Why Would A Christian Celebrate A Jewish Feast?

The story is told of a rabbi who wondered why the Exodus story was told in the evening service.  Another, Ben Zoma, explained.  In Deuteronomy 16:3, the Jews are told to celebrate Passover  “… in order that you may remember all the days of our life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt.”  Ben Zoma pointed out that “the days of your life” would only include the days; “all the days of your life” means the nights also.  That part of the explanation apparently satisfied the rabbi, but the sage continued:  “The days of your life refers to the contemporary world; all the days of your life includes also the Days of the Messiah.”

We are, folks, in “the Days of the Messiah”!  And while we, as non-Jews are not bound by the laws and traditions of the Old Testament, we are certainly not prohibited from taking advantage of them, either.  (Romans 14:5-6)

Until the fourth century, Christians called Resurrection Sunday Pascha, from the Hebrew word Pesach (translated Passover in English.)  God set up each of the Old Testament holy days as a means by which He might draw His people to Himself.  The secondary purpose, and a means to the end, was to pass on the faith to the following generations.  This is especially clear in the Passover celebration.  (Deuteronomy 16:1-3)

The theme of Passover is “REMEMBER.”  Remember and teach.  Remember God’s power.  Teach it to your children.  Remember God’s sovereignty.  Teach them to honor Him as King.  Remember your redemption from Egypt.  Teach your children that we all must be redeemed through the Lamb.  (Exodus 12)

As Christians, we long to pass our faith on to our children.  While we recognize that tradition cannot save us, it can be useful as a faithful reminder, a place to hang your hat. By celebrating Passover, we too can remember … and teach.

But as Christians, we can go a step further.  Passover is not only a time of looking back and remembering.  It is also a time of looking forward, of anxiously awaiting.

Prophecy tells us that the Prophet Elijah was to come before Messiah to prepare His way.  (Malachi 4:5-6)  Toward the end of the Passover celebration, the children in a Jewish family open the door, hoping to see the Prophet Elijah.  Why?  Because they are waiting for Messiah!  The Passover celebrates not only redemption from Egyptian slavery, but redemption from slavery to sin.  Messiah came to set us free!  (Matthew 17:10-13, Luke 1:17)

The Jewish Passover ends with the hope that next year they will be able to celebrate in Jerusalem, the Holy City.  We look forward to a new city, a New Jerusalem, promised to us in the Revelation given to the Apostle John.  (Revelation 21:10 ff)

As Christians, we are not bound to Jewish laws and traditions.  We may make good use of them, but we are free to expound upon them as well.  (Acts 15:1-33)

Passover is prophecy.  Every aspect, whether ordained by God in Scripture, or passed down by Jewish tradition, points to Messiah and His sacrifice to redeem us from our sin.

In keeping with that, this Haggadah is a tapestry of God’s commands, Jewish tradition, New Covenant, and Scripture woven together to form a Passover seder which celebrates the Lord Jesus Christ, the final and effective Passover Lamb, slain and sacrificed for us.

I hope you and your family will come up with many of your own ways to add beauty and meaning to the Christian Passover celebration.

As you read through this haggadah and celebrate the Jewish Passover in a Christian way, my prayer is that you will feast upon and celebrate the Jewish Messiah:  the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who already came and redeemed us from our sins, and who is to come.  (Revelation 5:12; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 21:2)

Next year in the New Jerusalem!

(The above is an excerpt from Next Year In New Jerusalem, a Christian Passover Haggadah, which I’ve recently updated and put back into print.   If you have the old version, this is completely compatible with it.  The Seder script is still the same.  If you would like a copy of it, visit the link below.)