Celebrating the Passover Lamb
By Chris Mitchell
Middle East Bureau
CBN.com - JERUSALEM
- This week marks the celebration of Passover for Jews and the beginning
of Holy Week for Christians around the world.
For a growing number of Messianic Jews in Israel and elsewhere,
the holiday has double meaning: commemorating the time of deliverance
for the Jewish people, as well as the sacrifice and resurrection
of the Messiah.
For days, Jerusalem has been filled with preparations for Passover,
one of the most important of all Jewish feasts. It commemorates
the deliverance of the Jews from the slavery of Egypt.
Some of the most visible and colorful preparations took place in
the orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Many Jews brought their
cookware to be cleansed in large vats of boiling water to make them
kosher for use in the Passover.
On the streets, people burned Hamatz. Hamatz is any food like bread
that contains leaven. All Hamatz has to be removed from Jewish houses
to fulfill the biblical command found in the book of Exodus to cleanse
their homes of leaven.
Instead of bread, Jews will eat Matza or unleavened bread for the
seven days of Passover. Prior to the feast, it was a time of intense
"Cooking and cooking and cooking and cooking. If you don't have
everything done as far as cleaning then you're in trouble," said
"It is a holiday when the family all sit together," explained one
Jews here in Jerusalem and around the world are observing the Passover.
Among the diverse Jewish groups observing the traditions handed
down over 3,000 years ago are Messianic Jews. Jews who believe that
Jesus is the Messiah.
"There's six elements put around the Pessach plate," said Uri Marcus,
a Messianic Jew. He sees within the elements of Passover a reflection
of God's salvation through Yeshua, or Jesus as the Messiah.
"As a Messianic Jew, we don't have to look very far to apply our
own traditional views of these elements, the matza which is inside
of these covers, into our own understanding of what and who Yeshua
was as the Messiah. It's all a picture of redemption. Redemption
for the world from the beginning of time until the end of time,"
"It fits very well with everything that the New Testament teaches
us and everything that Yeshua Himself commanded us," he continued.
Steve Schneider is another Messianic Jew. For him, Passover signifies
not only national redemption but personal salvation.
"Passover to me is a joyous, joyous occasion as I recognize that
all of the elements that are celebrated are all pinpointing and
focusing in on Yeshua, my Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God,"
"It's a family gathering that we as a family that can come together
and celebrating that which was commanded by the Lord God of Israel.
To commemorate year by year, in light of what has taken place, of
that great deliverance that God brought about so many thousands
of years ago," he explained.
"And in Jesus’ day, if I had asked you for a Passover meal
you would have been so concerned not to touch any leaven that you
would have brought your own dish and plate along to eat from it,"
said Elfie Gill of the Biblical
Many believers in Yeshua believe Jesus not only celebrated the
Passover meal, but fulfilled it. It's this fulfillment with Jesus
as the Passover Lamb that many Christians rejoice in at Easter.
At the Biblical Resources Center just outside of Jerusalem, they
explain the significance of the Passover meal and the relationship
between the observance of Passover and celebration of Easter.
"Once you finished with the meal you would ask the youngest child
to look for that special piece of bread called the afikoman," said
Gill as she explained the meal to a group of participants.
"That was also the piece of bread Jesus took that night. ‘This
is my Body, broken for you’ — the afikoman. Now when
you say, you break it, you wrap it, you hide and then take it out,
doesn't it also symbolize the Body of Christ? Broken for us, buried
and resurrected. And I'm sure God is saying to each one of us, eat
from that bread which is the living Bread," she continued.
"You would share it among you and then you would take the third
cup of wine called the cup of redemption," Gill said. "And that
was the cup that Jesus took that night when He said, this is the
blood of the new covenant, my blood shed for you for the forgiveness
of sins. Take you all from it and as often as you do so, you proclaim
my death until I come back again. You know, I always remind people
here that we have a beautiful promise — He's coming back one
It's this promise of his return that is a source of hope for messianic
"At this time we have a very special meaning for Pessach. We can
celebrate it with more vigor than ever, with more faith than ever.
These are times with anyone with open eyes to the Torah and to the
Prophets and to the writings and to the New Testament can see with
much clarity that God is working the ends. We're about to enter
the end of days and we're looking forward to it," Marcus said.
"We want to encourage believers the world over to raise Israel
up especially during this season, Passover, Pessach, because it
is a season of redemption,” Marcus said. “It is a season
of our protection. It is a season that points us to the reality
of the world it will be in a Messianic age that God would be King
over all the earth."
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