Wishing This Plague Would Just Passover

by Michael Freeman

Each year, around Easter, I look forward to what has become a tradition in my home… preparing and sharing a Passover Seder with our family and friends. This is not something we did in my house growing up. Though my father was raised Jewish, and my grandmother and aunts and uncles all celebrated Passover together, our family did not participate. I’m sure my parents had their reasons. Maybe they thought that combining religious traditions would confuse us as kids. Maybe that week was already busy enough with Easter traditions… Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday service, searching for eggs and Easter baskets at my home and my grandparents’ house, the big family meal. I even remember doing a homemade Easter bonnet parade in elementary school. As a kid, that time was fun and busy… too busy to wonder why we never celebrated Easter with my Dad’s mom. As I got older though, I wanted to know more about my Jewish family and the customs and traditions that marked out their year. So, I started to look into it. It wasn’t until we had young children of our own that, with the support of Bethanie, we celebrated our first Passover Seder. We have continued the tradition every year since… adding chairs and additional tables to the meal to accommodate more and more guests.

Last year, during the height of the pandemic, I had the opportunity of welcoming my church family into my home (via video) to celebrate Passover together. This year, we are preparing to share a Seder at the church during Holy Week. This has become an important tradition in my family so I thought it might be a good opportunity to reflect on just some of the lessons that celebrating Passover has taught me.

  • God is faithful to keep His promises. Passover is a time when we celebrate the miraculous Exodus story, where God brought His people out of bondage in Egypt. If He can keep a 400-year-old promise to Israel, we can trust His promises to us.

Do we trust Him? John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • Sometimes, God needs to get our attention. During the telling of the Exodus story, there is special attention given to the plagues on Egypt. As a Christian, it is often hard to understand how Pharaoh didn’t just acknowledge the power of God and set the Israelites free.

How many ways does God try to capture our attention while we are busy going about our lives? Romans 1:18 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”

  • We have to share the story. The Passover Seder is a tradition that is meant to be shared with others. It is built around encouraging children to ask questions and to spend time answering those questions. People are also encouraged to open their homes and tables to others.

Do we open our lives to others? Are we ready to share the story of God’s faithfulness to any who would ask about it? Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also the Greek.”

  • He’s coming back! Though the Passover Seder is a powerful tradition for the Jewish people, it has such a richer meaning for Christians. Whenever we participate in Communion, we are actually participating in a tiny part of the Passover Seder. Christ used this celebration to point to Himself. The plague of the Death of the Firstborn, opening the door to wait for the prophet Elijah to return, the symbols of rebirth throughout the celebration… there is so much here that points to God’s larger plan to not only bring His people out of bondage in Egypt but to also release them from the bondage of sin.

Do we live like we know He is coming back? Do we make room for Him at our tables and in our lives? Luke 22:15-16 – “And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’”     

After my grandmother died, we were invited to celebrate Passover with my Jewish relatives for the first time. Sitting around their table, I had the excitement of a kid again on Easter morning, just waiting for the day to unfold. Surrounded by family, laughter, storytelling, and song, I discovered a new appreciation for my Christian faith. Participating in this ancient Jewish tradition, one that was so important to Christ Himself, I felt like I had an inside track on what this celebration was all about.

God has always had a plan for His people. He is faithful, loving, and can be trusted. For a reason that doesn’t make a ton of sense to me, He intends for us to have a role in that plan… to participate in reconciling the world to Him. Can we still see Him working that plan out in our lives? Are we in a season where He is trying desperately to get our attention? Are we willing to open our lives and our homes to others who are seeking? Do we live our lives with the expectancy that He is coming back at any moment? I pray that this season, as we prepare to celebrate His resurrection, some of these lessons from the Passover Seder might help to strengthen our faith and witness.    


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