Sunday, 24 March 2013

Passover for Christians

Matthew 26 v 2; 26-29; 1 Corinthians 5 v 7-8; Exodus 12; John 1 v 29-34.
For 30 years my family, friends and I have kept the Passover Seder because Jesus said it was important. It contains powerful truths largely overlooked by Christians. We do not keep Passover as a bondage to the law of Moses but because Jesus Christ was the Passover Lamb.

When Jesus was born it was in a stable in the special area where the Passover lambs were selected and set apart for the feast. The lambs had to be first born males without any blemish.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, who were Gentile converts to Christianity and told them to keep this Passover feast because Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us.

The first Passover was in Egypt when Moses and Aaron confronted Pharoah for the final time. They told him that if he did not release the millions of Hebrew slaves to worship their God that before morning the eldest male child of man and beast in Egypt would be dead. Pharoah refused.

God told Moses that every household of the Jews must slaughter a lamb and apply its blood to the doors of their homes. When the angel of death came down that night every home with the blood of a lamb upon it would be spared the death of their eldest son.

The next morning there was a great cry throughout Egypt as every home and even Pharoah had lost a son. Pharoah commanded the Jews to leave and go into the wilderness. As they left in haste the bread had not risen as there was no time to put yeast or leaven in it. They called it Matzos. They pierced it and when cooked it had stripes across it.

During the Jewish Passover feast a person takes a broken half of matzo wrapped in a linen serviette out of a stack of 3 matzos and hides it under a cushion. A child will find it later in the feast.

The Matzos are a symbol from Heaven to the Jews who remain blinded to this day. They will look upon Him whom they have pierced and weep as for an only Son. It even has stripes on it as He was lashed 39 times. The broken matzo is taken from a stack of three matzos wrapped in linen and hidden under a cushion.  The three indicate the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus was wrapped in a linen shroud after He died and was put in a Tomb covered by a rock.

Every time the Jews celebrate Passover they are re-enacting the death and resurrection of Jesus without ever knowing it! One day they will know the full truth of what they are doing. The symbol of Jesus' resurrection is when after the Passover Supper the matzos is found behind the cushion and brought to the table.

The Last Supper was a Passover Seder in which Jesus instituted the Communion. We always end our Passover Seder by celebrating Communion with the broken matzo and the grape juice poured for Elijah. It's called the cup of Elijah and is never drunk at a Jewish Passover, nor do they have Communion. In Matthew Jesus took The Cup - it would be the Cup of Elijah - indicating that the Messiah has come.

Jesus' last meal with His disciples was special and had a purpose that should have been a memorial for Christians too. After the Passover meal Jesus was arrested and examined by Pontius Pilate who found no fault with Him. This was equivalent to the High Priest choosing a spotless lamb for Passover sacrifice. Pilate washed his hands of the decision to crucify Jesus like the washing of hands ceremony that happens during the Feast. When the lambs were slaughtered Jesus was nailed to the Cross to die.

In the first Passover in Egypt the blood of a lamb protected the Jews from death. When John the Baptist first saw Jesus he cried out Behold the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world. Between Egypt and the Cross God demanded the sacrifice of lambs and other animals for forgiveness of sin. Now God provided His own sacrifice, Jesus the Lamb of God, whose Blood covers the sins of every human being and saves them from everlasting death in Hell.

The matzos are symbolic of the Living Unleavened Bread that came down from Heaven. Leaven is linked to sin in the Bible.

He invites you all to participate in the Passover this week and to do it in remembrance of Him.

Prayer: Heavenly Father Through the original Passover and Exodus of the Jews You brought them to the Promised Land. Through our obedience to this memorial You have brought us to a wonderful freedom in our fellowship with You. I pray for everyone to discover the blessings of Passover for themselves. We also pray for the eyes of every Jew to be opened to the reality of Jesus as their Messiah. In Jesus' name. Amen.