6 Jesus and Passover

Jesus and Passover video

If you’ve used this workshop in order, you’ll have looked at some of the connections between the Exodus and Easter stories, including some of the symbols on the seder plate which reference that story, the wine, and the promises God made to His people:  I will bring you out … I will free you … I will redeem you … I will take you as my own people Exodus 6:6-7 (there is a whole Bible study to be done here into what those promises look like in the new covenant, as well as into the whole concept of blood covenant). For me, one of my favourite connections is between all the different breads in the Bible, which helps us understand matzah in a whole new way. And as we look at various Hebrew words, we continue to find out more depth in the words said at the Passover meal.

Which was most interesting or inspiring for you? Why?

Activity idea: Read or listen, reflect and share

I’ve split this into three sections, so you can do all three or choose the one which will most help you and your family.

1 Read or listen

So what have you discovered? As you’re thinking about this, a great way to conclude this workshop is to listen to or read the whole Easter story. You have four gospels to choose from, so maybe pick one you like or one you’re less familiar with. You could choose a different Bible version from that which you usually use. If you’re doing this with very young children, you might want to use a children’s Bible story book, but if they are 3+ consider using an audio Bible and see how they get on.

I’d recommend starting with Jesus going to Jerusalem and continuing to the end of the gospel, whichever one you choose. I’ve listed various version below and if you click on one of the links, it’ll take you to the page of Biblegateway.com with options to listen to many of the translations, and many other translations to choose from.

Matthew 21:1 – 28:20 (approx 56 mins)   NIVUK  (the audio here is read by David Suchet) The Passion Translation   The Message    The Authorised King James Version

Mark 11:1 – 16:20 (approx 35 mins)   The Living Bible    The Amplified Version    The Good News Bible

Luke 19:28 – 24:17  (approx. 41 mins)    The Passion Translation  New Living Translation  The Orthodox Jewish Bible

John 12:12 – 21:25 (approx 53 mins)   The Jubilee Bible   New International Reader Version (good for early readers) Contemporary English Version (great for listening to or reading aloud)

As you listen or read, you might like to ponder these questions:

What links or connections are there between the Exodus and the Easter story?

Is there a piece of context which gives you deeper understanding into the Easter story?

Were there words you learnt which gave you insight?

2 Reflect

It’s time to reflect and collect your discoveries. I wonder if it might be helpful to write them down or if you’d like to do something more creative, one way to reflect on Bible stories is with an open-ended response time, where you get to choose how you respond. Anything goes, from creating things from wood and nails, play dough, or giant jenga, to creating pictures or stories with loose parts such as buttons, dry pasta, felt or lollysticks. I usually have some cloths for den making or dressing up, some cushions and a quiet area for sitting and pondering, some books to read, some play people or wooden peg dolls for people to ‘play the story’ and some nice art materials. I try to leave 45 minutes to an hour, as this gives people space to really develop their idea without restrictions. It’s key for me to not ask them what they’re doing, but to be available if they want to approach me to chat about their ‘work’, as this time is for them to process and respond to God, not for me to check they’re doing ‘the right thing’ (whatever that is).

This is something I’ve tried at home. When I do it with just my family, I usually provide a set of 4 to 6 stations for them to choose from, and I pick things I know have a good chance of being what they enjoy (somewhere quiet for my husband to sit and think and pray, cloths for a den and paint and nice paper for my art-loving daughter, and play mobil or peg doll people for my small-world loving 6yo). Have a go! It’s great fun and easy to replicate with any Bible story.

3 Share

A great way to consolidate any learning or experience is to share it with others. I also find, when I’ve had a spiritual encounter with God, it’s great to share it while it’s still fresh.

Consider how you might like to share something of what you’ve discovered or experienced of Passover. Maybe you could have a time over a meal where each of your family shares something they’ve discovered. Or you could invite some friends over to share some form of Passover with, including sharing some of your findings. I always find teachers are exciting to listen to when they are excited and passionate about their topic, so sharing about new things I’ve discovered in the run up to Passover is a great way to share with others.

If you’re a creative person, you might want to write an article or paint a picture or create a model or a stop-animation-movie of the story including some of your findings. If you’re still working on your re-telling of the Exodus story, you might like to add into it connections between Exodus and Easter. Or you could create a synthesised story which includes both! If you’re on the Facebook Group, do share your reflections!

A little bit more…

Just as we come to the end of the workshop, I thought you might like this rather interesting idea – that Jesus didn’t finish His last supper at the table, but rather His last supper was the beginning of His own Passover, which only finished when He drank the last cup of wine … on the cross!

In his book ‘Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist’, Brant Pitre proposes an interesting theory: that Jesus did not drink the fourth cup at His last supper Passover meal. He says when you look in the gospels at what is said about the Last Supper by the different writers, there are definitely two cups mentioned, dipping break and singing hymns. Jesus blesses the first cup, and after the 2nd cup when it would have been customary to tell the story of Exodus and the symbolism of the elements on the plate, Jesus take the middle matzah, which represents the sacrificial lamb, and says, “This is my body broken for you”. By doing this He is saying He is the Passover Lamb. They then sing hymns and go out to the mount of olives with no mention of the final cup. Now, of course, the writers may just have not included it, especially as most of their original audience would have been Jewish and totally familiar with Passover. However, in the garden, Jesus then prays that ‘this cup be taken from me’, not once but three times (see Matthew 26:39-44 where it says the same thing twice then says Jesus prayed the same thing again). Then on the road to being crucified, Jesus is offered wine, which was normal practise as a pain reliever, and He refuses. Then finally, on the cross, in Matthew, Mark and Luke He is given wine on a stick, and in John 19:28 Jesus says, “I am thirsty” and is given wine vinegar to drink. And in verse 30 it says:

“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.”

What was finished? His work is redemption? His life? His Passover? It’s a really interesting idea. The first Passover wasn’t just a clever way to remember something important, but in some way actually precipitated the beginning of the first Exodus. Some people say that by sacrificing a lamb or kid, which were Egyptian gods, the Israelites were marking themselves as people who were willing to stand up against Egypt’s gods, people who served the Almighty God. By putting the blood on their doors they were protecting themselves from the angel of death, which brought such terror to the Egyptians that they wanted them to leave Egypt right away. In the same way, Jesus’ Last Supper perhaps precipitated the start of His death. When He lifted the bread which was the symbol of the sacrificial lamb and said, “This is me”, He was pretty much saying “I am going to die”. That’s what happens to the Passover lamb. I’m struggling to put this into words, but I think there’s something very significant about communion which some Christian traditions may have overlooked, as by eating the bread and drinking the wine we are not just remembering Jesus’ death and what it means for us, but in some way taking part in His death. And His new life.

Anyway, here’s a link of Brant Pitre speaking for you to hear a more eloquent version of this idea.

What do you think?

 

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