While Christians are anticipating Easter this week, those of the Jewish faith are preparing for Passover, which begins this year at sundown on April 15th and ends on the 23rd. And Passover literally does take preparation. But even if you aren’t Jewish, you might want to read and learn about their week-long celebration. After all, it was Passover that drew Jesus to Jerusalem where He was crucified and rose again on Easter. Christians have come to see that Jesus is their Passover Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. If that doesn’t make you say “Allelujah”, nothing will.
I found an interesting book by John Piper entitled The Passion of Jesus Christ. This book goes through 50 reasons why Christ suffered for us and died. Jews often fail to see Jesus as the Messiah predicted in Old Testament passages like Isaiah 53. Piper shows readers, through the New Testament, how God fulfilled His purposes in Jesus.
Christ in the Passover, by Ceil and Moishe Rosen, was written to help non-Jewish people “see Christ, the Messiah, as the Passover Lamb”. The authors believe that understanding this Orthodox Jewish feast, its practices, and the terms associated with it will help Christians gain more from many passages in the Bible.
Perhaps you would like to have your own Passover Seder with family or friends, or maybe you plan to attend one. The Passover Journey, A Seder Companion, by Barbar Diamond Goldin will help walk you through that process. It tells the foundational story, explains the customs, and gives you the order for your celebration. Another book, Celebrating Biblical Feasts In Your Home or Church, by Martha Zimmerman, gives further information and simple recipes, too. Of course, if you want to explore Passover foods in-depth, just Google it! I highly recommend attending a Seder. It is a memorable experience for children and adults.
I would also recommend an excellent classic novel for this season. Ben-Hur, by Lew Wallace, takes the reader on a Jewish man’s journey to Jesus as his Messiah. Ironically, Wallace, a Civil War general, was an unbeliever who came to Christ as he wrote his own book. That’s how powerful the story of Christ is! The book became the most influential Christian novel of the nineteenth century. I also recommend the original movie, starring Charlton Heston, for a great family movie night film. Yes, it’s old, but it won 11 Academy Awards and is still recognized as one of the best movies ever made. If you have not read or seen this story, you are really missing out. Either one will give you insights into Jewish life at the time of Christ, and get you thinking about how you would have responded to this Man who claimed to be the Messiah.
I hope you get the chance to do a little research, learn a lot, and have some fun in the process.
Reading is Rewarding!
Request the following titles from the Family Vision Library here:
Amon’s Adventure, by Arnold Ytreeide
The Passion of Jesus Christ, by John Piper
Christ in the Passover, by Ceil and Moishe Rosen
The Passover Journey, A Seder Companion, by Barbar Diamond Goldin
Celebrating Biblical Feasts In Your Home or Church, by Martha Zimmerman
Ben-Hur, the original movie
Ben-Hur, Focus on the Family audio dramatization
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