ALL ABOUT PASSOVER
Updated: Apr 19
Important Passover History And Traditions
Happy Passover friends! Pastor Melissa here with another blog post about Holy Week, and today we're going to be discussing PASSOVER.
Some of you might be asking yourself, "What exactly is passover?" Passover is the oldest and most important religious festival in Judaism, commemorating God's deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and His creation of the Israelite people.
The festival of Passover begins at sunset on the 14th of Nisan (usually in March or April) and marks the beginning of a seven-day celebration which includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The highlight of Passover is a communal meal, called the Seder (which means "order," because of the fixed order of service), which is a time to rejoice and celebrate the deliverance for the Hebrews that God accomplished through the exodus. The first passover occured after the plagues were brought upon Egypt during the enslaved of the Israelites. God told Moses to have the Israelites sacrifice a lamb and mark the doorframes of their homes with the lamb's blood. God would send the angel of death to Egypt and it would "pass over" the households that were marked by the blood of the lamb.
As many prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus, knowing the cultural Jewish soil on which Jesus walked is important to a mature and growing Christian faith. Here are a few steps to help us along the Passover journey.
Step One: Read in the Bible about Passover.
Jesus and the apostles were celebrating Passover at the Last Supper, because they were Jewish men with Jewish observances: "This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord - a lasting ordinance." (Exodus 12:14) "Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying ‘go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.'" (Luke 22:7-8)
Step Two: Attend a service at a messianic temple. Most congregations at a messianic temple are made up of both Jews and Gentiles. Or, you might consider having your own service in your home with family and friends.
Step Three: Learn traditional prayers that are said during Passover. You can find these online or you can learn them from a rabbi.
Step Four: Cook a traditional Passover meal. You can find out how to do so by obtaining a book about Passover from the library or search on the web. In the meantime, here's a list I've come up with for traditional Passover foods:
Matzoh: three unleavened matzohs are placed within the folds of a napkin as a reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt, leaving no time for dough to rise. Two are consumed during the service, and one (the Aftkomen), is spirited away and hidden during the ceremony to be later found as a prize.
Maror: bitter herbs, usually horseradish or romaine lettuce, used to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
Charoses: a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, as a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews in the construction of buildings as slaves.
Beitzah: a roasted egg, as a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence.
Karpas: a vegetable, preferably parsley or celery, representing hope and redemption; served with a bowl of salted water to represent the tears shed.
Zeroah: traditionally a piece of roasted lamb shankbone, symbolizing the paschal sacrificial offering
Wine: four glasses of wine or grape juice are consumed during the service to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet.
As a side note, remember to separate Passover from Good Friday and Easter celebrations. Jewish and Christian traditions are different and must be observed as such.
So you might ask yourself now, Should a christian celebrate Passover?
Some folks might debate whether or not it is appropriate for a Christian to celebrate Passover. Whether a person or family chooses to do so or not is a decision for the individual believer to make. While Passover remembers the Jews deliverance from slavery, it also is a depiction of Christ's atonement for His people and His deliverance of us from the bondage of sin. The end result is certainly worthy of any believer's consideration and could provide needed "bread for the journey" - whether it is unleavened or not!