On a night this spring, groups of New Testament believers around the world will gather to observe the ordinances of the Christian Passover. This annual memorial of the Last Supper of Jesus is on the 14th day of first month of the Hebrew calendar. Modern disciples will partake of the symbols instituted by the Savior of mankind to represent His humility and service, His body broken for us, and His blood shed for our sins.
Whywill these New Testament believers wash one another's feet, eat broken unleavened bread, and drink the fruit of the vine? Because the Messiah said "do this in remembrance of me." Individually these Bible believers have a great love and reverence for the Son of God who died that we might have eternal life. Not once a week, not once a month, but annually we partake of the sacred emblems, in loving obedience to the example and command of the Messiah.
It is fitting and proper at this time of year that we examine ourselves, II Corinthians 13:5, making sure that we do not eat and drink damnation to ourselves, I Corinthians 11:23-34.
Here are some reminders to help us prepare for this most awesome day of the year:
(1)We are to remember the broken body of our Savior, who was brutally scourged for our physical sins against our own bodies, Psalms 22, Isaiah 52:13-15, 53:1-12. Truly, with His stripes we are healed, I Peter 2:21-25. We cannot partake of the broken unleavened bread without remembering how much physical pain the Master suffered. Eating the right kinds of foods, getting exercise, and obeying all the other laws of health is good, but we must trust the Eternal for healing when and if we get sick. These revealed ways of living are more meaningful each year.
It is encouraging that so many believers are taking a renewed interest in zealously taking care of the temple of the Holy Spirit -- their bodies. The Messiah endured the mutilation of His sinless body, not for us to eat unclean or unwholesome foods and pump our bodies full of drugs and medicines, but for us to take clean living seriously. Judas didn't take the execution of Yahshua seriously until it was too late. The broken bread should awake us all to the seriousness of I Corinthians 6:15-20. Never should the bread be taken lightly.
(2)We are to symbolically partake of the blood (the life) of the Savior. Drinking physical blood is a sin! Leviticus 7:26-27. There is life in the blood. Many religious people will partake of the lifeblood of their human leader rather than their Savior. That is, they will follow him (or her) no matter what. What a grievous sin. By symbolically taking the life of the Son of the Most High, we allow Him to live in us, to direct us, ALL our thoughts and ALL our actions.
This year, is your life more like your Savior's than it was at Passover last year, or many years ago? If it is, then you are surrendering to the New Will and Testament. and the laws of the Eternal are being written indelibly in your heart and mind. Miss or forget the Passover? How could we? Not if we are His!
The message within the cup is that this cup is a difficult one to drink. That is why if there are some unusual circumstances that force one to miss the Passover, he must take it on the 14th day of the second month, Numbers 9:1-14. There is no excuse for missing the Passover. A baptized believer must either keep it or die! John 6:30-69. This is a hard saying, because we have seen many of our former brothers and sisters in the faith turn back. They have died spiritually because they have not understood the full meaning of the Passover. Our loving Father sent His own dear Son to live a sinless life, to die in our stead and rise again. All this so that we might have our sins forgiven, receive the Spirit within us and someday live forever in His kingdom.
Tremblewhen you drink that cup! If you keep drinking it, never turning back, you will partake of its full meaning: that of laying down your life for others. The Savior said, "Ye shall drink indeed of my cup" Matthew 20:23. This means persecution and martyrdom for some, Acts 12:2, Revelation 1:9. For ALL it means self-sacrifice, a continued living sacrifice, Romans 12:1-2. Remember, we are called to live the same life of hardship as the Savior Himself lived, I Peter 2:21.
For some, drinking the cup in its true meaning is almost as revolting as drinking physical blood. They are too caught up in themselves to truly partake of it, John 6:66. (Maybe it isn't a coincidence that this verse is 666.)
Thinking about death is not morbid if it is a Holy sacrifice, pleasing and acceptable to the Father. We take the cup because we need it. We need that blood to cover our sins, and must be willing to lay down our lives for others.
(3)We are to examine ourselves, critically judge ourselves. If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged by the Eternal, I Corinthians 11:28-31.
It is so easy to judge and criticize others, but because we are so stubborn, we often fail to listen to criticisms of ourselves by others. It is so hard to see our own imperfections and shortcomings. There is a way to show someone where they have gone wrong without making them feel hopelessly inept. Even when receiving virulent criticisms and seemingly unwarranted condemnations from others, you should always attempt to listen to what they are saying. You should consider the possibility that what they are saying could be true.
Passover should lead us to seek criticism from others for our actions, to listen to what others say about us without emotion. Fasting should be done by everyone a few weeks or days before Passover. To break the bands of iniquity, we must sit still and listen. If you have wronged someone, attempt to make amends before you come to the altar, Matthew 5:23-24. Jezebel did not listen to the warning of the LORD from Elijah. Will we listen when others point out our faults?
(4)We are to "tarry one for another," I Corinthians 11:33. Certainly the footwashing ceremony, preceding the taking of the bread and wine, is symbolic of this admonition. "Tarry" is an old English word meaning simply "to wait, wait on." Some in Corinth were turning the New Ordinances into a big meal like it was under the Old Testament. Paul told them not to make the New Passover into a "Lord's Supper," I Corinthians 11:19-22. If you are hungry, eat at home so that when you come to the New Testament Passover, you are not condemned for riotous banqueting, verses 34, 21.
Passover brings to mind some sad memories of an experience a few years ago. The person called upon to open the services for Passover with prayer thanked God that we were not like others who had turned their back on the truth. This is a wrong attitude. Instead, our prayer at Passover should be: "Eternal, you know our faults and sins, please help us to overcome and not turn back from you. Help those who have strayed from your paths. Restore them, and us, for we have not been perfect in your sight."
A very dear friend was against me for sharing the truth of the Almighty with others, especially with those who have been "turned off" by former religious experiences." "I realize," this minister wrote, "there have been many people hurt by these happenings, many that we grew to love and respect are completely turned off, but I do not hold myself responsible for what happened. Therefore I do not have some guilt complex driving me on to 'save' them. If I can remain faithful to the Truth as I understood and accepted it, then I feel that some day I may be given an opportunity to truly help them, when they desire it, and need it." So basically, this man's conclusion was that we should not bother to "tarry one for another." Thankfully, he has modified his views somewhat since then.
Passover brings to full light the travesty of this type of wrong attitude. Even though we didn't ask for help, and didn't know we needed it, the Messiah is the one Being who cared for us enough to die in order for us to be brought up out of this cesspool of sin. How wonderful that we can cast ALL our cares upon Him who is personally concerned for each one of us, I Peter 5:7.
There are thousands of "true believers" who will this Passover go through the motions. They will wash one another's feet, and yet totally miss the point that we are to be living sacrifices. We are to serve one another daily out of true sincerity, and not because of the acclaim it will bring us: "by love serve one another," Galatians 5:13.
The sense of "tarry one for another" can also mean "wait patiently for" as well as "wait on" or "serve" one another.
(5)Those who truly follow the Master and have been called by Him must be born from above, John 3:3 (Oxford marginal rendering). They must be begotten with the earnest of the Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:13-14. They must be led by that Spirit to grow and overcome, becoming more and more like their Creator. At the resurrection,
they will receive the fullness of the Spirit, when they shall be Spirit because they are then born of the Spirit, John 3:6. Here and now, they must be growing up unto Him in all things.
Human birth is a glorious type of a much more glorious event which we look forward to. This is all made possible by Him who died for us. Truly, we can say this year, and every year, "I have wanted so much to eat this Passover meal with you . . . ," Luke 22:15, TEV. Contact someone who may be lonely or in need of encouragement in the Master. "Tarry one for another."
On this coming Passover, take each element, each word, each symbol with awesome respect and love for the one who died for you and me. Recommit yourselves to the covenant you made with the Eternal at baptism. Don't take this Passover in vain, in an unworthy manner. Lay down your lives for Him and others. That's why we partake of the New Testament Passover.
Passover dates for Abib 14 (services observed the previous evening) are:
April 19, 2000
April 7, 2001
March 27, 2002
April 16, 2003
April 5, 2004
April 23, 2005
You have a date with the Eternal. Don't miss it!
Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread Part 1
Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread Part 2
Passover -- 14th or 15th?
Passover, Lord's Supper, or Communion?
Drink the Pure Blood of the Grape
The Order and Meaning of Passover
Instructions for Keeping the New Covenant Passover
The New Testament Passover Ceremony
Feast of Unleavened Bread: Putting Sin Out
Polluted Bread for Passover?
Recipes for the Days of Unleavened Bread
Let a Man Examine Himself
Observance of the Passover.
Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread Quiz
Main Holy Day Menu
Written by: Richard C. Nickels
Giving & Sharing
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