Learning To Be Patient from the Life of A Preteen? Really??

Scripture Reading – Luke 2:40-52 (AMP):

[40] And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him.  [41] Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Passover Feast.  [42] And when He was twelve years [old], they went up, as was their custom.  [43] And when the Feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem.  Now His parents did not know this.  [44] But, supposing Him to be in the caravan, they traveled on a day’s journey; and [then] they sought Him [diligently, looking up and down for Him] among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.  [45] And when hey failed to find Him, they went back to Jerusalem, looking for Him [up and down] all the way.  [46] After three days they found Him [came upon Him] in the [court of the] temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

[47] And all who heard Him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at His intelligence and understanding and His replies.

Now Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem every year to the Feast of the Passover.  And when he was twelve years old, today known as a “preteen”, the family all went according to custom [Exodus 12:1-11].  PASSOVER was a New Year’s celebration on the Jewish Calendar for Israel.

A traveled day’s journey in Biblical times was estimated 20-25 miles [Bible Study Tools – International Standard Bible Encyclopedia].

My idea today for celebrating New Years is to watch the fireworks at the Seattle Space Needle…on television.  Are we spoiled or what?

And when the Celebration has ended, as they were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed in Jerusalem.

His parents didn’t know it, but supposing him to be in the group, traveled approximately 24 miles before they noticed his absence.  In today’s culture, they would have sent out an AMBER ALERT.

Joseph and Mary then began to search for him among relatives and acquaintances in the caravan and when they couldn’t find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him.

After three days…

After a frantic search, they found their boy in the Temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.

The childhood and youth of Jesus were normal in many ways.

As a Jewish boy, he experienced the same things that other children experienced at his age.  It was customary for Jewish families to go to Jerusalem for the Passover each year.  Even though it was required only of men, many times it became a family excursion.  So the family of Jesus followed this Jewish custom.

During the twelfth year of a boy’s life, they begin to assume the responsibilities to the LAW.

On the 13th birthday, a Jewish boy is accepted as a full “son of the Law” [Bar mitzvah – son of law].  He became responsible to obedience to the law.

Normally a boy would be taken to the Passover during his twelfth year preparing him for the responsibility of observing the law.  This is the significance of the incident in the life of Jesus at the age of twelve.

Leaving Jesus Behind.

The leaving of Jesus behind in Jerusalem is a kind of thing that could happen to any family in a large, overcrowded environment.  It didn’t suggest neglect on the part of his parents.  Ordinarily, the women would leave before the men on a journey because they walked slower, and the men and boys would follow later.  So Mary assumed that Jesus was with Joseph and the men, while Joseph assumed that he was with Mary and the children.

It wasn’t until they met at the end of the day that they noticed Jesus wasn’t there.   It made it necessary to return to Jerusalem and search the city for three days until they found him.

The unusual thing about THIS twelve-year-old was where they found him.

But there he was!  In the Temple taking advantage of the opportunity of learning from the teachers of the Law.

What more than likely amazed the learned teachers gathered about was that any twelve-year-old boy knew the Torah.  But this twelve-year-old boy not only knew the Law, he knew it inside out understanding the meaning–THAT was remarkable!

JESUS Is Our Model –

First We Can Learn About Our Priorities In Our Lives (vv. 48-49 KJV):

This exchange between Joseph and Mary with Jesus needs close attention.  

It was a REBUKE by Mary, because of the anxiety she felt from Jesus’ disappearance–losing your child’s presence and then finding them.

Naturally, Mary was very upset and worried when she finally found Jesus in the Temple (v. 48).  She might have said even more had the circumstances been a little different.  It may have diluted her response a little because they were in the Temple in the presence of scholars of the Law.  But her words expressed how she felt.  Real ANXIETY looking for him.

Evidently, Jesus had been so absorbed in the experience of listening to the teaching in the temple that he was oblivious to almost everything else.  He was amazed that his parents wouldn’t understand his interest in and presence in the Temple (v.49):  

“Why is it that you were looking for Me?  Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?”  (NAS Bible)

This statement reveals the RELATIONSHIP THAT WILL RECEIVE PRIORITY.

Mary spoke of Joseph as the father of Jesus.  Joseph was the one who had the fatherly responsibility for him, but Jesus reveals a much deeper awareness.

He speaks of “My Father”.

The words spoken by Jesus suggest that He is committed to giving relationship PRIORITY over every other relationship of His life.

As the adult life of Jesus’ life unfolds, this is obviously the PRIORITY by which He lives; but it didn’t begin when He was an adult.  It began in the early days of His life voiced by Him when he was twelve!

In VERSE 49, Jesus is emphatic when He says, “I had to be in My Father’s house.”  

Literally, it would read “My Father’s things.”  This meaning is the same essentially whether you understand “things”, or “house”.

“Had to be” in some translations is a strong word from the Greek language.  It’s the word that speaks of “divine necessity.”  

The word “MUST” is the better idea.

Jesus realizes at the age of twelve that his first responsibility in life is to do the will of His Heavenly Father–and His first interest must be the things of the Father.

The most important house then must be the Father’s house!

I learned when I was a young father many years ago that children can begin to determine their PRIORITIES very early in their lives:  Going out to brunch after church on Sundays; cleaning of their rooms before going outside to play…

We are not told that Jesus established them at twelve, but we are allowed to see they are already in place.

For all of us, and especially young people now is the time to determine what comes FIRST in your life.  If you’ll get the PRIORITIES in place, the other decisions that arise in life will fall into their proper position.

What We Can Learn from Jesus about the Value of Submission (vv. 50-51 NLT):

[50] Yet his parents did not understand the remark he made to them.  

[51] Then he went with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them.  But his mother kept all these things in her heart.

This action doesn’t conflict with the PRIORITIES that have already been established.  In fact, they are an expression of the priorities that He has just stated.

The FIRST submission of Jesus was to God, and then to His parents.

Jesus’ submission to His parents was voluntary.  And children who do not learn to SUBMIT their lives to God, usually have difficulty submitting their lives to their parents.

There is no suggestion that Jesus’ response to His parents was to the pressures they put on Him.  Rather, as a part of His daily life as a twelve-year-old, He voluntarily gave Himself to a life of OBEDIENCE to His parents.  This is the only kind of submission that has any value.

SUBMISSION that is forced can actually have the same qualities as REBELLION.

Every young person, every child needs to learn a valuable lesson here from Jesus.  His parents were not perfect, but He knew that they were God’s appointed GUARDIANS of His ways, so He submitted to them.  This SUBMISSION was part of the preparation for what God had sent Him into the world to do!

We Can Learn from Jesus about Growth in Our Lives (v.52)

[52] And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in the favor with God and man.  (NIV Bible)

In VERSE 40, Luke had written,  “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.”

This faces us with the mystery of Jesus’ life.

We know that He was the INCARNATION of the living God, the Son of God. Yet the incarnation was such that growth was necessary for His life.

He grew just like every other child must grow and we can learn from His growth the importance of balance.

LEARNING TO USEFUL –

Dr. Luke points out that He grew physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially:

  • He grew physically for “he grew in stature.”  Physical growth is important.
  • He grew mentally for He “grew in wisdom.”  Through His study at the feet of Mary; His involvement at the local synagogue; His visits to the Temple as He grew in His understanding of the Truth of God.
  • He grew spiritually, for He grew “in favor with God.”

Never a moment was He not totally pleasing to God, but in order for that to occur, He must continually GROW SPIRITUALLY.

Jesus was perfectly where a twelve-year-old should be in spiritual growth at the age of twelve.  But at the beginning of a ‘teens’ life, He was perfectly where a thirteen-year-old should be.  And as it was always.

  • And then He grew socially, for he was “in favor with men.”

His ability to relate to others in an acceptable way grew normally and perfectly.

Many of our children today, including our church kids, are not growing in this way.  They may be growing physically and mentally, but the social and spiritual way may be stunted.

JESUS MODELS GROWTH for us all and it should be balanced.

The Growth of The Preteen Jesus Teaching of Patience –

  • Jesus was PATIENT for the process of life to take its course.  He was PATIENT to keep on growing until the Lord God said that it was time to begin His ministry.  He didn’t get ahead of God but waited on Him.  He waited until the age of thirty before He started the mission that the Lord God had given Him and continued not to be impatient for God’s timing in His life.

“My Hour Has Not Come”

This is such an important lesson, one that I continue to learn, and one to learn, especially for young people today!

DO NOT GET IMPATIENT with God and with life.  

Just keep on establishing the right priorities, submitting to the rightful authority and go on growing as a person, and in God’s timing (not yours), He will launch you forward on His mission.  He will open the right doors for you!

No detail of the life of our Lord and Savior is without significance.

The little details are significant for all of us to take in.  It helps us see the PLAN of God for His children and youth today.  Jesus walked the way we should all walk in these matters.

____________________________________________

CREDITS:

Commentaries:  Dr. G. Flattery – Luke 2:41-52; “My Father’s Business” – Global Christian Center.

Growing Up God’s Way by Jeremy Meyers.

PHOTOS:  Google Image Search.

Bible Translations Used:  The New International Version (NIV), except where noted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Events Have Transpired–The Shadow of Things to Come! (Part One)

For the past month, our pastor has been speaking on PENTECOST from the book of THE ACTS OF THE APOSTLES; the introduction to the Holy Spirit and the POWER introduced to the believers in Christ Jesus–the NEW CHURCH.

“AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come,

they were all assembled together in one place”

~Acts 2:1~

THE JEWISH FEASTS – A TWO PART Series in Leviticus 23 [PART I–The Springtime Feasts]:

A thought came to mind, and a question–  “Should Christians be celebrating the Jewish religious festivals?”  Although it certainly NOT REQUIRED for Christians to CELEBRATE the Jewish Feast days, I find that it is beneficial to go beyond what’s said on Sundays, and investigate God’s Word on the topic of conversation even deeper.

360de

The JEWISH FEASTS is a fascinating study.  God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and… one of the most startling prophetic pictures outlined within the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.

“These are the set feasts (or appointed seasons) of the Lord, holy convocations you shall proclaim at their stated times” (Leviticus 23:4 AMP).

The Hebrew word for “feasts” (mow’ed), meaning “appointed times”; and the words “holy convocations” means “rehearsal”.

In other words, the FEASTS of the Lord were appointed times of worship for Israel, which then serves as a “dress rehearsal” in God’s prophetic calendar.  You will see all this come into play as you follow along in this series [There are TWO PARTS to this study].

The SEVEN ANNUAL FEASTS of Israel:

To give you some perspective of the 7 Feasts, I thought I would list the months of the Hebrew Lunar Calendar (12 months of 29 or 30 days), with the corresponding months (English):

HEBREW MONTH        Corresponds

1.  Nisan                             March/April

2.  Ivar                                 April/May

3.  Sivan                               May/June [Shavuot]

4.  Tammuz                       June/July

5.  Ab                                   July/August

6.  Elud                               August/September

7.  Tishri                            September/October

8.  Marcheshvan        October/November

9.  Kislev                           November/December

10.  Tebeth                          December/January

11.  Shebat                     January/February 

12.  Adar                           February/March

 

The MAIN PRINCIPLE…of the Jewish Festivals

All of these rituals laid down by God in Leviticus have at their core, the teaching of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice on the cross.

In the BOOK OF AMOS, the “secrets” of God’s plans in the future times is made plain:

“Surely the Lord God will do nothing without revealing His secret to His servants and prophets”  (Amos 3:7).

God has always warned the world of coming judgements in order that it may not bring them upon itself.  Christ’s coming was foretold throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi.  Equally plain and a certainty of fulfillment are the warnings of JESUS and the prophets concerning the future that each day comes nearer to every nation on earth.

#1.  ISRAEL’S UNIQUE ROLE IN GOD’S PLAN:

That role is far from being over, and it will again come to the forefront as the TRIBULATION time begins (Matt. 19:28; Luke 2:36; 22:36; Acts 13:21; Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5; Heb. 7:13; Rev. 5:5; 7:14; 21:12), coming to full fruition in the Millennium and Eternal State beyond.

That said, it is a mistake to think that we, the present day Church, pretend that we are something we are not, and we are not the divinely appointed nation Israel charged by God with observing Mosaic Law.

As Christians, if we choose to celebrate these special days, we should put Christ Jesus in the center of the celebration as the One who came to fulfill the prophetic significance of each one.  That’s my take, and I’m sticking to it!

THE INTRODUCTION TO THE SEVEN FEASTS:

“On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover” (Leviticus 23:5).

THE FEAST OF PASSOVER, it’s Origin– 

The FIRST MONTH of the Jewish Calendar is NISAN – 14th evening, the Passover (Seder meals).

The PASSOVER (Hebrew Pesach), means “to pass over”, “to skip”.

 passover_door_blood“The Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Go forth, select and take a lamb according to your families and kill the Passover [lamb].  And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood in the basin, and touch the lintel above the door and the two side post with the blood; and none of you shall go out of his house until morning.  For the LORD will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood upon the lintel and the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to slay you”  (Exodus 12:21-23).

“You shall observe this rite for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever”  (Exodus 12:24).

“In one house shall it be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house; neither shall you break a bone of it”  (Exodus 12:46).

FULFILLMENT IN JESUS–The Passover Lamb:

Through the BLOOD of JESUS, we have eternal life.

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has CROSSED OVER from death to life”  (John 5:24–capitalized for emphasis).

JESUS was without fault–sinless, the perfect sacrifice.

“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of]  the righteousness of God [what we ought to be approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]”  (II Corinthians 5:21 AMP).

No bone of Jesus was broken on the Cross of Calvary (John 19:31-36).

Photo by photobucket
Photo by photobucket

THE FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD–

“On the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread”  (verse 6).

“For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast.  On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel”  (Exodus 12:15 NIV).

“Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened [bread] of purity (nobility, honor) and sincerity and [unadulterated] truth”  (1 Corinthians 12:15 AMP).

“Do you not know that [just] a little leaven will ferment the whole lump  [of dough]?”  (1 Corinthians 5:6).

Metaphorically, “yeast”, “leaven” is a symbol for sin.  In the Jewish feast, yeast couldn’t even be kept in the house for seven days!

The 15th Day of Nisan…

UNLEAVENED BREAD is to be eaten exclusively for seven days.

JESUS’ FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST:

Luke 22:1-2, 7-8
Luke 22:1-2, 7-8

“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone.  But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest”  (John 12:24).

“JESUS replied,  I am the BREAD OF LIFE.  He who comes to Me will never be hungry…”  (John 6:35).

JESUS was without SIN!

FIRST, the unleavened bread is a picture of His holiness, purity and sinlessness.  His life and sacrifice was “unleavened”–without identifying with the curse of death–a Lamb without spot or blemish for the ultimate Passover sacrifice (1 Peter 1:19).

JESUS died for us on the Cross; His body was buried (put into a grave) and after three days, the tomb was found empty!  He is alive!  Still producing a “rich harvest” of lost souls.

THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS:

“Tell the Israelites,  When you have come into the land I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest.  And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, that you may be accepted; on the next day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it [before the Lord]”  (Lev. 23:10-11). 
Spring Barley Harvest
Spring Barley Harvest

In biblical times and again today, the first day after the Passover Holiday (Sabbath), the Feast of Firstfruits is celebrated.  The festival acknowledged the fertility of the land that God promised His children.  They were to bring the early crops of their spring planting and “wave it before the Lord”. 

THE FULFILLMENT in Jesus’ Resurrection…

“But the fact is that Christ (the Messiah) has been raised from the dead, and He became the FIRSTFRUITS of those who have fallen asleep [in death]”  (1 Corinthians 15:20 AMP).

The FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS in Leviticus 23, pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous.  Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits of the dead.”

THE FEAST OF  WEEKS–PENTECOST (SHAVUOT):

The Origin–The Month of SIVAN:

In Exodus 19, we see for the first time, Moses received the Ten Commandments on stone tablets and the whole Law about seven weeks after the death of the Passover lambs in Egypt.

The Torah is put into place by God, through Moses and given to the Israelites; it’s a commemoration of the giving of the Law.

Leviticus 23:15-16, we read“You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day you when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths.  You shall county fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord”  (NASB).

The fourth FEAST is often called the FEAST OF WEEKS, because God specifically told the sons of Jacob to count seven weeks from FIRST FRUITS and then the day after, this feast was observed.

This also marks on the Jewish Lunar Calendar, the Summer Harvest [First Fruits began the Spring Harvest].

SHAVUOT (Hebrew) means “weeks”.  The Feast of Weeks, Pentecost, goes back to the Greek word, “penteconta, fifty”.

SEVEN WEEKS are forty-nine days–add one day (“the day after”), brings the total to fifty days.  ISRAEL has been born as a nation through the Gift of the Law.

THE FULFILLMENT:

Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost
Acts 2:1-4 Pentecost

THE CHURCH of Jesus Christ has been born, not from the Law written on stone tablets, but the followers of Jesus the Holy Spirit; the law of life written on your heart.

AND WHEN the day of Pentecost [Feast of Weeks] had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place.  When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting.  And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them.  And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit…”  (Acts 2:1-4 a.).

As the Jews see the Feast of Weeks as the birthday of God’s covenant relationship with the nation of Israel, the fulfillment is found in the Book of Acts, the New Covenant.

When you hear the word “Pentecost”, what do you first think of?  Acts 2? Tongues? Charismatics?  What should come to our minds is the beginning of the New Covenant.

THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH.

JESUS was resurrected on the Feast of Firstfruits; fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus, and the promised New Covenant begins!

(“Events Have Transpired–The Shadow of Things to Come”  PART 2; The Fall Feasts are coming!)

REFERENCES:

Bible Translations used: Amplified Bible; New International Version (NIV) translation; New American Standard (NASB).

1.  got Questions?org  [www.GotQuestions.org].

2.  info@hebrew4christians.com  John Parsons.

3.  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

4.  The NIV Complete Concordance.

PHOTO CREDITS:

Photo Calendar by Gavin Finley MD endtimepilgrim.org

photobucket – www.photobucket.com/images/pentecost

Photo Pin – Miscellaneous.

JEWISH CALENDAR Luzrius Schneider Feb. 03, 2000.

The Four Cups of Passover: “Communion and the Passover Connection”

I have often asked myself the question, “Are you too religious in your thinkings?”  No, I am not Pharisaic over what occurs in the church services on Sundays.  BUT if it doesn’t line up with the Word of God, then my next question I ask myself is, “Have Christians become so expedient, that Jesus has become unrecognizable in what we do in church?”

In my last blog, I listed the four cups of the Passover seder. We know that Jesus was Jewish and that led the Passover Seder or the Last Supper, using the same elements as the original Passover. Let me give you a sampling of what took place that Thursday night before His crucifixion and resurrection.

“We Light the Candles”  The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?”  Psalm 27:1

The Four Cups   Then the Lord said to Moses, Now you will see what I will do…”  Exodus 6:1

The Cup of Sanctification—Kadeysh  “…I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians…”  Exodus 6:6

We Wash our Hands—Urkhatz  “Who may ascend the Hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His Holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart.”  Psalm 24:3-4

Parsley—Karpas  “…the Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God…”  Exodus 2:23

The Four Questions—Ma Nishtanah  “…when your children ask you, What does this ceremony mean to you? then tell them…”  Exodus 12:26

We Answer the Questions.   “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and thy sons forever”.  Exodus 12:24.

The Matzah–The unleavened Bread.  Verses to correspond to the Matzah:  1 Cor. 5:7; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10.  Ending with the spoken words, “This is the bread of affliction…”

The Maror— The bitter herbs.  At this point of the Seder, the Leader would say, “On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on Passover we eat only “maror”–bitter herbs.  As sweet as our lives are today, let us still remember how bitter life was for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt, and how we were all in a spiritual Egypt, before we were redeemed.” (based on Exodus 1:12-14)

The Passover Lamb—Pesakh  “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see blood, I will pass over you.”  Exodus 12:13.  This is when all Jewish believers in Christ Jesus would collectively speak,  “We who have trusted Yeshua the Messiah, believe He is the Lamb of God, our Passover.  Like the ancient Israelites, we know that it was God Himself, and not an angel, God Himself, and not a seraph, God Himself, and not a messenger, who achieved final redemption from sin and death. God Himself, through Jesus (Yeshua), who takes away the sin of the world.” Even if you are not a Messianic believer, the truths are still evident.

What I have listed is a part of the Passover Seder. My intention is not to say that ALL churches should conduct their “Communion services” in the same way.  What I am saying is,  the significance or focus should bring us into the “remembrances” of the Why’s, the What’s and the How’s of communion. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 31).  How are we preparing on Sunday communions? Has it become mundane?

That was a good introduction in discussing “The Fourth Cup” of Passover or in Communion.

1st  Cup— SANCTIFICATION

2nd  Cup— AFFLICTION

3rd  Cup—REDEMPTION

4th  Cup— CONSUMMATION

The Cup of Consummation or “The Fourth Cup”.  Turn to Matthew 26:29.  Jesus is reclining on the floor and leading the Passover Seder when He says,  “I say to you, I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it with you new and of superior quality in My Father’s kingdom.”  The cup of SANCTIFICATION in Matthew is not mentioned after the resurrection because of what Jesus said in Matt. 26:29 and Revelation 19:9.

Is their OBEDIENCE to the Word when we take “communion”? Do we understand what we are doing? Are we really participating? Are we releasing anyone who has harmed us physically, emotionally or spiritually before we receive the elements of communion? I will uncover my findings through out my blogs.

Prior to His trial and crucifixion, Christ met in a large room with His disciples. That evening Christ made an announcement. Most scholars believe that as Jesus held up the third cup, the cup of redemption, He amazed His disciples by His actions:

“Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the New Testament in my blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20).  Christ was introducing a new covenant that would be sealed with His own blood. No longer would future Hebrew believers emphasize their deliverance from Egypt. Instead, each time they took the cup and bread, they would celebrate a spiritual freedom, a deliverance from death and hell, and the promise of eternal life.  It would be this act, known as Communion, which would be the central ordinance among all future Christians around the world. *

At the Passover Seder held around many Christian settings this time of the year, “The Four Cups” that are explained should give us a better understanding of the Communion and Passover Connection. In the “Haggadah” (Passover Seder), the following words are said over The Four Cups:

Leader:

As the Lord spoke these words of encouragement to Moses, He revealed to His servant the plan by which He would redeem the children of Israel.

All:

“I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians…  I will free you from being slaves…  I will redeem you with an outstretched arm…  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God…”

Leader:

At Passover, we celebrate these promises of redemption and relationship by drinking from our cups four times.  With each cup, let us remember the life that God desires.

*Footnote: from Perry Stone’s, “The Meal that Heals”.

 

A Better Understanding of the Passover

I would like to start my blog today with some quotes from a little book I found in my library this morning. It is called. “The Quiet Revival” written and co-written by Dean and Susan Wheelock.

“As we looked into the connection between our understandings as Believers in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah) and those commonly found in the Jewish faith, we discovered numerous parallels.” In my next few blogs, I am going to attempt show by uncovering evidence of the “Communion and Passover Connection“. Since Easter is on most of our minds this month anyway, why not begin here!

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–Learning the Old Ways—

In order to “rightly divide the word of truth,” we must turn back to God’s Instruction Book: The Torah (Toh-rah=the first five books of the ‘Old Testament:’  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  Just as the Tanakh (Old Testament) is strictly a Hebrew book, so too is the Brit Chadasha (New Testament), where all of the authors except one are identified within each book individually.

“The bulk of the Epistles were written by Shaul (Shaw-ool=Saul, the given name of the Apostle Paul), who clearly stated he was Jewish:

“…circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews: concerning the law, a Pharisee;…”

I have come to the general conclusion, that to get a better grasp on the Communion we participate in our Christian churches, we need to see the connection to the Jewish Passover. With Easter coming soon, I have decided to relate my detective work in the next blogs.

-Relationship Vs. Doctrine—

“It has been said that in Christianity people are more concerned about what one thinks, while in Judaism they are more concerned about how one believes.”  Marvin R. Wilson, in his book Our Father Abraham,writes on page 138,

“Jewish anthropologist Raphel Patai has observed that because the Hebrews like the concrete and tended to avoid the abstract, the idea of doctrinal formulation was alien to their mind.  In Hebrew thought the essence of true godliness is tied primarily to a relationship, not a creed.”

In other words, what is important in the Hebrew way of thinking is one’s relationship with God and his fellow-man; not what one thinks about God. “Prayer then becomes the focal point in the Hebrew’s relationship with their Creator and good deeds the center of their relationship with other people.”

Dianne and I, several years ago attended a Passover Seder at a Messianic Church in Renton, Washington with our son and his family. It was just before Easter and we received a better understanding of the connection between Communion services and Haggadah (Passover).  The last two years before Easter, Dianne and I have held the Seder in our home. I have wondered if we would invite guest, how many would be interested? Just a thought. I want to give you a sampling of what is contained in a small booklet, starting with what is written inside of the front cover:

Preparing for Passover

Leader:

“One of Messiahs’ last earthly acts was the celebration of the Passover.  Gathering His disciples in a small room in Jerusalem, He led them in a Seder.  “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  (Luke 22:15)  He passed the foods among them. It was there, in the context of this celebration that Yeshua revealed to them the mystery of God’s plan of redemption. He spoke to them of His body and blood. He explained to them that He would have to die. It was not coincidence that Messiah chose the Passover for the setting of what is now celebrated as communion, or the Lord’s supper in Christianity today. For in the story of the Passover lamb, Yeshua could best communicate the course He would be taking over the confusing hours that were to follow. As we participate together in this Covenant Meal, let us experience God’s great redemption!”

I picked out some key words in the Leader’s portion of the “Preparing for Passover“. Are we preparing for Communion in our monthly, weekly, daily rituals in the same way Jesus prepared and led for the Passover?

#1.  “Eagerly desired” to participate.

#2.  A celebration of redemption.

#3.  Mysteries revealed.

#4.  A “Receiving”.”

That last key that I listed above, I put into a question as a reminder:  “What does it mean when we speak of Receiving Communion?”   I decided, before I could correctly answer that question I needed to investigate, “How did communion come about?”

Over 3500 years ago the Hebrew people had become slaves to the Egyptians. The king of Egypt. or Pharaoh, was unwilling to release the Hebrews and allow them to return to Israel. God sent 10 plagues on Egypt. The end result was that Pharaoh released the Hebrew nation, consisting of 600,000 men of war, not counting the women and children. Most of us know about the story in Exodus 11:5.

To protect the Hebrews from the destroying angel, God required each Hebrew family to take a young lamb, place the blood on the left, right and top post of the door to the house, and eat all of the lamb before midnight (Exodus 12:7, 8). The miracle was two-fold: they were healed and they were protected. By eating the lamb, the Hebrews experienced supernatural healing, as indicated in Psalm 105:37.  The other miracle was that the blood on the outside doorposts kept the angel from entering the homes marked with lamb’s blood. The Hebrew families were protected from both sickness and death as a result of the blood and body of the lamb. God promised that their obedience of marking the door by the lamb’s blood would cause death to “pass over” their houses. (Exodus 12:13).

The Hebrew word for “Passover” is Pesach, and refers to “skipping over, to leap or dance.”  Each year religious Jews conduct a Passover seder in which they tell the amazing story of the deliverance from Egypt. During this season bread is baked without leaven, recalling how the Hebrews did not have time to put leaven in their bread before departing from Egypt. As you probably already know, today yeast is a leaven which causes the bread to rise. The Hebrews didn’t have time for this “rising” to occur; thus the unleavened bread making. Getting any connecting pictures yet? If not, you will soon.

Also, four different cups of wine are used, each cup identifying a different aspect of the Passover story. These cups are numbered and named. Since Jesus was a Jew, He used these same four cups at the “Last Supper”:

The first cup is called the cup of sanctification.

The second cup is called the cup of affliction.

The third cup is the cup of redemption.

The fourth cup is the cup of consummation or Hallel.

As a backlash to Judaism and religious formality, I believe churches today have become expedient toward the “Communion”. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t treat Communion as a celebration. In the Hebrew language “Hallel” was worship at the highest point of celebration. We have taken “communion” as a ritual that must fit in with time constraints of the morning worship service. Communion should not become a ‘side-track’ in our morning services. We actually spend more time in “fellowship” than we do in “communion”. If “Communion” isn’t a celebration at your church…then keep following along with me. If you are just curious, that’s okay too.

I will look next into some revealing evidence; our connections towards Communion and Passover.

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