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New Freedom Found at Passover PDF Print E-mail

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It was a wonderful season of ministry around the country. In all our Seders and presentations in churches, we had several unsaved Jewish people, and it's fantastic that they got a chance to hear the Gospel in a culturally familiar context. We pray for lasting fruit from our efforts as the Holy Spirit waters the seed.

Melbourne had a great Seder with 420 people at St Kilda Town Hall. Louise Hirsch invited a Jewish neighbour who has come for the past 4 years, and even though she doesn't believe in Yeshua as the Messiah, yet, she enjoys our Messianic Seder immensely. During the time of worship she felt warm inside, and wondered what it was. Louise told her about the Ruach Hakodesh, the Holy Spirit.

In Sydney, almost 200 people enjoyed the evening at Northridge Vineyard led by Paul Cohen, with several unbelievers present. And in Canberra, 124 people celebrated, 11 of them Jewish Israeli non-believers. Leader Robert Miles said he had much positive feedback.

Celebrate Messiah outreach worker Barry Buirski travelled thousands of kilometres around country Victoria to share about Messiah in the Passover and conduct Passover Banquets.

"It results in a blessing not just for me but also for those who hear, and for the Jewish community worldwide including Israel at a time such as this."

May 2018

Responding to God's Good Gifts PDF Print E-mail

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Shalom and blessings to you in Yeshua our Messiah.

As we come to celebrate the Feast of Shavuot, also known as Pentecost in the New Testament, on Sunday 20th of May this year, I am so grateful to God for his good gifts to us through faith in Yeshua our Messiah.

At this Appointed Time we give thanks to God for two most amazing gifts in particular: the gifts of his Word and of his Spirit.

The Gift of His Word

And according to Jewish tradition, the feast of Shavuot, which occurs 50 days after Passover, marks the time of the giving of the Torah by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. In Judaism, this festival is also known as Z'man Matan Toratenu – the Season of the Giving of Torah.

Accordingly, as believers in Yeshua, I think this is a wonderful time for us to remember not just the giving of the Law of Moses, but the gift of all of God's Word to this world. Where would we be without God's personal revelation to us in his Word as the Psalmist says; "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105, ESV)

And Rabbi Sha'ul (the Apostle Paul) instructing the young Timothy said: "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16–17, ESV)

So at this season, let us give praise to the Lord for the gift of His Word!

The Gift of the Holy Spirit

Praise God too for the gift of his Holy Spirit. Yeshua's last instructions to his disciples were to stay in Jerusalem until they received the gift that the Father had promised and that he too had spoken about (cf. Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4). He also encouraged them with these words: "For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1:5, NIV84)

The disciples obeyed Yeshua and went back to wait in Jerusalem. Not many days later came the Feast of Shavuot, and they were all together in the upper room (cf. Acts 1:13).

It was God's appointed time to send them the gift that he had promised. The Holy Spirit fell on each one of the disciples, filling and empowering them to be his witnesses (cf. Luke 24: 48, Acts 1:8).

Because it was the feast of Shavuot, devout Jews from all over the known world were in Jerusalem to fulfill God's instructions in the Torah (cf. Deut. 16:16).

It was this multitude of Jews who heard the Apostle Peter's first Spirit-filled and anointed sermon. His message was so powerful that day that 3,000 Jewish people, convicted by the Holy Spirit, cried out in unison: "... Brothers, what shall we do?" And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit..." (Acts 2:37–39, ESV)

What a powerful start to the first messianic movement; 3,000 Jewish people were born again. What a difference from when the Law was given on Mount Sinai. On that day, 3,000 Jewish people died because of the golden calf rebellion (cf. Exod. 32:28).

The gift of the Holy Spirit empowered the early believers as they began to witness for the Messiah starting in Jerusalem, then on to Judea, to Samaria and eventually to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8). And today, we are still busy with the task that Yeshua has given us; to be his witnesses starting in Jerusalem and proclaiming the Good News to all nations. The job is far from being finished and we continually need the presence, comfort and power of the Holy Spirit in our lives to accomplish our Master's Great Commission.

Reaching out to the Unreached

At this time of Pentecost, let us remember to give thanks to God for his wonderful gifts to us: his Word and his Spirit. Can I also ask you to please spare a thought and a prayer for the Jewish people who still represent an unreached people group that need to hear and understand the Gospel.

The first believers were Jewish, but as the message was preached to all nations, Gentiles were added to this predominately Jewish movement until Jewish believers were a small minority as we have today.

This was all part of God's plan of course, and we praise God for his mercy and grace to all people through faith in Jesus. We, however, at Celebrate Messiah, are doing our very best to increase the percentage of Jewish believers in the Body of Messiah today through our evangelistic efforts. Your prayers and partnership are essential! We can't do it without the power of the Holy Spirit and your prayerful support.

God has Given Good Gifts – Now it is Our Turn

While I know that God gifts to us are freely given, I cannot help but want to respond to him for his goodness to us and ask the question; "Lord you have given us so many good gifts, what can I now do for you?"

I believe from my reading of the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts that God's answer to us would be, "I've given you good gifts and done everything needed for your salvation, now it's your turn, go and be my witnesses." (cf. Luke 24:45-49).

God has accomplished all things pertaining to our salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of the Messiah. He has given us his Word and has empowered by his Spirit and now he gives us our "marching" orders – now it's our turn!

The feast of Shavuot was a harvest festival thanking God for the firstfruits of the wheat harvest (cf Exod 34:22) as the Word of God says:

"Then you will keep the Feast of Shavuot to Adonai your God with a measure of a freewill offering from your hand, which you are to give according to how Adonai your God blesses you." (Deuteronomy 16:10, TLV)

Dear friend, would you please prayerfully consider giving a thanksgiving offering to the Lord at this time to help us continue "Bringing the Message to the Original Messengers."

Your blessing and support of the mission of Celebrate Messiah at this time will be greatly appreciated as we continue the harvest amongst God's ancient covenant people.

Giving to Jewish Ministry in Your Will

When you remember Celebrate Messiah in your will, you become a partner in our life-changing work amongst God's Chosen People worldwide as we await the Messiah's return. If you would like to speak to a Christian solicitor about including Celebrate Messiah in your will, please call our office on 03 9563 5544 for more information.

Tax deductible benevolent fund

Making a donation to Tikkun Olam will provide a generous festival food hamper to needy people. This fund is tax deductible. We can
arrange regular monthly support with your bank. So, please consider making a donation towards helping in a practical and spiritual way those needy Jewish folks in our local community. An online donation can be made by clicking here
Please specify that your donation is for Tikkun Olam so you'll receive a tax-deductible receipt.


"Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15, ESV)

 Yours together in the harvest,

Lawrence Signature

Lawrence Hirsch

Executive Director of Celebrate Messiah

The Foods of Passover PDF Print E-mail

Most Jewish holidays are marked by the enjoyment of special foods. Passover, in particular, is generally associated with a wide array of dishes designed to remind partakers of both the bitterly high price that was paid for their deliverance, and the sweetness of this redemption. Culinary traditions differ based on the background of the family celebrating it, but there are a few staples that are characteristic of most Passover celebrations.


Tzimmes (TSIM-ess) is one of those Jewish dishes that doesn't sound good when reading the ingredients, but one taste of this gooey, sticky, roasted vegetable dish will have you wanting more! The sweetness of this dish reminds us of the sweetness of redemption.


1803W Tzimmes8 carrots, chopped

2 yellow onions, chopped

2 turnips, chopped

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

225g dried apricots, chopped

240ml apple juice

1 cup honey

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons tarragon


1. Preheat oven to 180°C.

2. Heat the apple juice, honey, salt, pepper, and tarragon and simmer in a small pot.

3. Place the vegetables and apricots and in a 4-inch deep casserole dish.

4. Pour the honey and juice mixture over the vegetable/apricot mixture.

5. Cover and cook in oven at 180°C for 90 minutes.

6. Remove cover and cook for 30 minutes more, and serve.

Yield: 10 to 12 portions


Charoset (khah-ROH-set) is a sweet apple mixture made with dates, nuts, and honey. This symbolises the mortar used in Egypt for making bricks.


4 red apples (finely chopped)

1 cup chopped walnuts (finely chopped)

½ cup chopped dates (finely chopped)

¼ cup of honey

½ cup sweet red wine or grape juice

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg


1. Peel and grate the apple.

2. Mix in the nuts, dates, honey and spices.

3. Add the wine or juice and mix well.

4. Refrigerate until serving. The mixture will turn brown.

Yield: 12 portions

Grandma Belle's Matzah Brie


3 pieces of matzah
1 egg
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Break apart the three pieces of matzah into small pieces, and place them in a bowl. Add about ¾ cup of water – just enough to dampen the matzah without soaking it.

2. Drain any excess water and mix with the egg.

3. Melt the butter in a pan, and add the mixture, frying it like a pancake until both sides are brown and crispy. Season it to taste. It's good with jam!

Yields: 1 portion

Messiah in the Passover - Book Review PDF Print E-mail

When we picture the Last Supper, many of us recall Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper." Jesus and His disciples partake of fluffy rolls more characteristic of an Italian-style Sunday afternoon dinner than a first-century Jewish Passover Seder. So what was different? What was the same? Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder? Messiah in the Passover, edited by Dr. Darrell Bock and Dr. Mitch Glaser, addresses these questions with thorough studies of Passover in the Old and New Testaments.

Messiah in the Passover is a comprehensive volume of the most pertinent information about Jewish tradition, the Gospels, and the Passover from Bible scholars and seasoned Chosen People Ministries' teachers. Messiah in the Passover expands upon themes of promise and fulfillment within a first-century context, which helps the reader to see the New Testament through Jewish eyes and have a deeper knowledge of Jesus and His relationship to His people. Understanding the Jewish background of the New Testament allows us to better understand the links between Jesus and the Passover. Understanding Jewish life, culture, and history across the millennia is layered and multi-faceted. Like a tapestry, each individual thread connects, and the reader can't tug on one without pulling on the other.

Each year, Christians honor Holy Week and Jesus' death and resurrection, while Jewish people remember the Exodus out of Egypt. Messiah in the Passover explains how these two observances, separated by time, share the same origin, and how we can better understand Jesus' life and ministry in light of the Passover. Messiah in the Passover also covers the Seder in Jewish tradition and Church history, as well as practical applications for teaching the Passover and having a family Seder in your home.

To order your copy please click on the image below:

1803W MessiahInPassover

Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder? PDF Print E-mail

Dear friends,

We are approaching the Passover/Easter season and I pray this will be a spiritually enriching time for you and your family. Hundreds of Jewish people – both believers in Jesus and seekers – will be attending Chosen People Ministries' Passover events around the globe. 

Here in Australia, we are holding events in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and the Sunshine Coast as well as scores of presentations at churches. 

Please remember to pray for these outreaches as many Jewish people will be introduced to the Lamb of God for the first time in a very "Jewish way!"

The Gospel in th 58c95c19333dc510d5n-jmsL. SX331 BO1204203200 Your Mission to the Jewish People has produced two new books, which are now available. Both books cover similar material, but the longer book, Messiah in the Passover, goes into greater depth regarding Passover in the Bible, Jewish history, and even Church history. The Gospel in the Passover focuses on the way in which Jesus fulfills the festival.

Passover and the Gospel of John

One chapter in Messiah in the Passover by CPM president Dr Mitch Glaser focuses on the Gospel of John, and based on that wonderful Gospel, tries to answer this question: "Was the Last Supper a Passover Seder?" The following is a small portion of the chapter.

The Gospel of John is critical to understanding the Jewish story of Jesus. Many scholars argue that the Gospel of John was primarily written to Gentiles, perhaps because of its 90 A.D. date of authorship as well as for a variety of textual reasons. However, the Gospel of John really should be viewed through a Jewish lens. John himself was Jewish and one of the earliest disciples of Jesus. His Hebrew name was Yochanan. Traditionally, and without argument, he is thought to be the author of the Gospel that bears his name as well as author of the Epistles (First, Second and Third John) and the Book of Revelation. John lived longer than any of the other apostles, according to early Church tradition, and died as an exile in the late first century on the island of Patmos.

John's first-hand experience with Jesus gives him great insight into the details of Jesus' life. He travelled with the Messiah, heard His sermons and was perhaps the one who was described as "beloved." He was present at the foot of the cross, unlike his peers, and was given the task of caring for Miriam (Mary), the mother of Yeshua (John 19:26-27).

He was present with Jesus at every Jewish festival the Savior celebrated. Perhaps this is why we learn some unique aspects of the last Passover supper of Jesus – especially from the teaching of the Savior during that meal, generally referred to as the Upper Room Discourse.

John mentions Passover quite often in his Gospel. In his very first mention of Jesus, John refers to Him as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). We may assume that his hearers would have understood this comment in light of the Passover.

John describes three different Passovers observed by Jesus: John 2:13, 6:4, and the final Passover, the focus of this chapter, found in John 11:55, 12:1, and 13:1 with additional references in John 18:28 and 19:14. It should also be noted that Luke tells us that John was asked by Jesus to make preparations for this final Passover meal (Luke 22: 8-13). The Passover meal to this day is known as a Seder, a Hebrew word meaning order, as the meal follows an order of service.

The Foot Washing

We understand that the Seder observed by Jesus and His disciples would have been more primitive and not as well developed as what was described 200 years later in the Mishnaic tractate, Pesachim,1 or found in the modern Haggadah, the guide to our modern Passover Seder. However, some of the traditions recorded by John run parallel to our modern day Passover Seder and cause us to think that, in fact, Jesus observed a similar Passover to what we know today and what I was raised celebrating each year! As most of us know, Jesus washed His disciples' feet during the Last Supper.

The modern Haggadah calls upon participants to wash their hands twice for the sake of establishing ritual purity. 

The first ritual hand washing is called, in Hebrew, Urchatz.2 In this instance, water is poured from a cup, once over each hand and recited without a blessing in preparation for taking the greens, either parsley or lettuce, which is part of the traditional Seder meal.

The second hand washing is called Rachtzah3 and it is done a little later in the Passover service just prior to eating the matzah (unleavened bread). This time, a blessing is said when pouring the water over the hands: "Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His laws and commanded us to wash our hands."

These washing traditions harken back to those linked to ritual purity found in the Torah and in particular to various commandments associated with the priesthood and Temple offerings, especially the preparation of the priests for their duties.4 

Again, our modern Passover Seder rituals developed over centuries and cannot be simply "read into" the Passover Seder of Jesus. In this instance, however, it appears that the washing of the disciple's feet should be associated with the liturgy of the Last Supper (or Last Seder) rather than the common washing of feet when entering a house as a guest.

Most obvious of all is that the disciples are already sitting at the table and engaged with dinner when the foot washing begins. 5 

Jesus decided to use His washing the disciples' feet rather than their hands to teach the disciples some early lessons about true humility, suggesting that true spirituality is not a simply a matter of performing rituals correctly but a matter of the heart. The lessons in humility demonstrated and then taught through changing the hand washing into a foot washing is dramatic and powerful.

1803W Foot-washing-WebSo when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. (John 13:12-17)

There are many rabbinic teachings found in the Mishnah and Talmud that emphasise the importance of humility.6 We find similar thoughts about humility in the words of Jesus Himself spoken during the Sermon on the Mount, especially as gleaned from the first three beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-5).

Reclining at the Table 

Once again, we have good evidence that this meal is a Seder, as writing in his commentary on the Gospel of John, Dr Don Carson suggests that the "reclining" posture of the disciples during the meal is another hint that the meal was a Passover Seder: "In short, the posture of Jesus and his men is a small indicator that they were in fact eating the Passover meal."7

The reclining posture of the disciples and Jesus indicates that the meal was a "special meal" and in this instance, because of the other elements mentioned, and the date it took place, it may be seen as a Passover Seder.

The Sop and the Betrayal

Another key to understanding this meal as the Last Seder of Jesus comes when Jesus indicates to His disciples that Judas is going to betray Him. In response to Peter's asking who the perpetrator will be, Jesus responds, '"That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.' So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot" (John 13:26).

The dipping of the "morsel" likely refers to one of the various "dippings" that are part of the Seder. It could refer to the dipping of the greens (parsley or lettuce), the bitter herbs, or the haroseth (the sweet mixture of apples, nuts, and honey used to symbolise the sweetness of redemption in the midst of the bitterness of slavery represented by the other dippings). We might not know which dipping Jesus is referring to exactly, but clearly this is an unusual action for a regular meal, but not for a Passover Seder.

There are many other reasons why we believe that the dinner recorded by John was an early version of a Passover Seder, but perhaps the above will suffice for now and give you a hunger to learn more about the Passover and the ways Jesus, the Lamb of God, fulfills the Feast.

Enjoy the rest of the newsletter and remember to pray for our staff serving in 17 countries around the globe as they present the Messiah through the Passover in churches, homes, and Messianic congregations – speaking one-on-one with Jewish people who need to know the Lord.

Thanks for you prayers and generous support of our ministry. Happy Passover and may the power of His resurrection give you strength to serve Him faithfully!

Your Brother,

Lawrence Signature



1 The tractate of the Mishnah about Passover

2 Literally, washing or cleansing

3 Literally, To wash or bath

4 Leviticus 8:6, Leviticus 16:24-25

5 Craig S Keener, The Gospel of John: A Commentary (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 906.


6 Ibid. 906–907.


7 Carson, D. A.. The Gospel According to John. (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), p. 473.



Purim Articles PDF Print E-mail


Purim! Is there a more festive celebration in the entire Jewish world? No indeed! Purim is a foot-stomping, shouting, eating, singing, joking Jewish carnival for all ages. The Book of Esther provides the background and Jewish tradition has taken it from there. Throughout the world, Purim is celebrated in many ways, as Jewish people from many cultures have infused their festivities with their own particular local customs.

But along with the differences, there is a continuity that is solidly based in the Scripture and the story it tells of God's deliverance through the bravery and obedience of His chosen servants.

To help you learn more about this festive celebration please explore the following articles:

Purim FAQ

Purim: God's Providence in Esther

Purim: Characters and Celebrations

Purim Recipes

Purim: God saves His people

Purim Around the World


Passover and Your Home PDF Print E-mail

by Cathy Wilson


Should the Lord lead you to present a Passover Seder at your church or in your small group, it is wise to consider including an introduction about the significance of the Passover. You might even suggest that your fellowship invite a Chosen People Ministries staff person to instruct the group. Our Church Ministries staff would be happy to speak with you or your pastor. (www.celebratemessiah/contact/inviteaspeaker)

Allow me then to share some of what I tell those who are interested in, but unfamiliar with Passover to interest them in learning more and even celebrating a Seder. You will help your believing friends by introducing them to this great opportunity to better appreciate redemption!

The Lamb: Center Stage

At the first Passover in Egypt, lambs enter the lives of the family members and are scrutinized from the tenth until the fourteenth of the month of Nisan (Exodus 12:1–7). An attachment to the lamb, now a part of the Jewish household, naturally develops. To help His people understand the cost and value of redemption, it may be that God's intention was for the lambs to be cherished and then later mourned.

Can you imagine what the children of Israel really thought about God's instructions? "We're to do—what? Why?" The children of Israel may not have remembered what God had so graphically conveyed about a lamb years ago when He called Abram to offer his only son as a burnt offering. The father and son climbed one of the mountains in the land of Moriah, and Isaac asked about the whereabouts of the burnt offering. His father plainly stated, "God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son" (Genesis 22:8). The Lord provided a ram (a male lamb) caught in the thicket by his horns as a substitute for Isaac (v. 13). This may well have been the first substitutionary sacrifice in the Bible. If not, it nevertheless dramatically displayed the biblical theme of substitutionary sacrifice.

We see this pattern emerge again in the Exodus when the time came for the first Passover, as God requires another lamb to be slain and its blood smeared upon the lintel and doorposts of each Israelite home as a substitute for the death of the firstborn sons of Israel. If the Israelites obey, their firstborn sons will not need to die. For the Lord will go through the land of Egypt to smite all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, but when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into the Israelites' houses to smite them (Exodus 12:7, 12–13, 21–23).

The lamb of the Egyptian Passover presents a foreshadowing of the Lamb mentioned in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, where Isaiah speaks of a lamb to come as a substitute for His people, Israel:

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:5–6)

The theme of the sacrificial lamb continues through Scripture, but can only be fully appreciated by first understanding the original Passover. By retelling the Passover story during the Seder, we deepen our connection to both the people and the God of Israel as we understand that the ultimate sacrificial Lamb is Jesus Himself.


Excerpted from the book 'Messiah in the Passover'

Messiah in the Passover - Introduction PDF Print E-mail

by Dr. Mitch Glaser


The Jewish holidays not only include teaching, but also special sacrifices that are made such as the waving of sheaves, the baking of bread, the building of booths, and the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn trumpet). The seven great festivals of Israel are replete with object lessons that help us better understand the story of redemption. These object lessons, woven into the very fabric of the feasts, enabled the Israelites to "get their hands a little dirty" and to not merely hear or listen, but to do and participate so that the lessons of the festivals became ingrained in their very souls. It's no secret to modern experts on the process of learning that it is not merely children who learn better by doing—but adults as well. Participating in the activities makes these lessons unforgettable.

This is the foundation for the Passover: it is a festival filled with opportunities for participation in the remembrance of our great deliverance from Egypt. We were told to recount the story year after year so that new generations of Jewish people would never forget what God did in delivering them from Egypt.
It is wonderful to observe the Passover because there are so many invaluable lessons preserved in the festival for the people of God. Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples in light of His sacrifice for our sins. Similarly, Christians throughout the world, in one way or another, remember Jesus and give thanks for His sacrificial death through the Lord's Supper, often called Communion.

When Christians celebrate the Passover, however, they grow in their understanding of the Old Testament, affirm the Jewishness of the Gospel, deepen their understanding of the Lord's Supper, build community with fellow Christians, and develop a common experience that will enable them to better communicate the Gospel to their Jewish friends. Most of all, we are passing along the glorious message of redemption to future generations and linking our children and grandchildren to the Exodus. This will help our children develop a sense of continuity between the Old and New Testaments and between prophecy given and prophecy fulfilled. This will build the faith of our kids, giving them greater assurance that what the Bible said about the future has and will come to pass.


Excerpted from the book 'Messiah in the Passover'

Passover and the Gospel of Luke PDF Print E-mail

by Dr. Darrell Bock


The events of the Last Supper are critical as it is the basis for what is commonly known as the Lord's Supper or Communion. The Apostle Paul considers this meal to be important as he makes direct reference to the words spoken by Jesus at the table in 1 Corinthians 11:23–25, which most Christians today hear regularly.

The issues related to this meal are numerous and complex, leading to a host of debates and discussions, each of which could fill this chapter. However, our concerns are narrow.

We will attempt to answer the question, "What does the first-century Jewish background of the Passover holiday contribute to our understanding of what Jesus did with His disciples at this evidently special meal?" Specifically, we will need to establish if a Passover or Passover-like meal took place, what can be known about the way in which it was celebrated, and how Jesus transformed this celebration by His words and actions.

Luke explicitly associates the Last Supper with the Passover meal and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Luke 22:1, 7, 15). He does this because the two feasts come back to back and were often combined or discussed together with either name used for the whole (Ezekiel 45:21; Matthew 26:17–18; Mark 14:1-2). Flavius Josephus, the first-century Jewish historian, writes "the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the Passover" (Ant. 14.21). The Passover connection is also seen in Mark's use of the terms in Mark 14:1, 12, where he similarly refers to both celebrations. This is an important observation to make as we prepare to discuss the topic.

The celebration of the Passover goes back centuries as other chapters in this book show. But the more controversial question is whether a specific Passover Seder was present or merely a liturgically structured meal with multiple cups. And where can we find more conclusive information regarding the meal, elements, symbolism, and traditions observed that evening? We will examine whether or not Jesus observed a more defined Seder, the nature of its internal elements and symbols, such as the cups mentioned in the account, and if what Luke describes is generally consistent with the elements of the Passover meal.


Excerpted from the book 'Messiah in the Passover' 

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