On all other nights we eat bread or matzah.
On this night why do we eat only matzah?
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables.
On this night why do we eat only bitter herbs
On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once.
On this night why do we dip them twice?
On all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining.
On this night why do we eat only reclining?
My family, along with my church family and some friends from work, participated in a seder supper/Passover meal this past Sunday at my church. The supper was led by a rabbi of a nearby Messianic Jewish congregation. (A Messianic Jew is a Jew who believes Jesus is the Messiah). The same rabbi came to my church last year and I wrote about his teaching on the parallelism of the Old and New Testament scriptures, specifically the story of Abraham going to sacrifice Isaac as a foreshadowing of Jesus’ coming and death. This year, in both our Sunday morning service and at the seder, he taught the story of the first passover and pointed out the parallels between the first passover (as recorded in Exodus 12) and Jesus’ death as recorded in the Gospels.
The part that really hit me, that I had never known or realized before, was how the timeline of Passover events align with the timeline of Jesus’ death. In Exodus 12:3 it says each man was to take a lamb on the 10th day of the month and set it apart from the rest of the animals until the 14th day of the month. And then on the night of the 14th day every man in Israel was to kill their lamb. Fast-forward to Jesus times — Jesus’ triumphant entry (the modern-day Palm Sunday or Passover Sunday) occurred on the 10th of the month — the same day Jews were choosing their lambs for Passover. Four days later, on the 14th of the month, on the night before Passover, while Jews were at the temple killing their lambs, Jesus was killed. As the rabbi put it: as blood was running out of Jesus’ side, blood was also running on the altar at the temple. As lambs were being slain on the altar, The Lamb was being slain on the cross.
Wow. Just a-mazing. Ironic? Coincidence? There’s no way. What an awesome picture of exactly what Jesus death was — the final sacrificial lamb even down to matching step for step God’s original timeline for the Passover sacrifice. I shouldn’t be surprised, and really I’m less surprised than I am in awe. To me this is just another example of how awesome God is, but to Jews this is significant, crucial even to them being able to see Jesus as the Christ. The rabbi commented that he was not led to salvation by the Gospel of Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but the Gospel of Jesus in Genesis and Exodus. How great it is that there is a way to Jesus for everyone, that there is a word there for everyone to bring us all, Jew and Gentile, to Him.