Pesach- A blessing for Jewish people, Messianics and Gentile Christians
It is an amazing providence that both the Jewish people and the Passover have been preserved. Exodus 12 provides the background when God delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt. A male lamb without blemish was killed on the 14th Nissan and amazingly Yeshua (Jesus) was also crucified on the 14th Nissan.
Blood was applied on the doorposts and lintel. Jesus is most assuredly ‘The door of the sheep’ (John 10:7). They ate the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Leaven represents sin so had to be removed. Since Yeshua was sinless, He is the only one who could forgive sin and provide atonement for sins. The bitter herbs were a reminder of the bitter suffering whilst in slavery in Egypt. Then the firstborn of the Egyptians was slain, though the Lord passed over the Israelites.
Why the blood and the need for atonement? God is pure and holy in entirety and we are not. Our sins separate us from God and only He can make us righteous before Him. ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for souls; (Lev. 17:11).’ Similarly, ‘Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22).’
The Seder Plate
Sometimes we forget that at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 it was initially a matter of contention concerning what requirements were required for Gentiles to be followers of Yeshua! Let’s also remember the increasing number of Messianics (Jewish believers in Jesus the Messiah) who will undoubtedly enable Gentile Christians to understand the full implications of the Seder and Pesach.
Indeed the Jewish Messiah is the Saviour of the World and without the Tanakh, how can one possibly understand the New Testament? Before Passover, every trace of leaven is removed from the home. The Seder table and plate are set. Matzos bread (unleavened bread) is pierced and striped. This foreshadows Jesus the Messiah who was sinless, pierced for our transgressions and by His stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5; c.f. Psalm 22:16; Zech. 12:10; John 19:31-37; 1 Peter 2-21-25, Rev. 1:7).
The contents of the Seder Plate and what they represent are as follows…
Zeroah (shank bone) Reminder of Passover (Pesach) offering
Beitzah (Egg) Reminder of festival offering brought to temple on Pesach
Maror (Horse Radish) Symbolize bitter suffering when slaves in Egypt
Haroseth (Apple, Walnuts, red wine) Symbolic of bricks and mortar
Karpus (Parsley) which is dipped in salt water. Represents salty tears whilst in slavery
Chazeret (Bitter Herbs) bitter suffering whilst enslaved in Egypt
Aphikomen and Communion
The connection between Pesach and the Lord’s Supper should be carefully considered and the context, timing and meaning is astoundingly clear from the synoptic gospels (Matt. 26:2, 17-18; Mark 14:1-2; 12, 14, 16; Luke 22:1, 7-13, 15).
A fascinating tradition takes place at the Seder. Three wafers of unleavened bread are used. The middle one is broken (aphikomen) and then put in a white napkin and subsequently hidden. At the end of the meal the children play a game and try to find it with a little help from the adults. It is then eaten when they find it.
The body of Jesus was broken and then wrapped in grave clothes and hidden away. He was crucified between two criminals. The timing of the Lord’s Supper (Communion) was to coincide with Passover. The disciples were to eat the bread and wine and to do that in remembrance of Him until He comes.
Next year in Jerusalem
The service ends with a prayer and the hope ‘next year in Jerusalem’. Where will Messiah come? To Jerusalem, and He will stand on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). The first coming of our Messiah including his miraculous birth, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension and fulfilment of prophecy is the certainty of His return. His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. One day we will meet Messiah either as our Saviour and Redeemer or as Judge. Since only Messiah could atone for our sins, no amount of prayer, good deeds or sacrifice can reconcile us to God.
So the question is, are you searching for Him at this time and have you come to trust in Him? Are you eagerly waiting His coming and when He comes will you be ready?
‘Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him (Psalm 34:8).’