Today we’ll continue and conclude learning about the elements that are part of a Passover Seder (meal) and what they signify and how Jesus is the actual fulfilment of them all. In our last program we finished up by looking at the symbolic elements that are placed on the Seder Plate that sits in the centre of a Passover Table setting and what they were representative of and we’ll pick up now on the next step or stage of the Passover feast.
Leviticus 23:4-5, ‘These are the appointed times of the Lord, holy convocation which you shall proclaim at the times appointed them. In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.’
At the Passover Seder a place is always set that remains empty, it is set for the prophet Elijah because Malachi 4:5 brings the expectation that Elijah the prophet will be the forerunner of Messiah and of course Messiah is the One who will bring about ultimate redemption. Typically, it’s at this point in the Seder that the children are sent to find the hidden Afikomen and the third Cup of Redemption is drunk. The Jews celebrate their redemption from Egyptian slavery but they are also earnestly waiting for their Messiah to come with their ultimate redemption and therefore, the sooner Elijah comes the sooner Messiah comes and it’s for this reason Elijah has been incorporated into the Passover celebration.
Malachi 4:5, ‘Behold, I’m going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He’ll restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I won’t come and smite the land with a curse.’
The expectation of Jews about the coming of Messiah is that all things will be set to right and harmony and peace will be seen and experienced and the fighting and war will cease. Real redemption will be seen in very practical ways – remember that Judaism is practical, literal, physical and not merely or only spiritual and analytical. Because of sin, everything suffers – even the family. But when Messiah comes, families will be restored and peace will come to the land. They long for this.
We know that John the Baptist came in the spirit of Elijah and was the forerunner of Messiah, a voice in the wilderness making the way straight for Jesus when He came on the scene. When the children find the Afikomen there is great rejoicing because ‘that which is coming’ has finally come. Everyone takes a piece of the Afikomen and proceeds to eat it along with drinking the Cup of Redemption. Do you see the significance of this act? The Messiah that has been hidden away, comes back and they accept Him and experience the Redemption He provides!!!
Often the youngest child will run to the door at this point and open it in the hope that Elijah is waiting there ready to be welcomed in by the family in anticipation of the imminent arrival of Messia They have a seat at the table prepared just for Elijah, a place of honour. No one sits in Elijah’s seat, it’s reserved for him because he is expected to precede the Messiah.
During the ‘Last Supper’ Jesus instituted this part of the Seder to be about remembering His sacrifice of shed blood and broken body requiring His disciples (all of us included) to eat and drink as often as we come together.
Matthew 26:26-28, ‘While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.”‘
This cup closes the Seder stating that the Seder is complete just as our redemption is complete even though we are still awaiting the Messiah. It’s a cup of thanksgiving and hope, knowing that what God has promised He will do. God cannot lie, so when He makes a promise, He will most assuredly keep His Word. (Num 23:19, 1 Sam 15:29, Heb 6:18, Psa 89:35)
It’s believed that it was this last cup of the Passover Seder that Jesus didn’t drink, and He said He wouldn’t drink it again until He drinks it in His Father’s kingdom which will be when He returns and is welcomed by His own people.
Matthew 26:29, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
We as believers can be absolutely assured that our redemption is complete, we cannot add a single thing to it and we don’t need to, Jesus’s work on the cross was absolutely complete. It’s in this knowledge that we should demonstrate intense gratitude and thankfulness to Him for what He has done and knowing that our hope isn’t in vain; we don’t waste our hope when we put our faith and trust in Him. The Redemption was paid in full at Calvary, but the plan of Redemption for mankind is still unfolding. When all has been fulfilled and Jesus returns, then He’ll finally drink the last cup, the cup of thanksgiving and hope because all His work and finally been completed. The redemptive plan for the history of mankind culminating in absolute success.
At the end of the Passover Seder, Messiah hasn’t come, so everybody says together… “L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim”
“Next year in Jerusalem!”
This has been the cry of every Jewish heart since the Diaspora of the Jewish people around the world and they’ve repeated this statement every year for the past 2,000 years. It carries the hope not only of restoration for the people and their nation, but also for the coming of Messiah.
We as believers long also for the return of Jesus our Messiah, that He would come and put to right all things. We long for Him to establish His kingdom in His righteousness, and He will reign from His throne in Jerusalem, the throne of His father David.
Gabriel said to Mary in Luke 1:31-32, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a Son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He’ll be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.”
Jesus, from the day of His birth to today, has not ruled from the throne of king David in Jerusalem, that is for history yet future. It’s a sure future, but it’s set for a time in the future to come. The redemption story is ongoing…the price was paid in full at Calvary, but the gates are still open and souls are still being saved and the Messiah has yet to return. May it be soon.
At this point in the Seder, the candles are extinguished and the Seder is complete.
Passover is so important and incredibly significant. God protected His children from death and delivered them from slavery in Egypt when judgment was passed on their oppressors. The blood of the lamb provided the protection for them when the angel of death made its way throughout the land…it ‘Passed over them’ and this eventuated in their deliverance from slavery and redemption from their task masters.
Jesus fulfils every element of the Passover and is Himself the means for our freedom from slavery to sin and redemption from our own sinful lives and He paid for that redemption with His own blood. This has resulted in death passing over us so we can experience new life in Him.