[Our Spiritual Message for this month has been kindly written by Barbara Sabin]
The editorial in the May issue of the Parish Magazine by Roy Smalley I found to be extremely interesting and most worthy of debate. White wine or red wine used for Communion? The question is WWJD (what would Jesus Do?) and what do the scriptures say? The message of scripture is the message of salvation for all people. Jesus was a Jew. He is our Salvation. We read in the scriptures in Genesis Chapter 3 verse 15 the promise of Salvation. “….he (Jesus) will crush your head, and you (Satan) will strike his heel”. Throughout the Old Testament scriptures we see Jesus revealed. The Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians and a leader was raised in Moses to free the people and in Exodus Chapter12 we learn about –
“The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire – with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.
‘On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt. ‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance. 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 until the seventh must be cut off from Israel. On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
‘Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.’
Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
‘Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”’ Then the people bowed down and worshipped. The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.’
The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. ‘For otherwise,’ they said, ‘we will all die!’ …..
Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honour the Lord for the generations to come.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘These are the regulations for the Passover meal: ‘No foreigner may eat it. Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it. ‘It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. The whole community of Israel must celebrate it…….. All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.
Jesus was the fulfillment of the Passover, The lamb that was slain for us. He commemorated the Passover the night before he died. There are four cups of red wine or grape juice it is a royal drink symbolizing freedom. Each cup symbolic of God’s promise
1. "I will take you out…"
2. "I will save you…"
3. "I will redeem you…"
4. "I will take you as a nation…"
There is also a fifth cup the cup of Elijah which is not drunk it is the cup awaiting the return of the prophet Elijah which gives hope for the future.
We remember just as the Jewish nation do, God’s promise to take us, save us, redeem us, and make us his children, and to give us the hope of eternal life.
Jesus took the cup it represents his blood it is his lifeblood poured out for you and me. He said drink this in memory of me. He took unleavened bread and said take and eat in memory of me.
My life must be Christ’s broken bread
My love his outpoured wine.
Do you wonder why people find Salvation so difficult to understand? The promises were all fulfilled at Calvary, the ram’s horn blown when the lamb was slaughtered at Passover was at the exact moment when Jesus said ’It is finished.’ As Christians when we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord we are a ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven people, his blood is covering all our sins. When God looks down on us he sees the blood and passes over us we are saved. Hallelujah.
If you ever get the opportunity to experience the Passover Supper with Messianic or Orthodox Jews you will see the re-enactment of the Passover the wine or grape juice used is red, it is symbolic of the blood put over the doorpost that the angel of death passed over.
The Passover celebration, the foundation of this new covenant meal, was always meant to have a unifying effect on the wider family of all who accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. 1 Corinthians 10:16. “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians chapter 11 verse 25. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin Hebrews 9 verse 22
Thank you Lord for your gift beyond words - written in red.