Friday, 25 March 2016

Why a Seder? A Good Friday Tradition.

"But we're not Jews!"  I have lost count of the Christians who have said this to me when I tell them we do not do bunnies & eggs for *Easter* ~ a term I dislike but which is more readily understood by the world, Christian & secular alike ~ we do a seder instead.

There are several reasons why.  The first & the most important is The Holy Spirit directed me this way. He convicted me that there was something in the old rituals that was for Christians as well as Jews & I needed to investigate that.

Jesus Himself said "
Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matt 13:52

Romans says 11:17/18 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.…
The church has been grafted into Israel, not the other way round.  There is a richness in the root that helps feed & sustain the church.  As Christians we have much freedom in how we practice our belief but one of the deciding factors was I wanted to see Jesus.  I do not see Him in the pagan practices that have attached themselves to Christianity.  The seder is different.  Everything in the seder speaks to me of Jesus.

Firstly just knowing that every year of His life on earth Jesus took part in this ritual connects the believer with Him.  When He was the only child in the house the 4 Questions were questions He asked.  It was Jesus who would run & look for the Afikomen. He would remember Israel's exit from Egypt & eat the bitter herbs. He would sing the Hallel, those psalms of praise to God.  Every year. At Passover. It was probably the Great Hallel he sang before he walked through Jerusalem to pray in the garden.

 Too often we forget Jesus was a Torah observant Jew & a good many of the things He said that got the Pharisees so riled were said in the context of the festivals.  No wonder they thought Him both mad & blasphemous!

The Passover was both literal & prophetic so everything foretold Christ's death & resurrection.  Egypt= slavery to sin. The bitter herbs= the bitterness of our bondage. The lamb shank= Christ, our Passover lamb. The haroset=the sweetness of our salvation. The egg, Christ, the temple. The candles= Christ, the Light of the World. I could go on & on but you get the idea.

Now I am very aware there is an argument that says the Last Supper was not a Passover meal.  It is based on the Greek word for bread:artos. Artos is the word for  bread; azumos means unleavened. When 1 Cor 11:23 says Jesus took bread the word artos is used.  The problem with this is that absolutely no Jewish house would have had leaven in it that close to Passover.  Everything with leaven in it is gathered up prior, taken outside & burned. Indeed, for the week prior to Passover only unleavened bread was to be eaten because leaven is a symbol for sin.

The New Testament Greek Lexicon defines artos as “food composed of flour mixed with water and baked,”  ie it has no leaven. Artos is also the Greek term for the shewbread in the temple & that was definitely unleavened. Thus I believe the bread was unleavened bread.

Math is not my thing but you don't need to be a mathematical genius to see that for Jesus to be in the grave for 3 days & 3 nights He absolutely could not have died on a Friday. There were so many people in Jerusalem for Passover & so many Passover lambs to be slain that Passover began on the Wednesday & each day of the Festival was a sabbath. 

I do believe Jesus celebrated Passover with His disciples.  He understood it was the last one under the old covenant. This Passover was the point of transition.  The old is about to be replaced with the new.  Jesus goes to the cross as our Passover Lamb: He rises as our High Priest!

God does not change.  He is the same yesterday, today & forever.  If we believe that to be true there is no severance between the old & new testaments but a fluid, continuous whole. His moed [special, appointed times to come apart to be with our God] are still His moed.

A seder brings the scriptures vividly alive.  I will never forget the first one we celebrated with our children, children who had been in church & Sunday school all their lives, children who thought they knew the Pashe story. I never knew all that! They said.  Is it really in the bible?  Yes it is, & it is part of the rich inheritance bequeathed to us.

No comments:

Post a Comment