Last week we began this two-part series to discover the pertinence of Passover to believers and the significance it holds for us today. In case you missed Part 1 of this series, it can be accessed HERE.
After studying Passover for the past decade and leading scores of Passover seder meals, the second principle I’ve gleaned that I want to share with you about Passover is:
2) Learning about Passover enriches the faith of believers.
My friend Jesse recently shared that celebrating the Passover through a seder meal was one of the most meaningful faith experiences of his life.
“Tothis day,” he told me, “I do not understand why all churches do not do this.”
Jesse is one of many who have shared how their faith was enriched by learning about Passover and celebrating with a seder.
More recently, a Jewish woman approached me at a seder meal. She had come to faith in Jesus many years ago. With tears in her eyes she shared with me how the seder meal “felt like home” to her.
What is it about Passover that seems to enrich the faith of so many?
Passover is about remembering and celebrating God’s faithfulness. Passover is a celebration of fulfilled Bible prophecy. Had God not brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He would have lied to Abraham!
In Genesis 15, God makes some serious promises to Abraham and his descendants. Along with the promise to give Abraham and his descendants the land of Israel (something that will be fully realized in the Millennial Kingdom), God promised Abraham that his future descendants would be “enslavedand oppressed 400 years” in a foreign land.
Thankfully, God did not intend to leave them there. He states: “However,I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions” (Gen. 15:13-14). Over 3,400 years after the Exodus event, we can see that God was faithful to His promise. He redeemed Israel from slavery exactly as He said He would!
Reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness through the Exodus event is an act worthy of our time and effort.
The man or woman who forgets that God is faithful will find himself or herself lacking in faith.
The same is true of other godly characteristics. The person who forgets that God is loving, patient, or kind will often find these fruits lacking in their own lives.
Passover is a God-ordained way of reminding ourselves that He is faithful. And do you know what the really good news is? God remains faithful not only to Israel but to each and every person, regardless of geography, ethnicity, or social status.
The Jewish woman who told me the Seder dinner “felt like home” went on to share her previous experience in churches. She always felt a tension because of the church’s reluctance to accept her Jewish identity. To my sorrow, people in the pews had said hurtful things to her about the Jewish people.
As a church, we have a long way to go in overcoming 2,000 years of replacement theology and multiplied forms of anti-Semitism.
This leads to the third principle I’ve gleaned in my study of Passover:
3) Learning about Passover builds bridges with our Jewish friends.
Have you ever met someone who knew something special about your past? From birth to the age of eight I grew up in a very small town called Grovertown, IN. The population hovers right around 1,500 people. It has a unique culture that is best described as “country.”
A few years ago I met a man named Mike. Mike was not from Grovertown but he seemed to know more about it than I did. Somehow, even though Mike never lived in Grovertown, he knew all kinds of stories about it. He mentioned places I was familiar with and told me about other places I had never heard of. He talked about people whose names I had heard on more than one occasion. He told fascinating stories about the history of Grovertown.
I was so excited! “I never thought I would meet an outsider who knew so much about Grovertown,” I exclaimed to Mike.
In his passion and knowledge of my childhood town, Mike had built a bridge with me. He had connected with me on a level that only a few people could. One day, Mike and I even took a day off work to visit Grovertown together, interviewing various residents about their experience in the unique culture. Mike’s love for Grovertown gave me an affinity for him that lasts until this day.
Have you had a similar experience? Has a “Mike” ever connected with you? Have you ever met a person who was knowledgeable about something precious to you?
Maybe the bridge they built was the memory of a person and not a place. Perhaps it was an event that meant a great deal to you. Regardless of what “the bridge” was for you, most of us know of someone or something that will connect to a special place in our heart.
Passover, and other biblical feasts, are a great bridge for connecting with our Jewish friends. This seems to be especially true when a Gentile, like myself, understands and appreciates the Jewish culture, history and people. The Jewish community is well aware that the majority of the world’s Gentile believers do not celebrate Passover.
Can you imagine what it would mean to a Jewish friend if you were knowledgeable and appreciative of their Passover tradition? Sure, some people might think it strange that you, a follower of Jesus, would want to celebrate Passover.
But perhaps they will give you a chance to explain why Passover is so special to you. Perhaps they will be provoked to jealousy and desire the personal relationship that you have with the God of Israel through His Messiah, the Passover Lamb (Rom. 11:11). Perhaps they will be intrigued that you know so much about their holidays.
And if your Jewish friend did not have a traditional or religious background, it’s possible you will know more about Passover than they do! Perhaps they will be moved to re-read the Scriptures for themselves after you share with them.
On more than one occasion I have used Passover imagery to explain the Gospel to a Jewish friend. The New Testament employs Passover imagery to teach spiritual truths, and we can too!
Being knowledgeable about Passover and other biblical holidays helps us relate to our Jewish friends. It helps us build a bridge to a deeper relationship. Our efforts to learn about Jewish subjects show our Jewish friends that we are interested in their culture, their history, the Bible and, most importantly, the God of Israel and His Messiah.
Just as Mike holds a special place in my heart because of his knowledge about Grovertown, you can hold a special place in your Jewish friend’s life by learning about Passover.
Learning about Passover is beneficial and enriching to believers in many ways. We’ve covered three specific ways this is true in this series:
Learning about Passover provides a deeper appreciation and understanding of God’s Word.
Learning about Passover enriches the faith of believers.
Learning about Passover builds bridges with our Jewish friends.
Now I want to challenge you: is there anyone you can talk to about God’s faithfulness through the Exodus event?