As a follow-up to the last post, Identifying Ourselves Based on Our Belief System and Self-Awareness, I would like to give an example of how inattentive we are when it comes to our beliefs. While serving on staff at my church, we decided to have a one-time special event and I was going to be the coordinator.
Sitting around a rectangular table in one of the church classrooms, six of us were planning a traditional Jewish Passover Seder dinner for our congregation and invited guests. Determined to replicate the celebration of Passover as closely as possible, we decided to include the six traditional Seder foods on the Seder plate. Each food holds a symbolic meaning in light of the 430 years the Israelites’ suffered in Egypt before the exodus.
The lamb shank on the Seder plate symbolizes the unblemished lamb, which atoned for the sins of the Israelites. And our Christian celebration of the Jewish Passover was a reminder of our unblemished lamb, Jesus Christ, who atoned for our sins. One of the volunteers scoffed at our meticulous planning.
“Come on, do you really think they did all of that?” she asked.
“Of course they did,” another volunteer, answered. “It was the last Passover meal that initiated the Lord’s Supper.”
Some in the Christian faith aren’t aware of how the threads of the Old Testament weave themselves into the New Testament. In Christianity is Jewish, Edith Schaeffer writes that the early Christians were all Jews, and some of them who read their Torah carefully believed and waited for the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Looking at the book of Hebrews, we learn more about the importance of linking the old with new:
But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Preserving the integrity of a Jewish Passover celebration by Christians isn’t such an absurd idea after all. It reminds us why Jesus shed his blood on the cross to atone for our sins. Furthermore, it gives us a fresh perspective on what Jewish people believe, and why they believe it. All of humanity feels the need for redemption and my participation in this event gave me a better understanding of the Jewish faith.