Download April 2017 Newsletter
His Favorite Meal
by Ray Haynes
“In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25
Passover arrives this year at sundown on Tuesday April 11th; Jesus celebrated it with the Last Supper the night before His Crucifixion. Then just a few days later, the Feast of First Fruits arrives at sundown on Saturday April 15, which is the day Jesus rose from the grave. Ironically, the Gregorian Calendar and the Hebrew Calendar intersect oddly this year, causing Jesus to be crucified on Good Friday on one calendar, the day before He rises from the grave during First Fruits, on the other calendar.
If you are just familiar with Easter celebrations, I invite you to engage with the Hebrew Calendar too, because it allows us to embrace God’s grace in all of Biblical history. We can stand at the foot of the cross as we watch God’s hand move toward our deliverance and salvation as the death angel visited Egypt on Passover 3,457 years ago.
What is Passover? In Jerusalem one of my favorite stops was the Mount of Olives, just above the temple area, on the way to Bethany, where Jesus would travel back and forth when He was in the area. It’s where Corrie rode a camel on our first trip there in 2015, making it even more memorable for me. It’s where Jesus defined Passover in a most beautiful way, that is mostly lost in translation. Jesus was looking down at Jerusalem and He referred to a verse from Isaiah 31. “Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; He will shield it and deliver it, He will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.” Isaiah 31:5
Passover literally means: to protect or shield with wings, like a mother bird her young, or to spare someone – to give them immunity from calamity. Jesus captured this thought from Isaiah beautifully in Matthew 23:37-39, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. To paraphrase Him: “How often I have longed to be your Passover – to hold you close – to be your Champion.” Passover is about intimacy with God. Passover is an encounter with Jesus. He longs to pull us in close to His heart. God has filled the Biblical Calendar with a bunch of these encounters with Him. The more we encounter Him in the ways He created, the more these encounters become one continuous encounter with Him every day. Don’t miss out on this special encounter at Passover.
Jesus longs to eat this meal with us. Luke 22:14-16 says, “When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, “I have eagerly desired (longed) to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.” Those verses are the only two times Jesus longed for anything in Scripture. Think about that. He wants to be our Passover – to hold us close. He wants to eat it with us and hear us testify about Him.
We can continue to neglect it here on earth, but His heart so longs for it that He will be eating it with us in Heaven forever. Tuesday evening April 11th, He will be waiting at each of our tables – our response is up to us. Celebrating Passover, and all the Spring and Fall Feasts provide a unique look at the heart of God. He arranged history in such a profound way that Jesus was able to fulfill 353 prophecies that had been given over thousands of years. There are many symbols and elements in Passover, and they all point to Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the Light of the World. So lighting a candle and prayer begins the service. At the beginning of the meal the Priests would wash their hands to symbolize how holy they were. But Jesus taught a profound lesson when He instead washed the feet of the Disciples to teach them that becoming holy meant that they could boldly serve unclean and hurting people. Jesus shared the sop with Judas just before his treachery. The sop (Matzah combined with bitter herbs and sweet Charoses) was given to the person considered most beloved. The kiss later in the Garden made this betrayal most painful.
There is unleavened bread, as a reminder of the sinlessness of Jesus. There is roasted lamb, as a reminder of the blood of the lambs slain in Egypt to mark the doors so the death angel would not enter. The blood and the lambs point to Jesus, who was the Lamb slain to take away the sin of the world. There are four cups of wine to remember just how precious is His blood, and all that it attains for us. The very heart of communion is found at this meal.
There are bitter herbs to remind us that sin is like slavery. And there is a piece of matzah buried and brought out later to celebrate His death and resurrection. The symbols that point to Jesus from Genesis to Revelation are nearly endless and so many are a part of the Passover service. There is no clearer picture of what Jesus did for us from the beginning of time, to his life, death and resurrection.
You don’t have to wait for Good Friday and Easter Sunday to celebrate what Jesus did for you. Passover has been celebrated for 3,457 years. At the Last Supper, as Jesus lifted up the third cup of wine, He asked us to celebrate this meal often to remember Him. Don’t miss out on a real special opportunity to encounter Him. “In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:25
I will be joining David and Leanna for Rise & Stein live on Tuesday morning April 11th to share in-depth on Passover, and on Friday the 14th to share on First Fruits. The teaching will also be posted in the podcasts on Victory OnDemand with all of my teaching on the Festivals from the last few years. You will also have access to my written notes as well as a simple, basic Haggadah, to help you celebrate Passover at home with family and friends.