PASSOVER IN THE HOLY LAND

With a record number of visitors continuing to arrive this spring, our SAR-EL team remains hard at work and committed to this labor of love as we host and serve thousands of Pilgrims from all over the world who arrive to enjoy the miracle of Israel. With Passover and Easter falling on the same weekend this year, the excitement and activity is doubled. Tens of thousands of international visitors are joining millions of local Israelis in celebrations and special events all over the land.

For Jewish worshippers, the Passover season is epic from a national perspective, commemorating Israel’s DELIVERANCE and EXODUS out of Egypt and the launch of our national life. But not only that. This first of God’s seven feasts (Passover, First Fruits, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Tabernacles) also establishes the eternal principle that God alone is able to set His people free from bondage and affliction, and that He accomplishes this miracle of grace through the blood of an innocent lamb.

The modern day Passover celebration, as it has been handed down to us through recent centuries through the hands of many Jewish scholars and religious leaders, has lost some of its biblical simplicity and authenticity and picked up post-biblical traditions, menu items and Jewish symbolism. The fact is, however, that the original Passover tradition that Moses commanded the children of Israel to observe was very simple and direct in its protocol and its message as the entire evening was dedicated to one single act of sacrifice and faith in God.

The generation that left Egypt on the original Passover night was asked to take a few simple and direct steps of faith:

  1. Select a perfect lamb.
  2. Inspect it for four days.
  3. Slay it at the entrance to their homes on the 14th day of the first month and paint the doorway with its blood.
  4. Roast it in fire and consume it that very evening in a family meal with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
  5. Consume it in a family meal that very evening.
  6. Take shelter indoors while the destroying angel passed throughout Egypt that night.
  7. March out into freedom the following morning.

That epic night thousands of years ago marked the start of Israel’s national life as a people redeemed by God, and it has remained the cornerstone of the nation’s legacy since then. The only additional biblical commandment for future generations was to “tell the story” at each Passover celebration so that the memory of this foundational miracle will not perish from the earth. It is to be remembered for all time together with the attending wonders of God’s judgments of Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai, and much more. Thus, the Hebrew family was called to serve as God’s chosen nation on earth, destined to bring forth the Messiah who will come to be the Savior of all who believe in Him.

In time, the Passover became the cornerstone of the Messianic/Christian Faith as well when Jesus of Nazareth chose that very calendar day to offer up Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the redemption of God’s people everywhere. Was that date chosen intentionally by a divine decree, or was it just a coincidence that led Jesus to His cross that day? People of faith recognize that there are no coincidences with God. They have been celebrating for the last 2,000 years the great truth that the Messiah, the Anointed of God, was destined to reveal in Himself the original biblical shadow of the Passover Lamb and complete, with His own flesh and blood, the prophetic type of this ultimate and perfect sacrifice. And that, on the very day of the Passover Feast.

The Passover reminds both Jews and Christians that in the final day it will not be our good works or our impressive performance that will tip the scales in our favor. It teaches all people of faith that no one can save himself. Rather, we all desperately depend on our merciful Creator, our loving Heavenly Father, to pay the debt we cannot pay, settle the score that is beyond our reach, break the oppression and set His people free.

This Passover season in Israel is very special to all of us as faith, gratitude and worship rise up to the throne of God from so many longing hearts. In just a few days, millions of Israelis will gather around the Passover tables to partake of the historic meal and rehearse the story of our redemption in the Exodus from Egypt. In a few days, many more Christians from all over the world will join them with a global choir of thanksgiving for God’s sacrificial gift in His Son, the Messiah, who gave His life a ransom for many. Those of us who celebrate the Passover here in Jerusalem, Jew and Christian alike, are blessed indeed to be so near to the very place where this ultimate sacrifice was offered.

Jesus is our Passover. As the Apostle Paul, the first century Messianic theologian and an ardent disciple wrote long ago, “Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Messiah, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the Feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” I-Corinthians 5:7-8.

We greet you all with Holiday blessings from your SAR-EL team. We look forward to seeing you here soon!