Pesach is almost upon us. This time next week my household will be munching on over-sized crackers (Matzah), substituting it for regular bread for a week.
Pesach is actually the day before the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread, but the commandment to eat the Pesach meal with unleavened bread causes the Matzah to overflow to the Seder the night Pesach begins. Traditionally, preparation for Pesach and Unleavened bread entails ridding the house of all yeast products in keeping with the commandment to do so. As the weekend will bring us a little bit closer to the festivities and reflection that comes with Pesach and FOUB each year, it’s generally a time to search through one’s heart and life and find things that need to be removed (much like Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 5:8).
The official preparations in our household haven’t quite started yet, as there are still some yeast products in the house, and tonight at Erev Shabbat we will likely be enjoying some wonderful Challah, hand-made from scratch by either my lovely bride or my gracious mother in-law.
As I was thinking about this early this morning, I decided to do a little reading to stimulate my thoughts on the subject. My good friends over at Psalm11918 Ministries (psalm11918.org) have written a beautiful piece on Pesach and FOUB, and how both relate to us as followers of Messiah Yeshua. You can read the article for yourself, it’s not very long, but I wanted to share what it helped me to think of.
First, the relevance of the appointed times for believers in Yeshua.
Many in modern times think that all things “old testament” have been either replaced or “done away with.” However, Pesach still holds relevance for us despite our opinion on the Torah commandments, and even Paul mentions it and tells us to “keep the feast.” While I think I can prove, using scripture alone, that not only has no part of Scripture has been done away with, but also that believers and followers of Messiah Yeshua actually should still be keeping Torah to the best their ability, that is an issue for another time.
What an honor to be able to take part in the celebration of Pesach! It warps my mind to try to comprehend the thinking of anyone who thinks it a burden to take part in a ceremony that not only reflects on the blood that was spilled for our sins, but also looks forward to the return of the Messiah! Of course, we cannot follow the entire letter of the command in offering the Pesach lamb as a sacrifice because there is no temple in Jerusalem in which to offer it. This is why it is tradition at the end of the Pesach Seder for everyone in attendance to exclaim “Next year, in Jersusalem!” For Jews who do not know Messiah, this is their wish because making the journey to the Promised Land is considered the highest goal. For those of us who have been drawn by Messiah, it is an exclamation of hope and looking forward to His return, when He will sukkah with us for a thousand years, during which the daily sacrifices will be reinstated, and we will look back at the sacrifice He made for us as we dwell with Him.
As Pesach comes and goes, may we be mindful to reflect on the awesome gift of salvation that was given to us on Pesach almost 2000 years ago, and the spotless lamb that was sacrificed to bring this about. May we remember the mercy God showed to our forefathers in Egypt when He spared their lives as they anxiously awaited the signal that all was well. May our King return hastily, and may we live to see the day when we will be reunited with our Groom!
Next year in Jerusalem!