A Passover Seder about Jesus? Since when?
Most Christians see Passover as irrelevant, because it is part of the Torah, in the Old Testament. But a growing number of Christians find Messianic Seders compatible with their faith.
Both Catholics and Protestants believe that The Last Supper, where Jesus instituted the sacrament of Communion, was a Passover Seder. But today's Communion bears little resemblance to the description in the gospel account.
Unlike modern Communion, Jesus did not pass a plate of miniature crackers and tiny cups of grape juice after a moment of reflection. He did not place wafers on the tongues of his disciples. Unlike Hollywood depictions, Judas did not bump hands with Jesus as they dipped crusty French bread into au jus.
Celebrating in ancient Jewish tradition, Jesus broke the bread of Affliction, and gave the cup of Redemption. Judas shared with him the bitter herb of bondage. The Seder was as old as Moses. The command to perform it in remembrance of Jesus was new.
In his first letter to the Corinthians in 59 CE, the apostle Paul wrote,
"Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth." (1st Corinthians 5:7-8, NIV).
Early followers of Jesus continued to keep Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread which follows, as they always had, with a new understanding of Jesus as our redemption.
As Gentiles joined early Messianic assemblies (called churches), and as the early Jewish Christians passed on, congregations took on Gentile customs. Predominately Gentile churches discarded and forgot Jewish tradition, and replaced the Passover Seder with the Communion ceremony we see today. Some Christians, however, still choose to follow the ancient way.
Call it what you will, but you can't call it modern.
Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier.
Kathryn lives with her husband and children in Tampa, Florida. It's hot there. And swampy. With gators. She's really brave. PreciousHolidays@yahoo.com
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