Friday, April 22, 2011

Passing Over

"The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you." - Exodus 12:13

Last week some friends and I had a Passover Sader together. I loved studying the Scripture and the modern day Jewish traditions in preparation for it, but as we went through the traditions together, I was reminded of so many things that Jesus said and did, and how this Sader is not only for Jewish people, but has great significance for us as people of the faith of Abraham and followers of Jesus - Hanifi Christians, as we are called by some. Here are some Scriptures that came to my mind that enriched the meaning of the Passover for me...

Preparation of the table

*Candles - "You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house." - Matthew 5:14-15

*Lenin - "'Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.' (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)" - Revelation 19:7-8

*Basin & Towel - "Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him." - John 13:3-5

Partaking in the feast

*Bitter herbs - "The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it." - Matthew 27:34

*Salt water - "Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!I will praise him again." - Psalm 42:5

*Roast lamb - "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" - John 1:29
*Unleavened bread - "He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me." - Luke 22:19

Participating through declaration

*Scripture - "And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." - Deuteronomy 6:6-9

*Questions & Answers - "Remember, these instructions are a permanent law that you and your descendants must observe forever. When you enter the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to observe this ceremony. Then your children will ask, 'What does this ceremony mean?' And you will reply, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.'" - Exodus 12:25-27

*Prayers of Blessing - "From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ." - John 1:16-17

*Song - "He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord." - Psalm 40:3

Pouring four cups

*Cup of Sanctification - "You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. Therefore, say to the people of Israel: 'I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt." - Exodus 6:5-7

*Cup of Plagues - "Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all." - Isaiah 53:4-6

*Cup of Redemption - "After supper he took another cup of wine and said, 'This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.'" - Luke 22:20

*Cup of Praise - "What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people." - Psalm 116:12-14

At the end of the feast and ceremony, the traditional benediction is for everyone to say, "Next year in Jerusalem!" in the hopes that the temple will be restored and God's chosen people will be together again. While we do hope this for the Jewish people, our hope as the "extended family" of God is inspired by what Jesus promised as he passed the cup of praise to his disciples: "Mark my words—I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom." - Matthew 26:29. Our hope is in being with Jesus in his Kingdom, drinking with him at the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19)! So because of this hope, my friends and I altered the traditional phrase to include all those who believe in Jesus as Lord and King, looking forward to the day when all our hope is realized: "Next year in the New Jerusalem!" Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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