HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Have you ever dated someone or been in a serious relationship? How do you know that it’s finally going to that next level? One of the most commonly accepted signs that a relationship is getting serious is when you are invited to ‘meet the family.’ Or even more consequential, when you’re invited to attend a holiday meal with the family.
It is a rite of passage to learn what your significant other’s family does for the holidays, which common traditions they keep, and which ones they have created for themselves. The exchange of cultural and familial cues that occur during a holiday meal are profound.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that it dawned on me that Yeshua has an earthly family – with traditions and holidays that God Himself set in place. As much as I loved Yeshua, I had never considered that I had been cordially and biblically invited to celebrate those holidays! I also had no idea how much more I would learn about my Messiah by celebrating them.
Yeshua was a Jewish man, with a Jewish family, who kept each one of the Appointed Times as prescribed in the Torah – God’s Law. As I started to journey through the biblical calendar of feasts and fasts, I experienced an intimacy with my Jewish Savior like I’d never known before. I will never forget how real and personal He felt to me when I sat down to celebrate my first Passover in Israel.
I could not believe that after years of being in love with Yeshua, I was finally sitting down to dinner with Him and His extended family. In those moments He was not just my Lord seated in Heaven, He was almost tangible, like He was seated next to me!
YESHUA REVEALED IN THE PASSOVER
Arguably the biggest holiday in the Hebrew calendar, Passover is not just a Jewish tradition, it is a God-given altar of remembrance of His saving power over death.
Passover begins on the 14th of Nisan, which is the first month of God’s calendar. Although it is a little-known fact, Passover marks the beginning of the biblical calendar year. God instituted the feast while the Israelites were still in captivity in Egypt. As He sent the last plague upon Egypt, killing the firstborn of each household, the Lord implemented the Passover as a means of marking the Jewish people as separate from all others.
The LORD caused death to pass over each home that had applied the blood of a sacrificed, unblemished lamb to the doorposts (Ex. 12:1-28). This day was to be kept as a memorial and a feast forever (Ex. 12:14). Throughout the generations of Jewish people observing the Passover, God was training them to understand that the sacrifice of blood was able to cause death to flee from them.
So how does Yeshua factor into the Passover? In several beautiful ways that only God could bring creatively together. Yeshua triumphantly entered into Jerusalem on a donkey on the 10th day of Nisan. This would have been the very same day that the Israelites selected their unblemished lambs to be sacrificed by the whole congregation, four days later (Ex. 12:3-6).
Yeshua was presented to Israel as being perfect before being sacrificed on the 14th day of Nisan or the beginning of Passover (John 19:14). The Passover lambs were slain and sacrificed at twilight (Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5). Yeshua passed away at about that same time (Matt. 27:45-50).
The sacrifice of the Passover lambs was a device God used to ultimately point to the true and perfect lamb of God (1 Peter 1:19). Yeshua’s sinlessness caused Him to be able to be the ultimate lamb who takes sin away from the world (John 1:29). Yeshua was the Messiah of Israel, the Passover lamb that was able to defeat death once and for all (1 Cor. 5:7).
YOU’RE INVITED TO THE TABLE!
In the New Covenant, Yeshua did something radically new and surprising – He personally invited all believers to join Him at the Passover table, or, “The Lord’s Supper” (Luke 22:14-35). It was at His last Passover meal that Yeshua raised the cup and the Matzah (unleavened bread) and said “do this in remembrance of me.” When He referred to doing ‘this’, He was referring to the Passover.
Remembering Him in this way was not only His express wish, but it is a confirmation of the continuity of God’s goodness throughout millennia. Yeshua’s blood not only covers the sins of Israel, but the blood of the lamb of God was sufficient to rescue the whole world! Now that is something to celebrate!