Jewish Ministries club hosts Passover celebration
On March 25, Biola's Jewish Ministries club hosted a Passover celebration, in accordance with the ancient tradition that Moses instituted in the Torah. About 70 people attended the evening event, which took place in the Andrews Banquet Room in the new Talbot facility.
Small black caps called “kipas” were provided for the men to wear for the celebration. Although it is a distinctly Jewish celebration, the roots of evangelical Christianity lay in Passover, according to Judith Rood, professor of history and Middle Eastern studies.
“Jesus, being a traditional Jew, was celebrating the Passover, and that was the Last Supper,” Rood said.
Anna Reeser, vice president of the Jewish Ministries club, and a junior political science major, also sees an important connection in the Exodus account where Judaism and the Christian faith intersect, according to Reeser.
“The Passover Lamb — it is another picture of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross,” she said.
Following traditional ceremonial practices
Biola’s event had a special focus on Messianic Judaism. The Haggadah is a pamphlet that provides the format for Passover observers and narrates the history of the first Passover. The Ben David Messianic Jewish Congregation in Orange provided Haggadoth for Biola’s Seder. Unlike regular Jewish Haggadoth, these also sought to link the Passover to Jesus’ death. For instance, they referred to the Last Supper as the Last Seder. Seder, a Hebrew word meaning “order,” is the name ascribed to the Passover dinner and the traditions that accompany it.
The Passover Seder began with the ceremonial washing of hands. During the Last Supper, Jesus observed a similar tradition when he wiped the disciples' feet, as recounted in John 13. Prayers were then made to God, the king of the universe. Participants ate unleavened bread and bitter herbs, as God commanded the Israelites in Exodus 12:8. According to the Haggadah, the bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavery that the Hebrews experienced under the pharaoh.
After the opening ceremonies, Bon Appetit catered a hearty meal featuring a chicken entrée, potatoes, vegetables and matzo soup. Kugel, a sweet dish made with unleavened bread and apples, was served for dessert. The chef, John Rose, gained experience preparing Passover meals during his seven years living in New York.
Elements symbolic of Christ
Four glasses of wine are traditionally taken at a Seder, each with its own significance. However, keeping with the Biola contract, grape juice was substituted for wine. The third cup, the cup of redemption, has a special, double meaning for Jewish believers. It is taken after the main meal has been eaten.
“Not only does this cup remind us of what God did when he redeemed his people from physical bondage in Egypt, but also of what Yeshua [Jesus] did only a few hours after that famous Passover Seder, when he redeemed us from spiritual bondage to sin by offering himself as our atonement,” according to the Messianic Jewish Haggadah used at the event.
According to the Haggadah, it was this third cup that Jesus drank with his disciples when he instituted communion, inaugurating the New Covenant. The pamphlet cites 1 Corinthians 11:25, which says, “After supper, he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the covenant in my blood; do this in remembrance of me.’”
The other element of the Passover Seder that became part of the traditional Eucharist was the matzo, or unleavened bread. The bread itself is striped, just as Christ was beaten until he had many stripes, according to Rood.
“It is a perfect symbol for Jesus,” Rood said.