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!
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.
- 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…
This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
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.
Matzo 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?
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 ☺