The Love Feast

I read “Christ in the Passover” by Ceil and Moishe Rosen before our upcoming Easter meal.

Here are my Sunday School notes to help us get our head around the meaning of Passover and Easter and how they connect.

A Modern Seder

The First Cup – The Cup of Sanctification

The Kiddush     The Blessing of God Creator of all things.

The four cups of wine correspond with the four verbs of Ex. 6:6-7: “ I will bring you out, I will deliver you, I will redeem you and I will take you to be my people.”

Several Times during a Seder there will be times of hand washing, this is when Jesus took opportunity to wash the feet of the disciples.

Bitter Herbs

Ex 12:8 Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Ex 2:23-25 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

Now the leader takes the matzo tash with its unity (the three matzos). He removes the middle matzo, breaks it in half, and hides or buries one half by wrapping it in a white napkin and placing it under a pillow, or under the table. The other half is replaced in the matzoh tash. The buried wafer is called the aphikomen. He doesn’t explain why he does this, but here is another explanation.

Jesus transformed the Passover feast to the Lord’s Supper that night of his betrayal forever. He put His stamp upon this event that has forever stood the test of time. Even the Jews who celebrate the Seder meal unknowingly proclaim Christ and His resurrection. They open the meal with three wafers of unleavened bread stacked one on top of each other. They then remove the middle piece – bury it in a napkin and hide it. At the end of the meal the children find the hidden wafer. Rabbinical tradition tries to point to the 3 pieces of bread representing the priesthood or Abraham Isaac and Jacob. But why do they hide the second one? It seems that early Christians who still celebrated the Passover meal with their Jewish brethren inserted this into the order of the meal remembering Jesus’ last Seder and it has stuck unto this day.

The Unleavened Bread

1 Cor 5:6-9 … Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.  8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The leader then recites the history of the Hebrew nation, from Abraham to Moses. He tells about the slavery in Egypt, and God’s deliverance. When he lists the ten plagues, everyone spills a drop of wine into a cup — one for each plague. When the description is over, they all sing and clap a happy song, praising God. They recite Psalms 113 and 114 (the Hallel). Then they drink from the second wine-goblet (the cup of praise).

We eat.

Of course, the one missing ingredient is the lamb. It had to be sacrificed in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day. So today it is represented by a bone shank or a chicken neck.

When the meal is finished, the hostess clears the dishes. Now it’s time for the search for the aphikomen (the buried half- matzo). This is done by the children, who make a game of it. Adults call out clues, “You’re getting close,” etc. (Of course, they all saw the host hide it, so the contest is only ritual.) The youngest is usually allowed to find it, and receives a gift.

The host breaks off olive-size pieces of matzoh from the aphikomen and distributes them to all. They each eat it, in a reverent manner. Sometimes there is a blessing, “In memory of the Passover sacrifice, eaten after one is sated.”

This is the point during the Last Supper at which Jesus broke the bread and passed bits to His disciples; however, Jesus added the significant words given in Luke 22:19 “This is my body which is given for you.”

The host now takes the third cup of wine, “the cup of redemption,” or “the cup of blessing,” and offers the main table grace blessing. (In Jewish tradition, the main blessing comes after the meal.) Then they all drink from the third cup. They recite Psalms 115 – 118 together finishing with Psalms 136.

At the Last Supper, this is the place referred to in Luke 22:20 “Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you’.”

There is a fourth wine-goblet at the table, that hasn’t been used until now. This is called “the cup of Elijah.” There is also an empty chair, waiting for Elijah to come. This is done because of the promise contained at the end of the Old Testament, in Malachi 4:5-6 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Messianic expectations run very high among the Jewish people, especially at Passover time. The children of the house then make a ritual of going and looking closely at the cup, to see if Elijah has come and sipped some. One of the children goes to the door, opens it, and looks for Elijah. Everyone says, “Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the LORD!”

The host then leads in the recitation of the second part of the Hallel — Psalms 115-118, then the Great Hallel, Psalm 136. Everyone drinks from the fourth cup of wine. After one more prayer of blessing (that contains the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem”) the Passover celebration is finished.

The Last Supper seen through the Passover Meal

The Kiddush

Luke 22:17-18 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves;  18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

The First Washing of Hands

John 13:4-5 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

The order of service from here: food brought out, bitter herbs dipped in salt water, food removed, second cup of wine poured, ritual questions and answers, food brought back out, lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened bread explained; Hallel Ps 115-118; second cup drank, one piece of bread broken with giving of thanks…

Broken pieces of bread dipped in bitter herbs and Charoseth and handed to all.

John 13:26-30 Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”  28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, “Buy those things we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor.  30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.

At the beginning of the meal a piece of unleavened bread dipped in vinegar is distributed to the guest by the host. This is the sop that is referred to being given to Judas, who promptly left never partaking of that Passover or the institution of the Lord’s Supper that followed.

Remember on that night how Jesus announced that He was to be betrayed. Each man examined his heart and said “Is it I” and they were sorrowful.

That is why…….The Passover feast was always accompanied by a burnt offering and a peace offering.

The purpose of the offerings were so that a person could experience this time of the feast joyously.

The Paschal Meal is eaten, third hand washing, and third cup poured.

Blessing After Meal

1 Cor 11:23-25 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said,  “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

1 Cor 11:24-26 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Third cup drank, sing the Hallel pour and drink fouth cup

Re-read John 13-16 realizing that this is Jesus’ conversation with His disciples at the Passover meal. With Chapter 17 being His final closing prayer as they went to the Mount of Olives.

Closing Song

Matt 26:30 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.



About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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