Category Archives: Passover

Messiah in the Passover

Passover and Easter are like bookends holding together a narrative of faith 
that spans thousands of years.

 

Shalom!

Happy Passover and Easter season! I look forward to this time of year when we observe Passover, which is a foreshadowing of the most defining moment in human history—the death and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

The two holidays are forever linked in much the same way as the Old and New Testaments are joined in one great story of God’s love and redemption. Yet, the historical distinctions between them are at the core of the religious self-understanding of so many Jewish people and Christians.

It is thought that Passover is for the Jews and Easter is for the Christians. However, in the Bible and in the mind and heart of God, I believe they are twin sisters of the same redemptive truth. The cross only makes sense in the shadow of the blood-smeared doors of the Israelite slaves in Egypt.

How I pray that my Jewish family and friends might one day recognize the continuity of this one great story and its fulfillment in the Messiah of Israel—Jesus. Passover and Easter are like bookends holding together a narrative of faith that spans thousands of years, dozens of authors, and Spirit-breathed texts (2 Timothy 3:16).

Yet, it is still one grand story of God’s love and creation, of man’s fall and spiritual wanderings, and of the prophetic hope exquisitely fulfilled when the Savior spoke these words at His last Passover supper with His disciples.

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:19-20)

In order to help this season be all the more meaningful to you, I have some really good news! 

Our staff has produced a 350-plus-page book entitled, Messiah in the Passover. It is a reference book and there is something in this volume for everyone! It includes an in-depth study of the Passover throughout biblical history, church history, and Jewish history—all of which leads to a deeper understanding of the Passover today and how the Jewish people celebrate this remembrance of the redemption from Egypt. 

We also cover some very practical topics, such as how to use the Passover in sharing the Gospel with your Jewish friends and linking the Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder, with the Lord’s Supper, where Jesus announced His death and resurrection through the traditional elements of the Passover meal.

We provide a Jesus-centered Hagaddah, or guide, to a family Passover that you can use in your own home and also provide Passover lessons for your children so that they can better grasp this great Old Testament story.

And, we included a number of delicious recipes so you can enjoy many of the traditional Passover foods yourself! 

The book is now available for pre-order. We are also happy to send you a copy of the book for your donation of $200 or more. As you know, we depend upon God and your generous support to continue our ministry of reaching the Jewish people with the message of redemption. 

We have also developed a new website entitled—you guessed it…Messiah in the Passover. So please visit www.messiahinthepassover.com to enjoy a bundle of wonderful features including Passover “how to” videos and some additional detailed studies that will enable you to learn more about the Jewish heritage of our faith.

Please remember to pray for Your Mission to the Jewish People this month as we share the message of Messiah in the Passover with thousands of Jewish people, both online through our Facebook campaigns, and in person through our Messiah in the Passover presentations at churches, and banquets at our centers and Messianic congregations. Find out more by visiting our website and find a presentation near you.

Passover, Prophecy, and Jesus

Allow me to share with you the following excerpt from my chapter written on the Passover in the Gospel of John from the Messiah in the Passover book:

Often referred to as His Passion, this last week is the most eventful of Jesus’ short life. Certainly, it is the most significant from a human perspective, as it includes His death and resurrection—the penultimate moment of human history.

His final week, according to John, also includes various teachings, which are unique to this Gospel [of John] such as His Upper Room Discourse, teaching on the Holy Spirit, High Priestly Prayer, etc.

The last week of Jesus’ life is also significant because many Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled during this week, especially those involving His atoning death and resurrection.

The agenda, goals, and purposes of His last week are outlined in both the Old and New Testaments and driven by the necessity for Jesus to fulfill all that is predicted about Him in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, as well as His own predictions in the Gospels.

In particular, three Old Testament passages heavily influence the agenda of the Messiah’s last week on earth: Isaiah 53, Daniel 9:24–26, and Leviticus 23. These texts create a path for what Yeshua would do and when He would do it.

  1. Isaiah 53—The prediction of the Messiah’s suffering, death, and resurrection, along with Israel’s response to His message.
  2. Daniel 9:24–26—The prediction of the Messiah’s death as detailed in the prophecy of the seventy weeks.
  3. Leviticus 23—The pattern of the Messiah’s passion as revealed through the Passover, which will especially influence the last week of Jesus’ life.

The Jewish festivals found in Leviticus 23 appear to be prophetic types and in one way or another are fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus (we view the first four “spring” festivals as fulfilled in His first coming and the three additional “fall” festivals as fulfilled in His second coming).

Additional Old Testament prophecies such as Psalm 22 and Zechariah 12:10 also help to paint a prophetic portrait of our Messiah’s last days on earth. As the Apostle Peter writes,

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. (1 Peter 1:10–11)

There is no doubt that the Savior of the world was born to die in order to fulfill many direct prophecies and types. Especially that of the Lamb of God, which is a direct comparison to the Passover lamb whose blood was smeared on the doorposts of the Israelite homes to protect their firstborn males from the tenth plague of the Exodus story.

The Apostle John, in the book of Revelation, describes Jesus as “the Lamb who has been slain” (Revelation 13:8). The Apostle Peter adds that we,

. . .were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold,…but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. (1 Peter 1:18–20)

The predicted role of Jesus as the suffering and sacrificial Lamb of God who will die for sin and rise from the grave is not peripheral to the plan of God, but rather is at the very heart of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. Isaiah had already used the prophetic imagery of the Passover lamb in his well-known chapter 53.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

This last week of the Savior’s life would conclude with the Passover!

I hope you will be blessed and enriched and that the Messiah of the Passover will be more precious to you than ever before!

Your brother,

Mitch

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Respect Cuts Both Ways: Christians Can Celebrate Passover Too

This article was also published by Christianity Today on April 10, 2017.


On April 6, 2017, Christianity Today (CT) published an article entitled, “Jesus Didn’t Eat a Seder Meal: Why Christians Shouldn’t Either” by rabbis Yehiel E. Poupko and David Sandmel. The article argues that Christians should refrain from participating in Christian Seders as a matter of historical and ecumenical respect. We disagree on both points.

There is great interest today by Christians to learn more and participate in Seders to help them better understand the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. In particular, knowing more about the Seder helps Christians explore the Jewish background of the Last Supper celebrated by Jesus, whom we know was a first-century Jewish teacher, and his disciples, who were also Jewish. Both Jesus and his disciples would have grown up observing the Passover in whatever fashion Jewish people living at the time observed the feast.

We agree with the rabbis regarding the importance of caution in the way the sacred traditions of the Jewish faith are handled.

We also agree that Jesus did not celebrate the Passover the way Jewish people commonly observe the festival in the 21st century. However, the Last Supper accounts in the Gospels record a number of themes and practices held in common with the Passover Seder. Perhaps the Last Supper should be viewed as a primitive Seder, which was used by Yeshua as the backdrop for his claim to be the fulfillment of the types and prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures for a greater Lamb, a greater redemption from bondage (to sin), and a new perspective on salvation through His shed blood.

Many Christians and especially Messianic Jews (Jewish believers in Jesus) exercise caution in the way the Messiah is linked to the Passover Seder. In the introduction to a new book entitled Messiah in the Passover, which we edited, Christian readers in particular are encouraged to both study and celebrate the Passover as a way to deepen their appreciation for the Jewishness of the Savior. To describe the book’s approach Dr. Glaser writes,

In general, we have taken a very cautious approach and will try and understand the Jewish backgrounds of the New Testament as best we can and not simply presume that the Mishnaic tractate Pesahim or today’s Passover Haggadah can simply be read into the Last Supper. Yet, we point out where we do find striking parallels between the religious customs observed by Jesus and His disciples at the Last Supper with later Jewish religious developments, and so many of our authors will suggest that these traditions could have been practiced during the Last Supper.[1]

These parallels include the drinking of at least two cups of wine:

And when He [Jesus] had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” . . . And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. (Luke 22:17-18, 20)

The breaking of bread, which should be understood as matzah, unleavened bread as we know this meal, took place on Passover. Luke records, “Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching” (Luke 22:1). Yeshua says,

And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)

Dr. Bock notes in his chapter,

What makes this meal so different is that Jesus not only refers to the Exodus and ties the meal to Israel’s history, but also completely recasts the meal as a vehicle for describing His coming death as a substitutionary sacrifice. The Lucan reference “for you” points to the substitutionary nature of the sacrifice. In Mark 14:24 Jesus speaks of His shed blood given “for many,” an allusion to Mark 10:45, presenting the idea that Jesus will die as a “ransom for many.” This is in fact a very likely Messianic allusion to Isaiah 53:12, where the Servant bears the sin of the many.

In the Lucan version, the bread is His body and the wine pictures His blood shed for His disciples. Whether Jesus spoke of “the many” as in Mark 14:24 or of the sacrifice being “for you” as in Luke 22:19–20, the point is crystal clear, as Jesus is about to die as an offering made on behalf of others. The allusion to establishing a covenant (Mark 14:24) or a new covenant (Luke 22:20) also assumes a sacrifice and the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:15–22) to inaugurate a covenant.

So in both versions the meal is portrayed as a commentary on Jesus’ forthcoming work, which is the ultimate act of deliverance the Passover anticipated. What started as Israel’s deliverance also had in mind ultimately blessing for the world (Gen. 12:1–3). In places within the meal and service where you would naturally expect to hear about the deliverance of Israel through the first Exodus, we see Jesus pointing His disciples to His substitutionary death for sinners—a second and even greater Exodus deliverance.[2]

Dr. Glaser’s chapter refers to Passover traditions embedded in the Gospel of John, which reflect first-century Jewish life and parallel the celebrations of today.[3] First, John sets the time of the events recorded as taking place during the time of the Passover: “Now before the Feast of the Passover” (John 13:1).

The foot washing that takes place alludes to the various washings in the context of the Passover meal (John 13:3-12). Both the significance of the ritual and the timing as taking place during the meal goes beyond the usual custom of foot washing upon entry to a Jewish home. The dipping of the morsel seems to be more ceremonial than part of a meal and could refer to one of the dipping’s of the Seder, albeit these were further developed in time to come. We are suggesting that Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Passover the same way any other first-century Jewish family may have done at the time.[4]

It is understood that the Messiah did not celebrate what was created over multiple centuries. Yet, oral traditions may have existed at the time that was eventually included in the Passover celebration.

Christians read and believe the history of Israel recorded in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament. Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Jesus believe the Passover is a paradigm for salvation that finds its fulfillment at the Last Supper when Yeshua gave new meaning to what was observed at that time. Christians who observe the Passover almost always use an adapted version of the Haggadah that takes this Messianic fulfillment into consideration. This is what Messianic Jews and various church groups and Christian church denominations encourage.

The rabbis might very well misunderstand what transpires during a Christian or Messianic Jewish Passover Seder. As the authors of the article suggest,

. . . adopting another’s ritual shows a lack of respect. Even when pursued with the best of intentions, taking another faith’s sacred ritual and transforming it into an expression of one’s own tradition displays a misunderstanding of the complex nature of faith traditions.

The Lord’s Supper, which was probably an adapted and early version of a Passover meal, is referred to many times in the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 11:23-26). Jesus made it part of our faith tradition—not as an outsider but as a Jew who claimed to be the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of the Jewish people.

It can be assumed that the great themes of redemption and salvation had already woven its way into first-century Jewish Passover observance, as nascent as it may have been at the time of Jesus. Jesus affirms this and does not dismiss the importance of the original Passover deliverance commemorated at the Feast. He simply assured the disciples that there was more to come. This was why He used the Passover celebration as a jumping-off point to declare that God’s New Covenant with the Jewish people would begin with His sacrificial death.

The rabbis would do well to view Christian observance of the Passover as fulfilled in Jesus as a sign of appreciation and a way of honoring Jewish tradition. In fact, many Christians who take the Lord’s Supper in the context of a Messianic Passover Seder find it far more meaningful as it ties two of the most profound statements of Jesus to both Jewish and salvation history.

The first century Jewish backgrounds to Communion drives so many Christians to identify with the Jewishness of their faith. This should be viewed as a step forward in Jewish Christian relations as for so many years the chasm between Christians and Jews was wide and even antagonistic. Progress has been made and in many ways there is a greater appreciation and respect among Christians today for the Jewish faith than ever before. This should be affirmed rather than criticized.

Many have noted the deep roots of Torah, from Exodus 12, in whatever Jesus celebrated that evening with His disciples. The links between the two events existed historically and remain canonized in Scripture. Paul said Jesus is our Passover lamb (1 Cor. 5:7). What Jesus did at this meal was to fulfill an Old Testament type established in the book of Exodus. Both the original Exodus and the cross deliver people and show that God keeps His promises. When believers in Jesus observe a Seder, they affirm and celebrate these links and the continuity of the Testaments.

The rabbis conclude,

The Seder is uniquely Jewish, born of the Jewish reading of the Torah, shaped by the architecture of our magisterial Perushim-Pharisees and their rabbis, and given artistry and beauty through 2,000 years of Jewish experience. Christians best honor their Jewish neighbors, to whom they wish to express the love of Christ, by recognizing that the Seder meal is the unique spiritual heritage of the Jewish people and respecting it as such.

We believe such statements undo the bridges built over the last 50 years of Jewish-Christian relations. The question of whether or not Jesus celebrated a Passover Seder as we now know it today is to some degree moot. He observed the Passover in the same way as any other first-century Jew. This event can draw Jews and Christians closer to one another rather than driving an additional wedge between our faith communities.

What is concerning to us is when Christians do not see any identification with the Jewish people and the Jewish backgrounds of their faith. But more to the point, we simply cannot rob Christians of their heritage in Jesus—especially not the events of the Last Supper, which was clearly some type of Passover celebration.

We believe respect cuts both ways.

Dr. Mitch Glaser
President, Chosen People Ministries
New York, New York

Dr. Darrell L. Bock
Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and
Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies
Dallas Theological Seminary | 
Dallas, Texas


[1] Mitch Glaser, “Introduction” in Messiah in the Passover, ed. Darrell L. Bock and Mitch Glaser (New York: Chosen People Ministries; Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2017).

[2] Darrell L. Bock, “Passover in the Gospel of Luke,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 4.

[3] See Mitch Glaser, “Passover in the Gospel of John,” in Bock and Glaser, Messiah in the Passover, chap. 5.

[4] Glaser, “Introduction.”

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Jesus, the Passover Lamb

Dear friend in the Messiah,

Shalom in His peace. April is an important month for both Jews and Christians as we celebrate some of our most faith-defining holidays: Passover, Good Friday, Easter, and a number of other sacred occasions, depending on our backgrounds.

Churches will be packed as multitudes remember the death of our Savior and celebrate His resurrection from the dead. Thousands upon thousands of folks who do not usually go to church, many of whom do not know the Lord, will attend services this month, hear the Gospel, and be saved.

Something similar happens in the Messianic Jewish community and throughout the branches and centers of Your Mission to the Jewish People – from Israel to New Zealand and in my hometown of Brooklyn!

Our Messianic congregations and centers will host evangelistic Passover Seders where you can bring your Jewish friends to hear the Gospel in a Jewish context during a holiday they are familiar with and have celebrated their entire lives.

Of course, many of our Jewish family and friends have not yet had the joy of linking the celebration of Passover with the coming of the Messiah. This will be new and eye-opening information for your Jewish friends, presented in a way that is not offensive in any way.

I hope you will be able to bring your friends and family to one of our Passover banquets. If you would like to know where you can attend a local Passover banquet, please call 212-223-2252 and we would be happy to pass along this information to you.

Our staff will also be traveling around North America presenting Messiah in the Passover. This is a wonderful presentation connecting the Last Supper and the Lord’s Supper! May I tell you a little bit more about the Messiah in the Passover Presentation?

During the presentation, a table draped with a white tablecloth is placed on the platform and beautifully set up with the many traditional Passover elements. Our staff member then explains each element, one by one…expounding on the traditional Jewish Passover Seder in light of the Last Supper.

The Jewish backgrounds of the cup of wine and the broken bread Jesus partook of during the evening before His death will be explained, as will the connection between the blood smeared on the doorposts of the Israelite homes in Egypt at the first Passover, with the blood shed by our Messiah on Calvary.

A NEW BOOK: MESSIAH IN THE PASSOVER

There is so much more to tell you about Messiah in the Passover that we decided to write an entire book on the topic! In fact, as you read this letter, the book is being printed and is literally “hot off the press.” I am especially proud of this volume, as it has been a labor of love to produce, and Chosen People Ministries’ staff members authored most of the chapters.

The title of the book is Messiah in the Passover and it was edited by Dr. Darrell Bock, a professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and a Chosen People Ministries board member, and myself. We cover a full range of topics including the biblical foundations for the Passover and the Lord’s Supper, the Passover throughout Jewish and Church history, as well as how Jewish people celebrate Passover today.

We provide all that is needed to conduct a Passover Seder in your home which glorifies the Messiah Jesus as the Lamb of God. We have included crafts for the children, delicious Passover recipes, and great detail about how to use the Passover Seder as an evangelistic opportunity to reach your Jewish friends.

A NEW WEBSITE

We have also created a new website entitled—you guessed it…Messiah in the Passover! All you need to do is visit www.messiahinthepassover.com and you will discover the “world of the Passover.” This exciting new site is full of wonderful information, including a number of instructional videos. We also included a very special Passover demonstration that you can send to Jewish friends who do not yet know the Lord.

I hope that you will read some of the book online, order a copy or two, enjoy the videos, and even try some of the recipes! Most of all, I hope you will find the book and the website to be helpful in reaching your Jewish loved ones for the Lord. Passover provides a great way to explain the Gospel to Jewish people in a very Jewish-sensitive way! In fact, one of our most experienced staff members has written a chapter on this very topic.

AN EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

May I share with you a brief section from the book, written by Dr. Rich Freeman? Rich is one of our senior staff members and the following is a brief paragraph from his conclusion. Rich writes,

“Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

He is the fulfillment of Passover. Like the first Passover lambs sacrificed to redeem Israel from slavery in Egypt, Jesus’ death on the cross redeems us from slavery to sin. Reflecting on all of this, the Apostle Paul says, “Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7), and just as the first Passover was very personal and the Israelites personally applied the blood of the lambs to the doors of their houses, we too, by faith, need to personally apply the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, to the doors of our hearts.”

Have you made Passover personal? I am sure you will find the Messiah in the Passover book and website to be enriching, and that it will bless you, your family, and your church. You will discover that seeing the Bible through Jewish eyes, and understanding the Jewish roots of the faith, will draw you closer to the Jewish Messiah you love!

This is my fondest hope for the Messiah in the Passover book and website—that the Lord will use these tools to bring you closer to Him.

THERE IS A REASON GOD CHOSE HIS PEOPLE AND WE LOVE THE JEWISH MESSIAH – A FINAL CONCERN AND PRAYER REQUEST

May I share one last concern and prayer request with you? I mentioned last month that we are now witnessing a tragic rise of antisemitism across the globe. Over the last few months, we have received daily reports of increased antisemitism in Europe, North America, and even on our campuses. Last month, you may have heard about the gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri–a very Jewish suburb of St. Louis.

This is simply horrible and should not happen in a liberty-loving country like ours. I thought these types of heinous expressions of antisemitism ended with the Holocaust; however, unfortunately, this is not true! Antisemitism is on the rise! I believe that followers of Jesus need to link arms and oppose antisemitism.

We understand from the Bible that God chose the Jewish people for a special purpose; we have received the Bible and our Savior through the Jewish people. We also know that one day the Jewish people will repent and turn to Jesus, and then He will return (Romans 11:11-29)! If any group of people should support and stand with the Jewish community, it should be those who serve the God of Israel and love the Jewish Messiah.

So, may I suggest a few ways you can show His love and grace to the Jewish people?

PRAY

Of course, the most obvious way to support the Jewish people is to pray for them. As the Psalmist writes, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; ‘May they prosper who love you’” (Psalm 122:6). Please pray for the end of antisemitism, for the protection of Jewish families, and for the Prince of Peace to reign in the hearts of the Jewish people in Jerusalem and everywhere.

INVITE

Ask your pastor to host a Chosen People Ministries presentation at your church or Messianic congregation.

ACT LOCALLY

The Lord has given us a “Great Commission” to reach a broken world with the message of the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20)—to the Jew first and also to the Gentile (Romans 1:16).

I hope and pray you will reach out to your Jewish friends and neighbors with the Gospel, but, we also need you to speak-up locally if you see some type of antisemitism in your community or even in your state. This will be a powerful testimony to the Jewish community. Thanks again for your love, prayers, and generous support! Have a happy Easter and Passover as we celebrate the Lamb of God—Jesus who is the Savior for all!

In Him,

Mitch

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Cup of Redemption

The Cup of Redemption is the third cup of the Passover Seder and is the first cup to be drunk after the meal. It is believed that it is the Cup of Redemption that Jesus instructed the disciples to partake of in the last supper, since both accounts in Matthew 26:27 and Luke 22:19 describe the cup being taken after the meal. Luke’s account even refers to the last meal Jesus had with his disciples as “Passover” (Luke 17:15). In this verse specifically, Jesus tells His disciples: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The Cup of Redemption traditionally signifies the slaying of the Passover lamb that spared the Israelites from the 10th plague of the slaying of the first born. This cup traditionally remembers how the Lord redeems Israel with an outstretched arm.

Therefore, it is so very poignant when Jesus tells His disciples that the wine in this cup is “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” As the blood of the Passover Lamb covered the believing Israelites and Egyptians back in Egypt, so the blood of Jesus covers Jewish and Gentile believers today!

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The Cup of Judgment: The Second Cup of the Passover Seder

These days, no one likes to talk about the judgement of the Lord. Yet, it is a biblical truth that all people, both Jew and Gentile, are under God’s judgement unless they accept salvation, that is, substitutionary atonement, through Jesus the Messiah (Romans 5:9, 1 Cor. 15:1-5, John 14:6). There are teachings out there that say Jewish people do not need Jesus to be made right with God—but this is against the very Gospel itself. In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father but through me.” Even in the story of Passover itself—the children of Israel could not rest on their status as Israelites. They had to respond to the method that God chose—the slaying of the Passover lamb—to be spared from the 10th plague of the slaying of the firstborn. In the same way, until the Jewish people respond to Jesus, the way of eternal salvation, Jewish people are still under God’s judgment. Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

Let us have a sense of urgency as we share with our Jewish friends and family, knowing that just as the children of Israel escaped Egypt in haste, so is our time on earth fleeting – each moment is precious. I encourage you to share Jesus with your Jewish friend or family member and perhaps even invite him or her to a Chosen People Ministries Passover banquet near you!

In Messiah,

Mitch

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The Jewish Messiah is the Passover Lamb

Dear friend in the Messiah,
Mitch_Glaser
Shalom and Happy Passover. I must admit, it is very unusual to observe Passover after already celebrating Easter. This is the result of the early church deciding not to follow the Jewish calendar! This decision was made at the Council of Nicaea in 325AD and, in my opinion, and it reflects a symptom of a deeper problem we address each and every day as we try and reach Jewish people for Jesus the Messiah.

The Chasm Between Jesus and the Jewish People
Jewish people generally feel alienated from the Gospel. This chasm between Jesus and the Jewish community becomes even more profound during the holiday season. We so often define ourselves religiously by the holidays we keep. For example, Jewish people celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter. If it were a different season of the year, I would say that Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, and Christians celebrate Christmas.

Oftentimes I wonder how this difficult situation we face today came to be and why it is that Jewish people feel so distant from the One we believe to be the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures—the Jewish Messiah.

May I tell you a quick story about my grandparents? It might help you understand how Jewish people feel about the Jewish relationship to Jesus and Christianity.

I remember a conversation I had with my paternal grandparents many years ago. My father and I were visiting his parents and we were eating lunch at the table in my grandparents’ apartment in Coney Island, Brooklyn. My dear grandparents were trying to figure out why I believed in Jesus and not Moses or Marx.

I finally had the chance to get a word in and asked a question. I said, “Dad does not believe in God, and like Grandpa he never attends synagogue. Yet, he still says that he is Jewish. I, on the other hand, believe in the God of our fathers, learned Hebrew, married a Jewish girl but believe Jesus is the Messiah. Which one of us is the better Jew?” Grandma did not hesitate to respond. “Your father,” she replied. And I dare say she spoke for the majority of the Jewish community!

What she really was saying is that being Jewish is not a matter of belief, but rather of community identity. And a Jewish person can retain that identity as long as certain lines are not crossed. However, if you do transgress one of these unseen parameters, you could easily cross over and out of the Jewish community. Believing in Jesus is one of those lines, perhaps the boldest of the lines, and once you cross over, there is no return save the renunciation of your beliefs. In other words, you do not remain in the community by virtue of your beliefs, but you can be removed because of them.

The Jewish people you meet might be resistant to the Gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of any theological disagreement over the true Messiah. Jewish people are generally not going to consider the Gospel—because they feel far away from Jesus, view Him as the God of the Gentiles and have a deep fear of being cast out of the Jewish community for even thinking about Jesus.

The Lord must shed an abundance of grace in the heart of the average Jewish person in order for them to make the great step of faith to follow Jesus when the Jewish community would understand this belief as an act of ethnic suicide. It was certainly a difficult decision for me having been raised in a traditional Jewish home!

How Can You Help?
You can try to help your Jewish friend understand that Jesus is Jewish, the New Testament was written by Jewish people and that all of the early followers of Jesus were Jewish. In fact, the disciples celebrated Passover and other Jewish festivals, never rejected their Jewish identity and did not choose to leave the Jewish community.

The disciples believed that you could be Jewish and believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.

You can take some very practical steps even during this Passover season to help your Jewish friends understand that Jesus is Jewish and that Christians have a deep appreciation for their Old Testament heritage.

Passover is a great time to do this because, unlike some of the other Jewish holidays, most Jewish people celebrate Passover and have a family Passover seder (meal). And of course, Jesus clearly linked Himself to the Passover!

You can also give a small gift to your Jewish friend that shows your sensitivity to the holiday season. You might give your Jewish friend a box of macaroons, wonderful coconut cookies that are made without leaven… this is a Jewish favorite—especially the ones that are dipped in dark chocolate!

This demonstration of love and sensitivity will go a long way to showing your Jewish friends that Jesus is Jewish. It is a way of bringing the Gospel closer to a Jewish person, overcoming the 2,000-year chasm between Jesus and the Jewish people.

You might also celebrate a Passover seder either in your home, with your small group or even at your church.

Chosen People Ministries will be presenting Messiah in the Passover at many different congregations during the holiday season. If you would like to attend one of these demonstrations, please call our Church Ministries office at 888-405-5874 and we will let you know if there is a Messiah in the Passover scheduled at a church near you.

You can also go to our website and learn more about the Passover. We have prepared a booklet to help you understand more about Passover that you can request on our website, and you can also look at some of the Passover videos we have made that can actually show you how to do a Passover seder in your home.

Is it any wonder that Jesus chose Passover as the time to announce the inauguration of the New Covenant between God and man? The focus of Passover is the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Of course, Jesus gives the Passover a deeper meaning demonstrating that new life, forgiveness of sin and an eternity in heaven are assured to those who have faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Let’s not allow the Jewish community we love to feel alienated from Jesus. I hope this Passover season will afford you the opportunity to help your Jewish friends see Jesus in the Passover! That will be a great place to begin your witness.

Thank you so much for your faithfulness, love and support of Chosen People Ministries. We are doing all we can in 16 countries and over 20 cities in North America to bring the Good News of Jesus the Messiah to the Jewish people.

I also hope that you will consider supporting Chosen People Ministries on a regular basis. This is why we created the Watchmen for Jerusalem program. Please click here to sign up!

Your one-time donation is also very important to us as it allows us to continue to support our ministries around the globe—in the United States, Israel and many other countries.

Thank you again for your love and faithfulness and Happy Passover!

In the Lamb,

Mitch

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Preparing for Passover

We are getting ready for Passover! The holiday begins on Friday, but preparations are moving full steam ahead.

During Passover, the Jewish community refrains from eating leaven and eat what is known as matzah during the eight day holiday, as Moses and the nation of Israel fled Egypt in haste, not having time for our bread to rise and so we eat unleavened bread as a reminder of our leaving Egypt in haste.

Matzah

Matzah (unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover

For seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a foreigner or a native of the land. You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread (Ex 12:19-20).

As the Jewish community prepares for Passover, each family removes leaven from the home and stores – especially in heavily Jewish areas remove leavened products from their shelves. Then, during a ceremony called Bedikat Chametz, immediately before the first night of Passover and the first Passover Seder, we conduct a final search for leaven throughout the house, gather it together and throws it all out or burn it, symbolizing the house is purified or kosher for Passover.

Paul uses this understanding of the Jewish practice as the background to his statement in1 Corinthians 5:6-8.

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The community of Corinth evidently demonstrated a tolerance for gross immorality. Paul compares sin to leaven and commands the congregation at Corinth to clean out the sin from their midst in the same way the Jewish community removes leaven from their homes during Passover. Just as leaven permeates an entire lump of dough, sinful behavior affects the entire life of an individual and congregation. If the congregation at Corinth did not deal with the wicked behavior in their midst, then this behavior would defile the entire community.

When my wife makes challah, the traditional Jewish Festival bread, she puts a small amount of yeast into the dough. This small amount of yeast makes the entire loaf of challah leavened. In the same way, sin affects the entire life of a person. We cannot compartmentalize our lives and isolate sin to a particular area. Sin in one area affects all areas of our lives. We deceive ourselves when we think the small or hidden sins in our lives will not creep it’s way into our entire soul. Even the small and hidden sins will permeate and corrode our entire being.

When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.

For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide;

I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:3-5)

Therefore, we should pursue righteousness, since our Messiah has removed the chametz, leaven, from our lives. Rabbi Saul (the Apostle Paul) describes those with leavened lives as depraved and wicked, but reminds his readers that those who are pure in motives and upright in character behave as if they are without leaven. The person free from leaven does not have a hidden or secret life. The preparation for Passover reminds us of the unrighteous behaviors we tolerate in our lives. If we tolerate immoral thoughts or actions, they will begin to affect our spiritual lives and ultimately destroy our soul.

We only deceive ourselves if we think that what we look at on the Internet, watch on television or do when others are not watching will not have any affect upon our spiritual life. We simply cannot behave badly towards our spouse or children, be dishonest in business or mean to at work if we are serious about honoring God. If we are going to have a healthy spiritual life we cannot tolerate our hidden and secret sins…the ones we only we know about, as the Lord knows them too1

In the spirit of Passover, let’s remove sin from our lives, so that we are kosher for Passover and can experience the joy that only godly obedience, in light of the redemption we have through Yeshua, can bring to our souls.

Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; For the man of peace will have a posterity. But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; The posterity of the wicked will be cut off.(Psalm 37:37-38)

For more on Passover click on http://tinyurl.com/no7r8l8

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Filed under Jewish Holidays, Jews and Christians, Judaism, Messianic Jewish, Passover