Monday, September 28, 2009

A Taste of Passover

Note: We used this explanation of the Passover meal just before Easter, but it could be used in conjunction with the Lord's Supper at any time during the year.
Props: Traditional Seder/Passover foods listed in lesson

Next week, we will serve the Lord’s Supper, and in three weeks, we will celebrate Easter, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as our Savior. At about the same time, the Jewish people will be celebrating Passover and their Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Today, we will talk about why they have the Passover supper every year, and what Passover has to do with Easter.

Do you know when the first Passover supper was eaten?

Nearly 4000 years ago, God’s special people, the Jews, were slaves in the country of Egypt. They were forced to obey the Egyptians, and many of them worked to build stone temples to the many Egyptian gods. Then, the one true God chose Moses to lead them out of Egypt to the land He had chosen for them, where they could worship only Him. The king of Egypt, the Pharaoh, would not let them leave. So that the Egyptians would know that there was only one true God, God caused 9 special miracles or plagues to happen in Egypt. Each time, though, the Pharaoh refused to let God’s people leave.

Finally, God told Moses that there would be one last miracle or judgment. All the first-born children of the Egyptians and all the first-born of the animals would be killed when God’s Angel passed through the land of Egypt. Then God told Moses how He would protect the Jews from this terrible judgment so that the Death Angel would not kill their children.

First, each family was to take a perfect lamb (either a sheep or goat). They were to kill it, and use hyssop branches to put its blood on the doors of their houses. Then they were to go inside the house and stay there. There they would be protected by the blood of the lamb. They were to roast the meat of the lamb and eat all of it. While they ate, they had to wear their coats and stand up, ready to leave when Moses told them to.

At midnight on that special day, God’s Angel went throughout the whole land of Egypt. Imagine the crying and wailing in the houses of the Egyptians when their first-born all died. Even the Pharaoh’s child was dead. Then he told Moses to take God’s people away from Egypt.

The people left so quickly that they did not even bake bread to take with them. Instead, they took just the dough without any yeast to make it rise. When they did bake it, it was dry and flat, like crackers, not soft and fluffy. God continued to lead and protect His people as they traveled to the land He had promised them. He also commanded them to remember the wonderful thing He did when He protected them from the Death Angel. Every year, as long as time lasts, they were to hold a Passover Celebration. They were to kill a lamb as a sacrifice to Him, and they were to tell their children how God had saved them from death.

That is why the Jewish people still celebrate the Passover today—nearly 4000 years later, but now they celebrate by reading God’s Word, praying, and eating special foods. Today we will look at some of the foods they eat and what they mean to them.

1. Roasted bone—to remind them of the lamb that was sacrificed so that they could be saved.

2. Cooked egg—to remind them of an offering brought to the Temple in ancient times.

3. Maror—bitter herbs (sometimes horseradish, endive lettuce, radish, etc) to remind them of the bitterness of slavery.

4. Haroset—a mixture of fruit, cinnamon, nuts, and wine. It reminds them of the bricks and mortar they had to make when they built temples for Pharaoh.

5. Karpas—parsley or watercress to remind them of the first greens of spring and God’s creation.

6. Salt water—to remind them of the tears that were cried by the Israelites when they were slaves in Egypt.

There is also matzoth—cracker-like bread baked without yeast—to remind them of the bread that was baked in a hurry as they left Egypt.

Last, they drink wine made from grapes or grape juice.

Next week, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we will also use matzoth and grape juice.
Do you know why?

Jesus was also a Jew. When He celebrated the Passover with His disciples just before He died, they also ate unleavened bread and drank grape wine. He told them to continue to do that, and since Christians are also His followers or disciples, we still do that today. We call it the Lord’s Supper or Communion.

In the next few weeks, we will talk more about Jesus—about the Passover—and about Easter.

No comments:

Post a Comment