One of the most moving moments in the life of Jesus occurs at the very end of His earthly ministry. It is known as the Last Supper – the final gathering of Jesus and the disciples to celebrate Passover on the last night of His earthly life.
Although many believers have been aware of the Jewish Passover, many have not experienced the full impact of the relationship between this joyful, ancient celebration and one of the oldest and most important observances of Christianity, the Lord’s Supper.
The more we learn of the Passover, the more we understand the ministry of Messiah. The Passover is a living testimony of God’s faithfulness to His people. It teaches us to look back at the past with gratitude, to accept the present with trust and to anticipate the future with hope. The Passover teaches us that the same God who rescued His children from the bondage of slavery in Egypt will also bring us into the fullness of His Kingdom at the return of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah.
And the great thing is that you don’t have to go to the dusty volumes of history to discover this precious knowledge. The Passover is still a living Jewish tradition – and you can celebrate it! Hosting a Passover meal in your home or church is a wonderful way to renew your appreciation for God’s promises and their fulfilment in Messiah.
Seder is the Hebrew word for “order” or “procedure.” It is the liturgy of Passover, a living tradition that links the present with the past. Like the other feasts of Israel, Passover is a fascinating blend of elements designed to make the story of the Exodus from Egypt as riveting as possible.
The service itself, as well as the meal, follows the typical traditions of Passover found in the Jewish community today. By using all of the senses, the Passover Seder tells the story of God’s grace in history. But our service also helps show clearly that Jesus is the Passover lamb as described in the New Testament. We are taking the traditional Passover service and pointing out why it is meaningful to Christians who believe Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah. It is also an excellent means of sharing the message of the Saviour with those who are curious about the God of the Bible.
What to Expect at a Passover Seder
A full Seder is an interactive learning experience, with participants sitting in small groups around dinner tables while the leader explains the significance of God’s object lessons. The Seder involves everyone present since they all have a Haggadah (the printed order of service, reading, and songs) and are called to share in reading and singing the story.
The Passover Seder will take approximately 2-2.5 hours from start to finish. The evening is divided into three parts:
- introduction and 1st set of Seder rituals (~80 minutes)
- meal (~45 minutes)
- conclusion (~25-35 minutes)
We encourage churches and groups to jump in and enjoy the full meal Seder. It can be enjoyed in homes in small groups or as a whole community together. If a full Seder isn’t an option at this time, consider a Passover demonstration, which involves a leader demonstrating the various elements of the service and does not include a meal for the guests. This takes about 45 minutes. It has the advantage of flexibility and the least amount of preparation. The main disadvantage is the lack of the participatory experience in community, the primary value of the Seder.