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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Seder

We gathered last night for our Seder meal to celebrate Passover and commemorate The Last Supper of our LORD. What a joy to see Jesus in the symbols and rituals of The Feast of Unleavened Bread, including the elements on the Seder plate, pictured here. God has given us a physical manifestation of the spiritual truths fulfilled by the Messiah with His first coming. Christians who reject the feasts of the LORD as only Jewish customs miss such a moving and beautiful expression of God's love for us, Jew and Gentile alike.

Last night, I was struck anew with how Jesus is portrayed by the matzoh. Like Jesus, it is pierced, striped and bruised. Like Jesus, it is unleavened bread ... the Bread of Life, without sin. Like Jesus, the middle matzoh is the one of three -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- that is broken, hidden away (buried), searched for and brought back. At the Last Supper, when Jesus came to this part of the meal, He established a new covenant. He broke the matzoh, gave it to His disciples and explained that this is His body which was given for us. In the order of the Seder, drinking from the third cup -- the "I will redeem" cup -- follows the breaking of the bread. Jesus gave it to His disciples and explained that it is His blood, shed for us for the forgiveness of sins. Thus, within the Seder, we celebrated communion in remembrance of Jesus the Messiah, Christians grateful to be grafted into the Hebraic vine of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

Have you ever wondered why Jesus said, "I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom" (Matthew 26:29)? Knowing the meaning of the four cups drunk during the Seder meal explains it. To the Jews, the four cups represent the four expressions of the deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6-7:

6 Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

1. the first is for Kiddush (קידוש) "I will bring out", which the Jews understand to be the choosing of Abraham.
2. the second is for 'Maggid' (מגיד) "I will deliver", the Exodus from Egypt.
3. the third is for Birkat Hamazon (ברכת המזון) "I will redeem", which the Jews understand to be the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile. As a Christian, I believe the correct interpretation is that this is God's redemption accomplished by the suffering servant Christ, the Passover Lamb whose blood was shed to deliver us from sin. I believe this interpretation is supported by the fact that this cup is the one Jesus used at the Last Supper to establish His new covenant.
4. the fourth is for Hallel (הלל) "I will take", which the Jews understand will happen at the end of days. Indeed. We will be taken in the blink of an eye and enter the kingdom of King Jesus, where Jesus will once again drink the cup anew.

The fourth cup points us to the return of Christ, the Second Coming of the Messiah, at the end of this age when He will establish His kingdom on earth. He is coming soon. Are you ready?

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