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Jesus in the Passover

Shalom! Our Jewish friends just celebrated Passover, and I must confess – I am completely nerdy when it comes to Jewish Feasts. I’ve traveled to Israel several times and I’m obsessed with their traditions. In fact, the symbolism of each feast nearly slays me in the Spirit!

Passover table

Photo courtesy Photobucket

I’ll try not to get too detailed, but I can’t let this week go by without getting a tiny bit nerdy. Will you indulge me?

The Passover Seder commemorates the nation of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery, and is rich with symbolism.

Consider the:

  • Karpas – parsley dipped in salt water, representing the tears shed under their oppression.
  • Maror – bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness of slavery.
  • Charoset – honey, nuts and fruits, reminding them of the sweetness of their freedom.

What’s more intriguing is to think of how the elements unveil Jesus’ journey to the cross. For example,

  • Zeroah – roasted shank bone, representing the sacrificial lamb. Zeroah is the transliteration of the Hebrew word for “arm” or “wing” so it also symbolizes God’s outstretched arm and deliverance.
  • Hallel – traditional songs/psalms sung during the meal, telling of the deliverance Jesus would offer. Listen in:
The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me…
~Psalm 116:3
This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
~Psalm 118:20
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone…
~ Psalm 118:22-23

One of the most interesting elements of the Passover meal? The matzo, or unleavened bread. In the Old Testament, yeast (or leaven) symbolized sin. It’s easy to see Christ symbolized here, but look a little deeper.

Kiddush cup with matzoMatzo is striped and pierced, representing humility and affliction. (Hello, Isaiah 53:5!)

The Passover meal begins with three pieces, and Jewish tradition offers multiple explanations for this.

My two favorite:

Three classes of people in ancient Israel: Priests, Levites, Israelites
Three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob

Messianic Jews, who recognize Jesus as the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Passover Feast, offer this explanation:

The Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit

I especially love this explanation when you consider what happens with the second piece of bread, the Afikomen. This tradition is believed to have started in the Middle Ages, in an attempt to keep the children quiet during the long meal.

Sometime during the Seder, this piece is broken, wrapped in a linen napkin and hidden, then brought out at the end of the meal and shared by the family. Guess what this piece represents?

CrossSalvation.

Isn’t that amazing? (Be careful, your nerdiness is showing)

The amazement and wonder carries into all the Spring Feasts when you study how Christ Jesus perfectly fulfilled each one. But that’s more nerdiness than I think you can stand in one post ☺

What are some of your Easter traditions?

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Thanks for stopping by. I’d love to hear from you!

42 Comments

  1. Vonda Skelton

    Thanks for the explanation, Susan. I’ve never really investigated the meanings of the Passover dishes. Just think, one day we’ll share meals at Jesus’ table. Too amazing to even grasp!

    • Susan

      So true, Vonda. I long for the day! (Maybe He’ll let us sit together if we promise to be quiet?)

  2. TK Sharpley

    VERY informative, Susan. Thanks for sharing!
    It’ been almost 20 years since we made the banners at FBC.
    Many of our Bible studies, while making each of the banners included studies of the Jewish symbols, traditions, holidays, etc. These banners were not made just for decor. We did in depth studies of each of the names of Jesus, as well as the Old Testament names of God.
    We studied Jewish traditions, history, and symbols, and prophcies that Jesus fulfilled.
    THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IS RICH WITH REVERANCE (sadly, this is something our current Christian culture seems to have lost).
    Thanks again for setting the tone for the rest of the week! and thanks for reminding me that I can celebrate Christmas and Easter EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE!

    • Susan

      TK, I ALWAYS think of you when I see a banner at FBCR. They’re gorgeous and I remember Doyle talking about all the thought and planning that went in to each one.

      Amen on the rich reverence of our Jewish friends. They’re never casual in their approach to God. Thanks for stopping by today!

  3. Tereasa

    I don’t consider myself a nerd about all the feasts, but I do get excited about the passover. When we were worshiping in our home, we often celebrated the Lord’s Supper with the traditions of the Passover. I was so excited when I learned what you shared about the Matzo. It was so fun to share it with the children!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Tereasa! Passover is one of the best feasts to study because there are so many elements. I’m impressed that you incorporated Passover traditions into the Lord’s Supper. What a rich experience that is!

  4. Debbie

    Jesus is so present in the symbols of the Passover. What an informative post! If only more would recognize that He truly is the Messiah and receive Him. May their eyes be opened to The Truth.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    • Susan

      Amen, Debbie – may God’s chosen people come to know Yeshua as Messiah! We had two Jewish guides in Israel, and still pray for them. They’re so close!

  5. Lynn

    Susan,

    Thank you for letting me start my day with this knowledge. It is truly amazing and so poignant.

    • Susan

      Love you, Lynn 🙂 Have a great week!

  6. sandi

    Wow! I think I need to print this out and memorize! What a beautiful way to show us what the Passover is all about. I am also wondering if the second piece of bread would have kept me silent at a meal…………naaaaaah!!! 😀
    Thank you for this post!! SHARING!!!

    • Susan

      Instead of printing it out, you could just haul me around with you all day 😉 And you’re right — you’d never stay quiet for the Afikomen… U KNOW 😎

  7. Anna Popescu

    Susan, I love this! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I’m going to print it out to keep in my Bible.

    Blessings…
    ~Anna

    • Susan

      I’m glad you found it informative, Anna. It totally changes the way you approach the Lord’s Supper. Thanks for stopping by today!

  8. Hester Christensen

    Susan,

    This is really fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I shared this with a couple friends too. Love you dear and have a wonderful Easter.

    Love, Hester 😉

    • Susan

      Thanks, Hester! I hope they enjoyed it. It’s nice to spread my nerdiness around 😉
      Love you too, and hope you and those sweet boys have a great Easter!

  9. Glenda Mills

    Susan,
    I’ve had the joy of being part of a sedar meal. I love the part where the piece of bread is missing and then finally revealed. Such symbolism and vivid instructions and traditions truly bring the picture of Jesus, our sLvation and deliverance from sin.
    Thank so much for sharing. Actually I see no nerdiness whatsoever… just a heart that loves Jesus and loves to share truth that bring Him Light and Glory.
    Hugs,
    Glenda

    • Susan

      You’re a sweetie, Glenda. Isn’t it great to be part of a Seder? My head spins with all the symbolism! I’m glad you don’t think I’m a nerd 🙂

  10. Mandy

    It IS amazing. We attended Seder meals with our prayer community when I was growing up. This post brings back pleasant memories and helps me understand it more on an adult level:)

    • Susan

      What a great heritage you had, Mandy. I imagine it was confusing as a child, but once you learn about how Jesus fulfilled the feast, it takes on an entirely new meaning. Awesome!

  11. Positively Alene

    Such beautiful words and sentiments. Incredible the symbolisms and memories. My heart stirs this week. Love our Savior!!! JESUS.

    • Susan

      Thanks for taking time to read and comment, Alene. I know this week is hectic and I’m praying for you! And I’m right there with you — loving Jesus 🙂

  12. Anita Taylor

    Love the info, as you know I was raised Catholic & they are full of traditions. When I was growing up every Lent we have fish on Fridays, no meat for sure. On Good Fridays we attend a High Mass that last for hours, yes hours, we re enact the Cruxifiction of Christ. Also we recite the 7 last words of Christ in Latin, which can be found in the following verses, not in Latin tho: 1) Luke 23:34, 2) Luke 23:43 , 3) John 19:26, 4) Mark 15:34 , 5) John 19:28, 6) John 19:30 and 7) His last word Luke 23:46. But now I like to celebrate life than death. The only Latin words I remember are Christ’s last word “In manus tuas, domine, commendo spiritum meum” ( Into thy hands, oh Lord, I commend my spirit ). Thanks for the info Sus.

    • Susan

      Wow Anita, a mass that lasts for hours? That’s a lot to take in! And if you’re only going to remember a handful of Latin, you’ve chosen well 🙂

  13. Julia Tomiak

    Thank you so much Susan. I know virtually nothing about the Jewish faith, and I’m pleased you shared your “nerdiness”! Thanks for these fascinating details.

    • Susan

      We’re all nerdy about something, aren’t we, Julia? Glad I could share some of my nerdiness with my favorite word nerd 🙂

  14. Jamie Britt

    Oh Susan, what an informative post! I certainly didn’t hear about this growing up…and even in the church I’m in now I don’t hear about it. See? That’s why I’d love to have you as a Sunday School teacher! Love you!

    • Susan

      Love you too, Jamie! Glad you enjoyed the post, and I’d love to have you in class ANYTIME 🙂

  15. Jeanette Edgar

    If this is nerdy, I’m in! Several details I did not know. Fascinating and meaningful. Thank you!

    • Susan

      Glad you liked it, Jeanette! Great info for the kids too 🙂
      Thank you for stopping by. Hope y’all have a GREAT Easter!

  16. Jacqueline @ Deeprootsathome.com

    Susan, We have celebrated the Seder feast twice as a family. We felt it brought the Exodus and the Bible to life for us…really the details weren’t nerdy to me at all, but rather beautiful 🙂 Have a blessed week and Resurrection celebration!

    • Susan

      Thank you, Jacqueline!

  17. Nikki

    What proof that God’s glory will prevail!
    LOVE it!
    I must be nerdy cuz I want to know more:)

    • Susan

      I figured you had a little nerdiness in you, Nikki 🙂
      Have a GREAT Easter!

  18. Dawn

    Thanks for this! Have always meant to do more research in this but haven’t so was do glad to read this- thanks for sharing your non-nerdy knowledge 🙂

    • Susan

      I could study the Feasts non-stop, Dawn. So much to discover about the Lord there!
      Thanks for taking time to read and comment. SO enjoyed chatting with you!

  19. Diane W. Bailey

    I love the history of Passover, it give so much richness to our celebration!

    • Susan

      It really does! Brings things into focus and shines the light on Jesus.
      Hope you have a great weekend with the family, Di 🙂

  20. Dolly@Soulstops

    I appreciate it when you share the history behind it and the symbolism of the meal…those glimpses of Jesus in the Old Testament….so encouraging 🙂 Praying you have a very joyful Easter with your family, Susan…appreciate you 🙂

    • Susan

      Happy Easter hugs to you, sweet Dolly! Hope you’re rested and ready for a fun weekend 🙂

  21. bluecottonmemory

    What you taught me has encouraged me to have one next year – this year, though, I’m working my way into it – I bought my first lamb, some parsly and I want to do the honey, nuts and fruit. I love nerdy stuff – I didn’t know until I attended my first Bat Mitzah a long time ago that the Catholic Mass was taken from the Jewish church service – except we added the gospel and communion:) Thanks for the delightful lesson!

    • Susan

      Thank you for taking time to read and comment, Maryleigh. You’ll enjoy preparing the Seder, and I know your family will learn a lot!

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