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  • Writer's pictureJH Israel

Passover - The Celebration of Redemption

Passover has been an integral part of the Jewish faith for centuries and is rooted in the biblical story of the Exodus, which recounts how the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and ultimately led to freedom by Moses. In the Biblical story of their escape, the Jews were spared by the Angel of Death after they marked their doorways with lamb's blood in order to save their firstborn sons from the tenth and final plague. According to the book of Exodus, God commanded the Israelites to observe Passover as a way to remember their liberation (redemption) from slavery and the miraculous events that led to their freedom.

What is Passover?

The word "Passover" comes from the Hebrew word "Pesach," which means "to pass over." This refers to the fact that God "passed over" the Israelite households and spared their firstborn sons, while the firstborn sons of the Egyptians were struck down.

Today, the celebration of Passover among the Jewish people is marked by a range of symbolic rituals and traditions, that help to retell the story of the Exodus and connect participants with its message. Some of the key Passover rituals include:

The Passover Seder: The Seder is a special meal that is typically held on the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder involves reading from a special text called the Haggadah, which recounts the story of the Exodus and explains the significance of the various rituals. The Seder meal includes a number of symbolic foods, such as matzah (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herbs), and charoset (a mixture of fruit and nuts).

Four cups of wine: During the Seder meal, participants drink four cups of wine or grape juice, each of which represents a different aspect of the Exodus story: freedom, redemption, deliverance, and completion.

Afikomen: At the beginning of the Seder, a piece of matzah called the afikomen is hidden, and children are encouraged to find it. The afikomen is then broken and eaten at the end of the meal, and its discovery is often rewarded with a prize or gift.

Reciting the ten plagues: During the Seder, participants recite the ten plagues that God brought upon Egypt as a punishment for enslaving the Israelites. Each plague is represented by a drop of wine that is spilled from the cup.

Overall, the Passover rituals help to create a meaningful and memorable experience for participants, connecting them with the story of the Exodus and its enduring message of freedom and liberation.


The Celebration of Passover

Passover is also wonderfully meaningful to Christians. In the New Testament, Jesus’ Last Supper was a Passover Seder meal that He and His disciples ate to celebrate the feast of Passover. Jesus taught His disciples that the wine and the bread at the meal signified that He would become the Sacrificial Lamb by which sins are forgiven and reconciliation with God can occur. By His sacrificial death, Jesus became the lamb whose blood was applied so that eternal death would pass over those that believe in Jesus’ redemptive work.

This year, Passover will run from the evening of April 5, 2023, to the evening of Thursday, April 13, 2023, with the Passover meal being shared on the first or second evening. During this Passover season, let us remember to be thankful for the display of God’s liberating power in times past; and based on that platform of God’s faithfulness, let’s walk in the hope that the same liberating power is available to us now and in times to come.


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