Okay, so it’s like the week when we see celebrations of Palm Sunday and later lots of people go to church for Easter. That’s all Jesus stuff. It’s been done for years. What about Jewish stuff?
The Jewish community breaks out the Matzoh and sets a table full of stuff to celebrate Passover. That’s Cecil B. DeMille and Charlton Heston and lots of camera angles as a lot of water, I mean a lot of water, separates and a bunch a folks go for a walk.
Whooops! Wait a minute. Are these different things? Lets have those parted sea walkers back up for a minute. Before Moshe parts the waters with a rod and a shout, the folks that had been walking previously had a certain kind if dinner … with a sacrificial lamb. Okay, you saw the movie and you know that every family sacrificed a lamb, spread blood on the door posts, got passed over, and that set these people apart from all of Egypt [a country representing the pagan world to be sure].
Now let’s think a minute … Easter and Palm Sunday come at the same time when the Jewish folks celebrate Passover. Could there be any linkage here?
Here is a question: Did the Passover celebration ever change? Could that have anything to do with what the Jesus followers do?
Could be! How?
Well, the information we have here at the window says the Passover seder use to include sharing of lamb meat at the table. Today, only a shank bone is used to represent the lamb. The change appears to have come just under about 2000 years ago.
Add to this something else curious, a Greek word found its way into the Passover celebration. Jewish folks are mostly unaware of this. But the Haggadah, the booklet with all the words and songs for Passover is typically all Hebrew, well, except for the one Greek word.
Why is that word important and what changed in the order of the Passover observance? Again, our information indicates that the seder, the meal and the events that take place at Passover, gained the use of three matzoth and a cloth bag commonly called ‘unity bag’ that is used to house the matzoth (flat bread made without yeast).
Okay, ready? The point, to make this brief, is that during the meal the head of the family gets up and takes out the center piece of flat bread and by pulling it out part way the bread is broken in half. The inner portion is returned to the bag and resides in the middle between the unbroken breads. The broken off portion is wrapped in a napkin or cloth and is shown to all and then is hidden. Later, a child or the children all around are asked to seek out this broken piece … this is called the Afikomen. Oh, by the way, that is the Greek word, it’s not Hebrew.
The kids all search for the Afikomen and the one who finds it brings it back to the table and usually gets a little reward for their success! The head of the table removes the Afikomen ad breaks this into multiple smaller pieces which are distributed to everyone at the table. During the seder there are four cups of wine shared by all, each with a specific significance. At this time, everyone eats a piece of this Afikomen and drinks from the cup representing redemption.
The change in the seder is somewhat coincidental to the fall of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Since that time there has been no place for lambs to be sacrificed and no place for a Jew to make a sacrifice for the forgiveness of personal sin.
So, Afikomen means something like the ‘expected one.’ That is our paraphrase and it’s the apparent, we think clear, intent of the use of the word is to signify a person who is expected to come. The anticipation is great and forward looking.
Time to reveal what is really happening here. The Unity bag contains three matzah. From a Messianic perspective you can hold the bag either way, but the three inside the unity represent Adonai, Messiah, and the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit). Breaking the center matzoh is breaking the Son as was Messiah broken for the sins of all people. He was sacrificed, died, buried like the Afikomen is hidden in its shroud of a napkin, found, revealed, and shared by all for the sake of redemption. That is very much a parallel to the real event that Easter goers are celebrating … not the end or death, but the redemption, and a single lamb slain for all and for all time. A Temple is no longer necessary.
This means that every year the Jewish population is celebrating their Messiah’s actions on their behalf, what Yeshua did, and really for all people.
During the week when Yeshua (Jesus) entered Jerusalem for his last time [during that era], he rode on a donkey along a way, a road, that is the same path that lambs used to arrive at the Temple for Passover sacrifice. Jews would watch the lambs come in and sometimes, as we’re told, would put palm fronds down along the way to honor the sheep.
Messiah thus appears to have given Himself for a sacrifice on an execution stake outside the city at the same time the Passover sheep were being slain for sacrifice in the Temple … all this IS Passover and it’s all one and the same event. This is no mere coincidence.
The irony is that the Jewish population has been perplexed concerning the loss of their Temple and a move is afoot to rebuild that structure, and soon! But in reality, every year the bread and wine signify the one and only sacrifice by a mediator that is both Jewish and one who links all the faithful, should they care to see this wonderful illustration link all in the unity … it’s in the bag. Simple and been there for two millennia. Did you know this? Interesting isn’t it?!
While you are at it, if you share this with a friend, have them take a look at Isaiah 53 … matzoh are ‘pierced and striped.’ Hmmmm, kind of like a nugget of something real interesting!
Tell a friend … it’s all good news!
Here is a link to a page on the Passover Lamb