31 May 2023

Passover God’s ‘signature holiday’: Messianic Jewish leader

The Seder plate features bitter herbs, unleavened bread and other dishes which hold deep significance for Jewish Passover. Image: iStock

Kirralee Nicolle

6 April 2023

For Messianic Jews, Passover marks a celebration of both the deliverance of Jews from Egypt and the deliverance for all brought by Jesus’ death and resurrection, an Messianic Jewish leader says.

The observance of Pesach, or Passover, began before sundown on 5 April and will continue until after nightfall on 13 April. For Jews, the celebration typically includes traditional foods, prayers and readings.

Jews for Jesus director and Anglican Bob Mendelsohn said you don’t have to go far in the Scripture to find statements from God about bringing his people out of Egypt.

“It’s almost biblically God’s signature holiday,” he said.

Mr Mendelsohn said across the world, traditional Jewish Passover foods varied, but two were consistent everywhere: unleavened bread and bitter herbs. This is according to the passage in Exodus 12:8-13 where God commanded the Israelites to eat unleavened bread and bitter herbs with lamb.

Read more: In the Psalms’ kingship, servanthood and suffering, we see Jesus

Mr Mendelsohn said while some Jewish ancestral groups ate lamb as well, many who did not have access to a temple in which to bless the sacrifice instead marked its significance with a shank bone on the Seder plate which is commemorated on the first night of Passover.

Mr Mendelsohn said while as a Messianic Jew and an Anglican he believed in the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection, he still saw Passover as a very important event for two reasons.

“Why would you not want to?” he said. “This is great. We have two things we’re celebrating – we’re celebrating what God did in delivering the Jews out of Egypt and we’re celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus so that everybody can have deliverance. It’s a double dip.”

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