"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
We enjoy great freedom in Christ. We no longer have to observe the ceremonial laws we read about in the Old Testament. I've never participated in a sheep sacrifice or sat in a tent outside of my community during that time of the month.
“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” Exodus 12:14
We’re not required to observe Jewish Passover either, but out of a desire to know more about the life of Jesus, I have participated in a Seder a few times. Not because it was a requirement but because I suspected I might discover more of Jesus there.
I was right.
I attended my first Seder (the ceremony and dinner held on the first or second evenings of Passover) at age 35. It was a demonstration as we didn’t enjoy a full meal together and it took place a few weeks before Passover. A lady in our church suggested the event. She’d celebrated this dinner with her family and guests for a few years and offered to lead us. We had about 25 women at the event and she did a wonderful job of walking us through the Haggadah (text that sets forth the order of the evening).
The following year, our pastor was doing a series on the Jewish feasts and festivals found in the Bible. We didn’t host a women’s event because our host from the previous year gave a Passover Seder demonstration for our whole church. I still remember her tears as she explained to our church family how close she feels to Jesus when her family celebrates this event each year.
Last year remains my most memorable Seder to date. I had befriended two completed Jews, a mother and daughter, at a retreat. I knew parts of their testimony and had participated in a Seder demonstration they’d done the weekend of the retreat. Ever since that time, I had wanted to have a Seder meal with them and the women of my church.
In 2014, we did it. The matriarch, Sarah, had a few conditions. 1) She wanted to celebrate the event during the week of Passover. 2) If travel arrangements worked out, she’d like her son to come and lead us in the Haggadah. Traditionally, men lead this ceremony and it's a family event.
All of our plans came together in the most beautiful way. About fifty of us met in the home of a church member. The Seder typically takes place in a home and we wanted to adhere to this if at all possible.
This year, our ministry isn't hosting a Passover Seder. Freedom in Christ. We don't have to. I'll truly miss it but I have yet to figure out how to have enough time to do everything.
However, I’d encourage you to consider hosting a Passover Seder among your people. It's April 4-10 this year. Coinciding with our Christian Holy Week. I’m including links to a number of resources to help you understand this Festival better. Also a few to help you further study the Jewish faith from a Christian perspective. All are available at Family Christian Stores. Finding traces of Jesus in His Jewish faith only helps me grow in my own faith and in my love for Him.
Christ in the Passover - I have yet to read this one but it's right on point with what this article discusses.
Feast of the Passover DVD Study - One of the reasons I waited so long to participate in a Passover Seder was the intimidation factor. Studies like this one increase our comfort level.
Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes - I heard about this book from a friend of mine. It looks at the life and ministry of Jesus through a Middle Eastern cultural lens. I'm anxious to dig into this one.
Teachings of the Torah: Weaving Jewish History with the Christian Faith - The first five books of the Bible (or Torah) in the NIV translation interspersed with explanations of the Jewish culture in Bible times. I'm working my way through Numbers right now and this resource has already helped. Zondervan released this just a few weeks ago.
Mudhouse Sabbath: An Invitation to a Life Of Spiritual Discipline - Author Lauren Winner grew up Jewish. After becoming a Christian, she wrote a few books about finding her way to Jesus. I like this particular book because it educates readers on the parts of the Jewish religion Winner finds similar to Christianity. Also what's different and what she misses.
What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover: What It Means And Why It Matters - Again, a book written on this topic specifically. I haven't read it yet.
Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith - I have heard both authors, Lois Tverberg and Ann Spangler, speak here locally. Lois offers a wealth of knowledge about Jewish culture and the Hebrew language. Ann does an excellent job of making the facts of a Bible story applicable. Lois has also written Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet.
A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place - A Beth Moore study I have my eye on right now. In this one, she draws parallels between the tabernacle and our own lives as temples of the Holy Spirit.
The Sound of the Spirit - This DVD tells the story of Rivka, a modern-day Messianic Jew who finds herself living with extended family after she tragically loses both parents. Her aunt and uncle are still traditional Jews. The story gives you an idea of what it's like to really live Jewish.
I'm pleased to be partnering with Family Christian Stores for this Passover post. While the post is sponsored, the opinions expressed here are my own.