The last time I wrote, I shared about the 4th Seder cup—the Cup of Praise which celebrates God making the Jewish people into a great nation. However, to many Jewish people, this cup is bittersweet, since many are still in exile and awaiting the return of the Messiah. For this reason, the Rabbis instituted a fifth cup, the Cup of Elijah. God spoke through Malachi, the last prophet of the Old Testament, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” (Malachi 4:5)

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Passover is upon us in one week! How amazingly exciting! The 4th cup of the Seder is the Cup of Praise. When drinking this cup, we sing and rejoice that Israel was made into a nation at Sinai! The leader of the Seder says that Lord has remembered us; and to this day, God has remembered the everlasting covenant that He made with Abraham in Genesis 17:7. Traditionally we sing Dayenu—“it would have been enough” – and psalms of praise. In the song Dayenu, we thank God for delivering us from the Egyptians, bringing us through the Sea of Reeds, and bringing us forth as Am Yisrael, the people of Israel!

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The Cup of Redemption is the third cup of the Passover Seder and is the first cup to be drunk after the meal. It is believed that it is the Cup of Redemption that Jesus instructed the disciples to partake of in the last supper, since both accounts in Matthew 26:27 and Luke 22:19 describe the cup being taken after the meal. Luke’s account even refers to the last meal Jesus had with his disciples as “Passover” (Luke 17:15). In this verse specifically, Jesus tells His disciples: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” The Cup of Redemption traditionally signifies the slaying of the Passover lamb that spared the Israelites from the 10th plague of the slaying of the first born. This cup traditionally remembers how the Lord redeems Israel with an outstretched arm.

Therefore, it is so very poignant when Jesus tells His disciples that the wine in this cup is “My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.” As the blood of the Passover Lamb covered the believing Israelites and Egyptians back in Egypt, so the blood of Jesus covers Jewish and Gentile believers today!

There is no more meaningful celebration in Jewish life than that of Passover. It is deeply rooted in Jewish history and is an essential part of Jewish identity.

Passover is also as wide as it is deep. Jewish communities around the world have added their own particular flavors by elaborating upon their already existing traditions or even contributing their own. A brief tour of some of them can add to our appreciation of how the creativity of the Jewish people has adorned the ancient story and the time-honored traditions of the Exodus.

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Enjoy these testimonies from our recent Passover Seders!

Thank you so much for the beautiful evening we spent at the seder dinner – the food was superb and the ceremony was spiritually very meaningful to us! At the end of the dinner, we were asked to fill out an address card. Our table was one card short, so my husband Dave was missing his. A friend insisted he fill hers out, and after some back and forth, he acquiesced. During the drawing to receive a seder plate, the winning card, to our delight, was Dave’s!

We arrived home after midnight and Dave placed the plate, along with several Haggadahs, on our dining room table. The following afternoon, we had some neighbors over. Abigail (name changed) saw the plate, and asked with shock, “What are you guys doing with a seder plate?”

What followed was an interesting “God-incidence.” Abigail was raised in a Reform synagogue, although her grandfather was an Orthodox Jew. She has been a serious student of Buddhism for years. She asked about our church and wanted to know what “evangelical” meant, and we talked for a long time about our beliefs. I know we have established a basis to revisit our sharing again – soon I hope!

– April and Dave K.
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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. 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 is a wonderful way to renew your appreciation for God’s promises and their fulfillment in Messiah.

Passover is also a time in Jewish tradition to extend hospitality to others, and a “Messianic” Passover dinner is a fine opportunity to share the Gospel with your seeking friends and neighbors.

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The four cups of Passover are an integral part of the Passover celebration. They stand for each of the four promises the Lord makes to His people in Exodus 6:6-7.

The Cup of Sanctification

“I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

The Cup of Deliverance

“I will rescue you from their bondage.”

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One day, while passing through the disreputable district of Samaria, Jesus encountered a woman at a well. You know the story. The woman, uncomfortable at the direction of the conversation, switched to a religious point: “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship” (John 4:20).

If you think this controversy was put to rest in the time of Jesus, you might be greatly surprised at the answer.

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The Passover celebration is one of the cornerstones of Jewish observance. The rousing tale of Moses the Deliverer and the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt contains all the elements of Jewish history: God’s promise, Israel’s somewhat reluctant obedience, and a faithful servant to inspire them and lead them forward.

As we see from the Book of Exodus, Passover reaches back into ancient times. However, as the centuries have unfolded, the Passover has developed in many ways and in many places. Wherever the Jewish people have formed communities, Passover traditions have been established as each one adds the particular flavors of its respective culture.

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A number of persuasive items can be taken from the Passover that point directly to the life and ministry of Jesus the Messiah.

God is faithful. The same God of creation who made His covenant with Abraham is faithful to guide His chosen people through history to their ultimate destination. Read more