Rahel Landrum also explained the spiritual significance of the meal for Christians in a presentation titled “Christ in the Passover.”
“I hope that at the end of this presentation you will see this as more than just a nice commemorative meal that Jewish people celebrate but that you will see this as I do — an object lesson of the life and mission of the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” Landrum said.
The first Passover is described in Exodus 12, when Jewish families are preparing to leave the bondage of the Egyptian pharaoh.
The Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples as recorded in the gospels was the Passover. Christian communion was instituted by Jesus during this meal.
Passover is the beginning of the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Among the requirements given to Moses by God at the time of the exodus was the removal of leaven from Jewish homes. The bread served during the Passover meal must be made without leaven, or yeast.
“Throughout Scripture, leaven is frequently used as a symbol of sin,” Landrum said. “A long time ago, a small piece of leaven was used to ferment an entire portion of dough. It was the small leaven that caused the dough to rise, or become puffed up, just as sin causes us to become puffed up in our own eyes.”
Orthodox Jews begin cleaning out any items in their home that contain leaven six weeks before Passover.
The first Jews to celebrate Passover were instructed to eat with sandals on their feet and a staff in hand, ready to go at a moment’s notice.
In the gospel account of the Last Supper, Jesus and the disciples are pictured reclining at the table.
“In Middle Eastern societies, only the free, only the redeemed could recline at the table...For them it was a sign of redemption from Egypt, but for us today, we have great reason to rejoice about the redemption that we have in Jesus,” Landrum said.
The Passover Seder, or order, lasts for approximately four hours.
Four cups of wine are served during the meal: the cup of sanctification, the cup of plagues, the cup of redemption and the cup of Hallel, or praise.
In the first Passover, Jews were instructed to take a spotless lamb, roast it whole without breaking any bones and apply its blood to the doorpost of their home.
“Because of their obedience to God’s command and because of their faith in the effectiveness of God’s provision, they were spared the ravages of the tenth plague that fell on Egypt. When the angel of death saw the blood on their doors, they were passed over,” Landrum said. “Just as none of the bones of the first lambs were broken in their death, none of Jesus’s bones were broken in his death. And just as my ancestors had to apply in faith the blood of the lamb to the doorposts of their home, each one of us today has to apply by faith the blood of the lamb of God.”
Other symbolic foods served during Passover include the following:
•matzo, or unleavened bread, which is broken, hidden away and brought back later in the meal
•karpas, or greens, that are dipped into salt water to symbolize that a life without redemption is immersed in tears
•maror, or bitter herbs
•charoset, or a sweet mixture of nuts, raisins and other items that represent the mortar used by the Jews to make bricks for Pharaoh
•a roasted egg that is broken as a token of grief over the destruction of the second temple in 70 A.D.
•a lamb shankbone, a reminder of the Passover sacrifices made in the Old Testament to atone for the people’s sins
Landrum reminded church members that because the temple has never been rebuilt, there is no longer an altar upon which sacrifices are made.
“Some of you would say, ‘That is something that God commanded of the children of Israel a long time ago. Now we live in modern times. That’s something that he said for the Jewish people to do. It has nothing to do with me,’” Landrum said. “But one thing doesn’t change. That is God. His principles don’t change. Whatever he required of the children of Israel then, he still requires of all of us. The same principle applies to all of us. Without the shedding of blood, there is no atonement.”
Messianic Jews like Landrum share the belief of Christians that the ultimate sacrifice for sin was made by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
“I can praise God not only because he redeemed the children of Israel, my ancestors, from bondage and slavery in Egypt, but he has redeemed me and you from an even greater bondage through our faith in the Messiah Jesus,” Landrum said.
Passover begins Monday.