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a messianic passover seder.

April 7, 2012

For the past few years I’ve had somewhat of a fascination with Jewish culture. It kind of goes along with my recent love for liturgy/church history. I just think there’s so much lost when we don’t understand the traditions of those who have come before us in our faith. So much of the Bible’s meaning is lost by us when we don’t understand the history and traditions behind those who wrote it (namely, Jews).

A few years ago, my family celebrated Passover with the help of a young Jewish guy. I remember it being an enriching and fun experience. This year, Colby and I decided to host a Passover Seder for our lifegroup. I made two roasted chickens (lamb seemed a bit out of my reach at this point), edited (read: shortened, ha) a Haggadah Colby found online, and set a table for 5 of us (Art was traveling for work…we missed him!).

Why celebrate Passover as a Christian? Like I said before, for one, I just simply have an interest in Jewish culture. I also believe that the celebration of Passover can draw us closer to Jesus during the Easter season.

The aspect that struck me most this time was that as we read through the Haggadah, it pointed out  aspects from the story of Jesus’ Last Supper (found in Luke 22 among other places). This was fascinating to me; I guess I never thought about it before. For those of you who don’t know, the Passover Seder is a program that has been followed year after year since, you know, the Exodus. It’s super familiar for Jews. I honestly never thought about the fact that the Last Supper followed the same program that millions of other Jews had followed before him and still follow to this day.

At the beginning of the Seder, everyone is to wash themselves to become ceremonially clean. Our Haggadah told us that usually a servant would be the one washing the hands/feet of the guests, but on this particular night, Jesus washed his disciples feet (John 13:3-10). This would have strongly signified to them that he was taking the role of a servant.

At one point during the Seder, we were instructed to make a sandwich of matzoh, bitter herbs, and charoset (a mix of apples and raisins to symbolize mortar that the Israelites made). This sandwich is called “sop.” It’s tradition to hand the sop to a loved one. Our Haggadah told us that during this part of the Last Supper Jesus spoke of his betrayal. John asked who would be the one to betray him, Jesus said, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread…” and he handed it to Judas  (John 13:21-30).

All of this is so interesting to me. It helps me to place Jesus in a context. It blows my mind that I’ve missed so much before when reading that passage, yet Jews reading it would have such a better understanding of what was going on because of the familiarity of the Seder.

Besides all of these specifics, the Seder is just full of beautiful imagery that would resonate with any Christian. Freedom from slavery, redemption, communion with God, thankfulness…it’s all in there, and it’s beautiful the way that this tradition pointed to Christ thousands of years before he ever came to earth.

We ended our Seder in the traditional way, saying, “Next year in Jerusalem!” We even recorded it on video…

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2012 8:40 pm

    you guys are the coolest. i can’t wait to be in your life group.

  2. April 7, 2012 9:18 pm

    oh man you guys are so great. loved the video and your laugh.

  3. Judy permalink
    April 9, 2012 6:05 am

    Incredible! Jesus was telling Judas that He loved him, even as he was revealing what he was about to do. Whoa. Thanks for posting this!!!!

  4. April 9, 2012 11:39 am

    loved reading about this, even though I was there, hah! Thanks for all your hard work in preparing this chels! there is nothing more to say except…..wait for it…

    “NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM”

    {or fullerton if we don’t get out} ha love ya

  5. January 4, 2013 1:48 pm

    next year in jerusalem! next year in jerusalem! haha. so glad we got that on film

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