angel of Death did not pass over Pharaoh’s house, and his first born son was taken from him, his hardened heart was finally softened and the next morning Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves go free.  This meal that we celebrate tonight, the Seder, is symbolic of the rush to leave Egypt and the bondage it represents.

We also celebrate the significance of Yeshua’s last meal, a traditional Passover meal, with His disciples in the Upper Room.  There is a lot of symbolism between the Old Covenant meal and the New Covenant meal.  We hope you’ll enjoy learning how Yeshua tied the two meals together… and how it is applicable for us all tonight.

Tonight, we tell a story, the Haggadah, of how the blood of a lamb saved the people of God in the Ancient times… and still saves today.

John 1:29: The next day, John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Reading: Luke 22:7-20

Come, let us go up…  to celebrate the Passover together!

THE SEDER PLATE
As we gather, you’ll see the Seder plate.  It contains items that we’ll talk about tonight… unleavened bread or Matzah, bitter herbs, an egg, sweet apple mixture called the “Charoset” … parsley… and a lamb bone.  As we tell the story tonight, we encourage you to take in the sights and smells, tasting each ingredient, and listening to every word… to hear and see and feel the truth of God’s love for us.

LIGHTING THE YOM TOV CANDLES
Like the Sabbath meal, tonight we light the Yom Tov, or the festival candles.  There is traditionally a candle of creation and a candle of redemption.  Light is a symbol of God’s presence.  In Him there is no darkness.  Tonight is a special night for we’ll see first-hand that Yeshua, the Light of the world, is our true redemption.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu B’mitzvo-tav v’tzivanu l’hadlik neir shel yom tov.

ALL:
Praised are you O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us through the commandments and the death and resurrection of Yeshua, our Messiah, the Light of the World and the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.  Praised are you O Lord, our God, King of the Universe who commands us to light the festival lights.

SONG:
Shine, Jesus, Shine
Fill this home with the Father’s glory.
Blaze, Spirit, blaze.  Set our hearts on fire.
Flow, River, flow.  Flood the nations with grace and mercy.
Send forth your Word, Lord, and let there be light. (repeat).

KADDESH, THE CUP OF SANCTIFICATION
We’re going to drink four cups of wine, or grape juice, tonight.  They represent four promises God gave to Moses in Exodus 6: 6 and 7.  At your table, please pour the first cup for us to drink together.  And while you’re pouring, let me tell you what the four promises were:

1.    I WILL bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
2.    I WILL free you from being slaves.
3.    I WILL redeem you with an outstretched arm.
4.    I WILL take you as My own people and I WILL be your God.

The first cup is the Cup of Sanctification.  In the Old Covenant, the Hebrews were saved by the blood of the lamb.  In the New Covenant, we are sanctified by the blood of Yeshua.  Tonight, we celebrate our freedom from sin and the bondage it represents. Let us lift our cup together and bless the name of the Lord!  And when we raise our cup, let us do so with our right hand as it symbolizes strength and the right arm reminds us of our Messiah, our strength.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen.

ALL:
Praised are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

URECHATZ, THE WASHING OF HANDS
The Urechatz is symbolic of the purification of the priests in the temple.  Let us consider what Yeshua did at the Passover meal.  John 13 describes how he washed His disciples feet… let me take you there… think of the rocky and dusty roads of the hills of Galilee and the hills of Massada.  Think of the cobblestone streets in the old city of Jerusalem… Think about in the Ancient Days when the master would be gone on business for a day or several days, having traveled under the hot, sizzling Israeli sun, and coming home tired and worn out and feeling like his feet were going to fall off.  And the slave, his servant, comes and meets him at the door with a towel and a basin of water to wash his feet.  Oh, this is great comfort and a soothing relief.  He is the master and this is his due.  And the other, his servant, his slave, his property… this is his position and he belongs to the master.

Now, Jesus is so incredible!  HE takes that towel and that basin of water, and HE the Master, God in the flesh, God incarnate, God with ten fingers and two legs and two arms and two eyes and two ears and a mind and a heart that feels like we do… GOD took that towel and that basin of water and HE washed the feet of His talmadim.  It’s easy to understand why Peter said, “NEVER!  Never shall you wash my feet!”  You see, because what Jesus had done is He had reversed the roles of the social norm of the Ancient Days.  Incredible.

So, as you dip your hands in the bowls of water on your table remember the promise of David in Psalm 24:  Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart… he will receive blessing from the Lord.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu B’mitzvo-tav v’tzivanu ahl natielat yah doyeim.

ALL:
Praised are you O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us through the commandments and the death and resurrection of Yeshua, and who has commanded us to wash our hands and our hearts tonight.

KARPAS, THE PARSLEY AND THE TEARS
The Parsley is the Karpas.  It is fresh and it represents life!

But life in Egypt was a life of pain for the children of Israel… suffering, tears, turmoil.  Together now, we will take a sprig of parsley and dip it into the bowl of salt water, remembering that life is sometimes immersed in tears.  May our gratitude for the blessings we enjoy today help to soften the pain of sorrow… and convert tears of mourning to tears of joy!  Also, remember the greatest tears shed, those of Yeshua in the Garden just after he celebrated Passover… tears of blood… tears of submission… tears that said, “If you could, take this cup from me… but, not my will, but, Father, your will be done.”  (RVL teaching about this, the fifth cup…)

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen.

ALL:
Praised are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

YACHATZ, THE MATZAH
On the main table here, we have a stack of Matzah… unleavened bread.  In the Ancient World, leaven or the yeast, the ingredient that makes the bread rise, can symbolize sin.   Tonight, we eat “sinless” bread.

I’m going to take three pieces of Matzah… and take the middle Matzah and break it… and take the piece of broken Matzah and put it here in the cloth… This is called the Afikomen, and I’m going to hide it for dessert later.  So, I need all the children to close their eyes as I hide the Afikomen.  Okay?

(Hide the Afikomen and place the remaining broken piece of Matzah back in between the other two and place the stack back in front of the table host).

Can someone tell me why there are three pieces of Matzah?  In the Old Covenant, they might represent Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  But, why break Isaac, represented by the middle Matzah?  In the New Covenant, we can suggest that the Matzah represents God the Father, God the Son, Yeshua and God the Holy Spirit.  The broken Matzah, called the Lechem Oni, is the Bread of Affliction (Deuteronomy 16:3), and it can symbolize the death of Yeshua on the Cross at Calvary.

MAH NISHTANAH, THE FOUR QUESTIONS
The children of Israel were preparing to leave the land of bondage… and oh, how this night is different from all the other nights… this meal is different than any other meal.

A child asks:
1.    On all other nights we eat bread OR matzah.  On this night, why do we ONLY eat matzah?

The Answer:
Tonight we only eat the unleavened bread, because, as the children of Israel knew that they would be released from their captivity in the morning, the bread would not have time to rise.  We remember their haste… and we eat the bread without yeast, without sin.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.

ALL:
Praised are you, oh Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth… the bread of life!

(EAT MATZAH)

2.    On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables.  On this night, why do we ONLY eat bitter herbs?

The Answer:
Tonight we eat the Maror, the bitter herbs, so that we might taste bitterness.  It reminds us how bitter it was for the Hebrews to be enslaved by Pharaoh in Egypt.  The slavery to sin is just as bitter.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu bidevaro vetzivanu al akhilat maror.

ALL:
Praised are you, oh Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has set us apart by His Word and commands us to eat the bitter herbs.

(EAT BITTER HERBS ON A MATZAH)

3.    On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once.  On this night, why do we dip twice?

The Answer:
Tonight we dip twice during the course of the meal.  The first time was with the Karpas, the parsley, as we tasted the tears of bitter circumstances.  Now, we will dip in the Charoset, replacing the tears with the sweetness of the hope we have in God to free us from bondage and suffering.  In the same way, the Hebrews were counting on God to free them from Pharaoh.  And, oh, how sweet the freedom was going to be after hundreds of years of slavery.

(EAT CHAROSET ON A MATZAH)

4.    On all other nights we eat our meals sitting at the table OR reclining on the floor.  On this night, why do we ONLY recline and sit on the floor?

The Answer:
Tonight we sit on the floor and recline because in the Ancient Times this was a sign of freedom.  Kings and royalty ate their meals leisurely while reclining.  We are not rushed or hurried by what tomorrow brings as the Hebrews were on the first night of Passover.  We demonstrate our sense of complete freedom by reclining during the meal.

THE SECOND CUP, THE CUP OF PLAGUES
(Refill your cup if you need to.)
When people defy the will of God, they bring pain and suffering upon themselves.  God’s law provides blessing and prosperity.  To deny His Law and to do evil brings destruction.  When Pharaoh defied the command of God to release the Jewish people, he invited curses upon himself and his people.  With the second cup we remember each of the plagues that God used against Pharaoh to bring him to the point of releasing the Hebrews from slavery and bondage.

A full cup is the symbol of complete joy.  Joy in God’s mighty deliverance to His children.  Joy in life through Yeshua!  We are going to diminish the wine in our cups to give expression to our sorrow over the losses which each plague exacted.

We’re going to take our pinky finger and dip it into the cup for each plague and allow a drop of wine to fall on our plate.  Ready?

ALL:
Blood!  Blood!  Blood!
Frogs! Frogs! Frogs!
Gnats!  Gnats!  Gnats!
Wild Beasts! Wild Beasts! Wild Beasts!
Cattle Disease!  Cattle Disease!  Cattle Disease!
Boils!  Boils!  Boils!
Hail!  Hail!  Hail!
Locusts!  Locusts!  Locusts!
Darkness!  Darkness!  Darkness!
Death of the Firstborn!  Death of the Firstborn!  Death of the Firstborn!

DAYENU, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!
Great and numerous are the kindnesses which the Lord extended to the Jewish people… and for each of his kind acts, we offer thanks and humble gratitude.  Any one of these would have been sufficient to show His love for us, His compassion for His chosen people.  How great God’s goodness is!  We declare “Dayenu! It would have been enough!”

If the Lord had merely rescued us, but had not judged the Egyptians…
ALL:  DAYENU!  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!

If He had only destroyed their gods, but had not parted the Red Sea…
ALL:  DAYENU!  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!

If He had only drowned our enemies, but had not fed us with manna…
ALL:  DAYENU!  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!

If He had only led us through the desert, but had not given us the Shabbat…
ALL:  DAYENU!  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!

If He had only given us the Torah, but not the land of Israel…
ALL:  DAYENU!  IT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENOUGH!

But, the Holy One, blessed be He, provided all of these blessings for our ancestors… and not only these but so many, many more!

ALL:
Praised are you O Lord, our God, King of the Universe.  You are our Jehovah Jireh, our provider, for you have in your love and mercy supplied all our needs.

THE PASSOVER LAMB
Much could be said about the significance of the Passover Lamb and Yeshua, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  The lamb shank on our Seder plate represents the Lamb of that first Passover whose blood saved the Children of Israel.

Think about the smell of a lamb being roasted over an open fire.  Believe it or not, that smell is a delight to the Father.  It fills His senses with delight for us, His chosen ones… His children.

Exodus 12: 8, 11, 12, 13 and 46

That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with the bitter herbs and bread made without yeast.  This is how you are to eat it:  with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand.  Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.  On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn, both men and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the Lord.  The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.  No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

(The lamb) must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house.  Do not break any of its bones.

There is a red scarf on your table for each one of you.  As we now give thanks and eat our Passover meal together, we encourage you to wear this red cloth, reminding each of us of the blood of the Lamb, painted over the door of our home, and worn over the door of our hearts… and remember that the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Yeshua, was made to spare us all from the Angel of Death… to give us Life!  John 10:10 reminds us, in the very words of Yeshua: I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

(Pray for the meal and provide eating instructions).

WE NOW EAT OUR PASSOVER MEAL TOGETHER

THE AFIKOMEN, THE DESSERT
Our Seder meal tonight follows God’s plan for redemption.  The first two cups of wine we drank before the meal speak of God’s redeeming us from Egypt and the bondage it represents, through the blood of the lamb and God’s great acts of power!

Now, after the meal, we’ll focus on the resurrection of Yeshua and His looking forward to His second coming.  This Passover Seder is a rehearsal of God’s complete redemptive plan.

Now, let’s talk about the Afikomen:
The word “Afikomen” means dessert.  It is the last food eaten at our meal tonight.  Remember when I hid the Afikomen earlier?  It is time for the children to go and find it and bring it back to me.

(Children go and find Afikomen).

To the child who brings the Afikomen:  Thank you!  Here’s a small reward ($1) for finding it.

It is said that in a traditional Seder meal, the child who finds the Afikomen barters with the father concerning a price to be paid.  The father then gives the child a gift in the form of a down payment as his promise to the child who found the Afikomen.  The father then promises to make the rest of the payment at a later time.  In the Jewish tradition, this is called The Promise of the Father.  In this, we understand that God paid a great price for our redemption.

Now, what does the Afikomen represent?  Remember how we took the middle Matzah out and broke it and wrapped it up in the cloth?  And now it has been found again!  This Matzah represents Yeshua, the bread that was sent from heaven.  Notice how the Matzah has stripes on it?  Notice how it is has been pierced in the baking process?  As Isaiah 53 states: “He was pierced for our transgressions…  and by His stripes we are healed.”

At the Last Supper, in Luke 22, Jesus said, “This is my body given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me.”  The Passover cannot be completed without the Afikomen.  Nor can our redemption be complete without Yeshua, the Bread of Life, our Messiah.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.

ALL:
Praised are you, oh Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who brings froth bread from the earth… the bread of life!

(EAT MATZAH)

THE THIRD CUP, THE CUP OF REDEMPTION
(Refill cup as necessary.)

In the Ancient Days of the Old Covenant, the first cup after the Passover meal expressed gratitude for the freedom which the Lord God granted His people.

But again, during the Last Supper in the Upper Room, Jesus did something different.  You see, it was the custom in the days of Jesus’ time that when a man desired to marry a woman, he went to her father and offered him a cup of wine, “take and drink” he would propose.  If the woman’s father accepted the cup, it was his way of saying “yes, you may have my daughter’s hand in marriage.”

During this last formal meal together, Jesus offers bread as His body and then he offers His talmadim a cup and he says, “take and drink.”  It was His way of saying “I want to marry you.  You are my bride.  Will you accept my proposal?”  And as His disciples accept by taking the cup and drinking, Jesus says that he won’t drink the fruit of the vine again until the Kingdom of God comes (Luke 22).   That will be when the Father tells the Son that He can go get His bride, the church… us!  Oh, how Jesus loves us… passionately… as a bridegroom loves his bride!  He demonstrated that passion throughout His ministry, but perhaps not so intimately as when he offered this cup of redemption to His closest companions, His talmadim, in a quiet upper room.

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen.

ALL:
Praised are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

ELIJAH THE PROPHET
God gives this section of the Passover Seder to teach us that before Messiah returns, Elijah will come (Malachi 4:5).  The Messiah always has a forerunner, a preparer of the way.   During the first coming of Yeshua, Jesus said in Matthew 17 Elijah already came in the person of John the Baptist.  Luke 1:17 explains that John is of the spirit and power of Elijah.  So shall it be with the second coming of Jesus (Revelation 11)!

I’d like a child to go and open the front door of the house, celebrating that the Prophet Elijah has already come once and indicating our readiness to receive Elijah again when Jesus returns to come and take His bride, His church, us, to Heaven!

ALL:

We celebrate that the Prophet Elijah has come once as Elijah and again as John the Baptist and we await with great joy the coming of the Messiah, Jesus!  Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!

 

(Now, the front door is closed.)

THE FOURTH CUP, THE CUP OF PRAISE
(Refill your cup as necessary.)

Let us life one more cup tonight, the Cup of Praise and let us give thanks to God… for we are His people and He is our God!

Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheynu Melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen.

ALL:
Praised are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

THE HALLEL, PSALM 136
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.

ALL:
And His love endures forever!
THE BLESSING OF AARON BY MOSES (Numbers 6:24-26)
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make His face to shine on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord turn His face toward you all the days of your life
And give you His peace.

“NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!”
Lashanah haba’ah bi Yerushalayim!

Thank you for joining us for this wonderful celebration of truth, redemption and a looking forward to our Messiah’s return.

We’d like to encourage you to take time during the coming days to read the whole story of Passover in Exodus.  It is so powerful to see the compassion our Abba, Father has for His chosen people.  For us!  For you!

We are all called to live the Sh’ema, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and might, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Know that God desires us all to walk in relationship with him and His son, Yeshua.  It’s not a “religion.”  It’s communing with Him daily.  Praising Him first thing in the morning and continuing to do so until you fall fast asleep each night.

The Word is true.  The prophesies are true.  Jesus came to fulfill the Old Testament Law not to abolish it.  Isn’t it amazing how the first Passover, celebrated 2000 years before Jesus celebrated it with His disciples, has such meaning now that we know Yeshua IS “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.” ?

May you be blessed in your relationship with Yeshua!

The Ronald Family

 

Portions of this Seder are from a booklet by Barbara Balzac Thompson, published by Augsburg Publishing House, (c) 1984.

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