I'm not exactly sure when I became interested in Messianic Jews. Probably around 12-13 years ago. And I'm not exactly sure why I became interested in them. I think it had to do with me studying the Old Testament messianic prophesies. Jesus fulfills all of them and that is statistically impossible and amazing. I began wondering if it was obvious to me that Jesus is the Messiah, why don't the Jews believe it? After all we have the same Scripture (our Old Testament) and when they read it, why don't they have an "aha" moment and get it?
There are a growing group of people called Messianic Jews. They are people of Jewish heritage who maintain their Jewish identity and acknowledge Yeshua as their Messiah. "Yeshua" is the Hebrew-Aramaic word for "Jesus." I remember I spent a considerable amount of time researching Messianic Jews.
Jesus was Jewish. The apostles were all Jewish. The early believers were Jewish.
The Last Supper was a Passover meal (Luke 22:1.) At the Passover third cup (Cup of Redemption) Jesus instituted Communion. Jesus took the piece of the matzah and referred to His body as a sacrifice (Luke 22:19.) “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.” (Luke 22:20.)
And then God did His thing and led me to what He wanted me to know. It wasn't so much about Messianic Jews, but He wanted me to understand the connection between Jesus and the Passover.
Around 2008 I just happened to have a woman join our Bible study group who worked for Sid Roth's ministry. Sid Roth is a Messianic Jew and he reaches out to other Jews. She found out of my interest in Jewish people and gave me some books written by Sid Roth which I devoured.
I contacted a minister and asked him if he knew of any Messianic Jews that I could personally ask some questions. He didn't. But his daughter had gone to a service at a messianic congregation in the city where I live as part of a college religion requirement. This minister told me that more Jews have accepted Christ as their Savior in the past 50 years than in the almost 2000 years before that. (Although I have no idea how anyone could prove that. But there is definitely a Messianic Jewish movement occurring. The number of Messianic Jews keeps growing!) He also shared this video with me of Messianic Jews in Israel.
I checked out the messianic congregation's website he had told me about and I found out they had an upcoming Passover Seder. I then remembered my husband and I had been to a Christ in the Passover Seder around 1998. Our neighbor across the street at that time was a minister and his church had asked Jews for Jesus to come and do a Seder for their congregation. He invited John and I and we went. I remember it was very long and well, I really didn't understand it. At that time I was a Christian, but I hadn't read the Bible much, definitely didn't know my Old Testament, and I didn't really get it.
I found out this Messianic congregation moved their annual Seder around Charlotte each year and that year it was going to be at a hotel ballroom very near our house! I invited my friend and her husband and they went with John and I. Oh wow! It was not at all what I expected. There was probably around 400 people there and what a joyous celebration!
Passover is the Old Testament feast that celebrates and remembers God freeing His people from slavery in Egypt. Pharaoh would not let God's people go and God brought ten plagues against Egypt. The last plague was the death of all the first-borns in Egypt - humans and animals. God gave His people a way to survive this plague. A lamb could take place of the first-born in the family. But it couldn't be just any lamb. It had to be a perfect lamb, one without any defects. Moses gave the Israelites strict instructions on what to do. They were to place the blood of the lamb on the doorposts and lintels of their doorways. And death would pass over them. The first-born of Egypt died and Pharaoh let the Israelites go.
The Scripture commands Jews to celebrate Passover every year. A Seder is the feast that kicks off Passover. It includes reading, drinking wine, eating special foods, and other Passover traditions. It has been celebrated for more than 3000 years!
The large ballroom was packed with large round tables. I remember one of the men at our table was an American who was getting his doctorate in Israel. Most of the men had yamakas on their heads. There was traditional Jewish music and dance. Dr. Sam Nadler led the Seder. I didn't know who he was at the time. I sure do now! And he walked us through the Passover ceremony in Hebrew and English. Only it was a Messianic Jewish Passover ceremony connecting the Passover lamb to the Lamb of God - the Passover ceremonial traditions to the Lord's Supper. By this time in my life I had read the entire Bible and I totally understood everything that was going on and being said! It was the first time I had made the connection. And it has stuck!
A Passover Seder is a long ceremony and dinner. I think it took 3-1/2 hours, maybe 4 hours to get through it. Our husbands were antsy sitting so long, but we all thoroughly enjoyed it! A couple years later my girlfriend and I went to another one - just the two of us.
And then in 2011 I bought the three volumes of Rose Book of Bible Charts (affiliate link). I remember the year because it was when I worked at a Christian bookstore. In volume 2 Rose Book of Bible Charts (affiliate link) it has instructions on how to do a Christ in the Passover Seder! And I had saved The Messianic Passover Haggadah (the ceremonial Seder book) that Dr. Nadler had written. My girlfriend and I decided to try to do a Messianic Passover Seder at my house for our Bible study group.
None of us were Jewish. But that doesn't matter. We weren't doing a Jewish Passover Seder; we were doing a Christ in the Passover Seder. The account in Exodus is our Scripture too. As believers in Christ we are grafted into God's people. We have an inheritance waiting for us!
I pulled out the good china and the fancy silverware. We all pitched together to pay for the pricey lamb and one woman made it for us. Each woman made traditional Jewish Passover food - the Rose Publishing book even had recipes! We walked through the ceremony and dinner and a memorable annual tradition formed.
We do it the week before Easter every year - not on the actual Jewish Passover. We do the same ceremony each time. It has become our tradition. We all look forward to it. It prepares our hearts for Easter like nothing else.
Sadly this year we had to cancel our annual Seder because of the pandemic. But there will be ones in the future. There will be a time when we can come together, a community of believers, for a delicious meal and to remember how the Lamb of God has come to take away our sins and save us.
It is the tradition, the repeating, the remembrance of what has been done for us that swells our hearts in profound gratitude. Let us never forget what our Lord endured because of His unfailing love for us. "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter."
Just as the blood of the Passover lamb had to be applied for judgement to "pass over" their homes and save God's people; so the atoning blood of the guiltless Lamb of God must be applied to our hearts to be saved.
You may want to read my previous posts:
A Bondslave of the Lamb dated 3/24/18
Repeat in Remembrance dated 3/27/18
Affiliate links mentioned above - Thank you for supporting Passion to Know More!