I have not met a nice Jewish girl who I am trying to impress or anything like that, so don’t worry (or get too excited), but this goy is going to write yet another
Passover celebrates the liberation of the Children of Israel (as they were known at that time) from slavery in
While the Egyptians were still mourning their terrible loss, the Children of Israel picked up their belongings and took the gap, heading for the border - well, not really the border. In those days there were no customs and excise, or immigration officers waiting to stamp the passports. If there were, it is doubtful that Rameses would have sanctioned the issuance of such passports to the “workforce.” After almost 400 years in
Moses spoke to God, God spoke to Moses and then Moses addressed the people – “Fear not, The Egyptians you see today, you will not see again. Stand and see what God will do. The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be silent.”
On God’s command, Moses held out his staff over the waters as a tour guide might hold out his umbrella indicating to his party the general direction in which they must move. And, in a sense, that was what he was doing. As he pointed his staff, there was an unbelievable gale, and the waters of
Subsequent to this the celebration of Pesach was instituted as an annual commemoration and celebration of those events. Please note that this celebration wasn’t some Israelites idea for a reason for a party, it was COMMANDED by the Lord. God organized the whole thing, and for a very important reason. The whole Pesach Seder (Order of events at a Passover meal), is designed to teach the children about what God had done. I note, as an educator, that God employs the techniques of repetition, modeling and involvement. Firstly repetition, every year of a child’s life, he/she hears how God saved His children from the slavery of
Roughly 1400 years later, in
During the meal, Jesus took a piece of the unleavened bread, (Matzos) and having given thanks for it, He broke it and said, “Eat this, all of you, for this is my body, broken for you. Do this, as often as you eat it, in rememberance of me.” Later, He took the cup, and after having given thanks for it, he said, “Drink this, all of you, for this is my blood in the New Covenant, given for you. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Thus was the beginning of the Christian Communion Service. Very simple – involves two elements – Bread representing Jesus' body, and Wine, representing Jesus’ blood. These things remind us that Jesus gave himself for our Salvation. His death on the cross that would take place before the end of that day (remember the Jewish day ran, as it does now. from Sunset, to sunset)
After what has become known as The Last Supper, Jesus was betrayed by Judas with a kiss, arrested, tried not once but at least four times (two illegal trials before Jewish leaders, one before Herod Antipas, and one before Pontius Pilate), given over to be lashed with a cat-o-nine-tails, and then ultimately crucified on a wooden cross between two criminals. But that was not the end of the story. After Jesus had died, the Roman officer presiding over the crucifixion pierced his side to ensure that he was dead; his body was removed and placed into a borrowed tomb. On the third day, a group of women went down to where he was buried to perform the normal rites relating to death. But instead of finding His body, they found an open tomb, and an angel appeared, who said to them “Why do you look for the Living amongst the Dead, He is not here, He is alive”. And so the events of the resurrection unfolded until all of the disciples and many others saw Jesus alive again. Christians commemorate this day on what is called Easter Sunday. That, like Pesach, is an annual celebration of our liberation, by means of Jesus and His Resurrection. But most Christians celebrate Communion a lot more frequently than just once a year.
I think it is safe to say, that for the Jew, Pesach is the “high holy day” of their year; the most important event on their annual calendar. In the same way, for Christians, Resurrection Day, (or if you like, Easter) is the most important event on our calendar. It is not important that we become hung up on ritual and rigmoral, but just as it is important for Jewish children to understand why “this night is different to all the other nights of the year”, so it is very important that Christian children understand that the holiday is not about the “Easter Bunny and Easter eggs” but what the day is really all about.
I had wanted to explore a question that was provoked from an article I read this morning about how, regardless of the current circumstances Jewish people are experiencing, every year, they celebrate Pesach. As we know, and as I alluded to in my last
Some might wonder why God had to COMMAND the celebration. Why make it a matter of law. Surely the jubilant Israelites having seen God move so mightily would want, of their own accord to celebrate this wonderful day, and tell the future generations too. Well, considering that they wondered in the wilderness for 40 years after that, I wonder if they would have still been celebrating by the time they got to
How and why?
How could they say we are free, when they were in the midst of such terrible circumstances? This reminds me of the psalm that inspired the Boney M song, “By the rivers of
Sometimes it is hard to sing when everything around us seems disastrous, but instead of becoming despondent, it is in times like these that Jews need to remember Jerusalem – and remember that they have been liberated. Christian need to remember the Resurrection. Regardless of the prevailing circumstances, there is no opt out on Pesach. Christians, even in the midst of persecution and difficulty, we must continue to remember that Jesus IS alive, and we ARE saved.
This is cause for rejoicing. Habakkuk 3:17 – 19 says:
“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vines, the produce of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord. God the Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the deer’s. He makes me tread on my high places.”
When we look around and see things falling apart, we can still rejoice, because our security is not in the circumstances but in our relationship with the Lord. We know that the Lord will see us through and that ultimately we will spend all eternity with him. As we look back at our liberation, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and look forward to the consummation of that liberation when Jesus returns. Just as, having passed through the Red Sea, the Israelites looked back and saw the waters cover over and destroy their enemies, so we, when Jesus comes back, will see how God will deal with those who refused to bow the knee to Jesus.
If you’re feeling down today, start singing, and rejoicing and celebrating your victory. It’s not a case of wishful thinking, and it is not a case of “being positive”, but having faith in our God to accomplish that which we are not capable of. Another verse that springs to mind, and I will end off with this, was written by Jesus half-brother, James, in his letter to the church in Chapter 1, verses 2 . “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of many kinds”