Thursday, April 9, 2020

The First Night of Passover

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

As we enter a critical time commemorating the life of Christ, we should recall His Earthly background while He lived among His Creation. Born in Bethlehem (the City of David) to a Jewish woman and her Jewish husband, Jesus was raised as an observant Jew. Taught in the scriptures, and at age twelve, was found in the Temple of Jerusalem debating and teaching the tenets of Judaism.

His birth fulfilled the Jewish prophecies of His role in God’s plan: Born in Bethlehem of Judah, and destined to be Ruler in Israel, He would occupy an everlasting Throne (Micah 5:2). As a direct descendant of King David on both Mary’s and Joseph’s sides of the family, He was in line for the Throne.

Following the Gospel chronology of His final months and weeks, Jesus had been traveling south from the Galilee region in order to get to Jerusalem in time for the Passover celebration, It is a poignant holiday for every Jew, and it has been celebrated every year since the Jewish Exodus out of Egypt.

Writing this on Wednesday evening, April 8th, 2020, Passover began a few hours ago at sundown. My Jewish neighbors across the street are home instead of celebrating the holiday in the traditional manner with family and friends, all sharing a Seder meal. A virus has kept them home, breaking their life-long tradition. But then, the same virus has every house of worship shut down and will keep every family from gathering together during what Christians call Holy Week.

Sad, yes, but it has made me a bit introspective, missing the gatherings of the week when congregations meet at church and follow the Lord’s direction, to “do this in memory of me.”

Spoken at the Last Supper, the Eucharist was established. It should not be lost on Christian believers that that meal was the traditional Seder

of Judaism, from the lamb and bitter herbs, to the matzos dipped in olive oil.

Jesus was in Jerusalem for Passover, and His final meal commemorated the freedom from a life of slavery in fleshy, sinful Egypt, and moving to the Promised Land. For believers, Jesus’ death pays for our sins, and grants us entrance in God’s heavenly Kingdom. Victory over sin; victory over death.

Matthew 26:17 ~ “Now on the first day of the feast of unleaven bread the Disciples came to Jesus, saying unto Him, ‘Where wilt thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?’”

This year, a tradition is broken, but hope is still alive for Resurrection morning, as the Passover holiday ends at sun-up, as Mary Magdalene finds Jesus’ tomb empty, and a Man she assumed was the gardener walking about, alive, just as He had promised.

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