Month 1:12 (Aviv), Week 2:4 (Revee/Shavu'ot), Year 5935:012 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 15 [Red] April 2011
Learning to Come as a Little Child
Continued from Part 2
It is important to prepare in advance for Pesach (Passover) because it is a Sacred Meal. You might call it a "Supper of suppers", like the weekly Lord's Supper which helps us both to prepare for Pesach as well as for the Final Banquet at Sukkot (Tabernacles) - the Marriage Feast of the Lamb.
Pesach is not a meal for anyone but only for born-again, Torah-obedient Israelites who are trusting, clinging, and adhering to the Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Lord Jesus Christ) and for their children not yet baptised. And even though the symbolism of Passover is of our one-to-one relationship with Yahweh though Yah'shua (Jesus) it is nevertheless always within a family context - it is an important time for individual families and the the Family of Israel to gather in congregations. For Passover was one of the three annual festivals (the others being Shavu'ot in the summer and Sukkot in the autumn/fall) that anciently required Israelite families, or a male representative if all could not come, to attend in Jerusalem which today (in the absence of a temple) is done by assembling with other believers wherever possible. This is the tavnith or pattern that is to be followed until Yah'shua (Jesus) returns along with the New Jerusalem when we will celebrate it once again in the Holy Land under proper toqef (authority) and consecration, for right now the land is defiled.
Though Paul is here speaking of the weekly Lord's Supper, the self-preparation involved is no different for the Passover Meal itself:
Passover is not "party-time". It is about conception in Messiah and deliverance from sin and bondage. It is a memorial both of our ancestors' deliverance from Egypt and how this was done purely by Yahweh's Grace (unmerited favour, undeserved loving-kindness) and not because it had been earned by their exceptional righteousness (they had little of that), and also it is a memorial of what Yah'shua (Jesus) did for us on the Cross, securing our release from hell, forgiveness of sins, and an eternal resurrection of spiritual, mental, psychic and physical chayim (life) united as a single, indivisiable echad or oneness in the Kingdom of His Father. Pesach is a celebration of sorts but it is primarily a solemn memorial, a time for deep gratitude, reverence, respect and solemnity for this is how Yah'shua (Jesus) commanded us to observe it:
"Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Master in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Master. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Master's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep" (1 Cor.11:27-30, NKJV).
We are to remember His death and the terrible price He paid for our redemption, a price we could never have paid. It is to remind us on our utter helplessness without Him and our total dependence.
"Do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19, NKJV).
This does not, of course, mean that we are only to remember our Master once a year and forget Him since when He abides in us, and we in Him, we are in continual remembrance of Him. It's not like remembering someone once in a while when we get a postcard or an email from them. No, this is specifially to remember what He did for us on the Cross in the context of what He did for our forefathers in Egypt and what that now means spiritually in our daily walk. This is a time for connecting and making New Beginnings for the ultimate spiritual meaning of Pesach is a soul's spiritual conception when the decision is made to follow Messiah, whether it be for the first time (the most important) or in any area of life which we are yielding to him as part of our ongoing repentance. Maintaining that conception and guarding the gestation of the growing soul in Messiah is the work of Chag haMatzah which I will be talking about when that begins, the first goal being to successfully see this gestation through to the New Birth at Yom haBikkurim, itself another 'New Beginning', the second of many to follow until all is completed and consummated at our final Sukkot.
Pesach is the first and simplest - yet in some ways most difficult - part of coming to Messiah. And that coming is made, not with pomp, ceremony and elaborate ritual, but with the simplicity of a little child running up to a parent in totall abandon, where there is no pride and no self-consciousness. Thus Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
There is nothing showy or pretentious about this act of coming. There is no ordinance of the Gospel to correspond to it except coming to the Table of the Master to eat with father and mother. There is no price-tag:
"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Elohim (God). Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of Elohim (God) as a little child will by no means enter it" (Mark 10:14-15, NKJV).
Obviously a child is in no position to pay for his parent's services just as we cannot purchase our salvation from Yahweh since we could never, as mortals, meet the heavenly price of the death of one who is eternal. There is no price for conception. There is no price for gestation. And there is no price for birth. And indeed there is no price for growing up in a true home. Only when we are bigger must we assume responsibilities of that nature. Pesach, then, is one of those 'free' meals, for those who are surrendered.
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the mayim (waters); and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa.55:1, NKJV).
Indeed, everyone comes to the Pesach table in the same way just as the talmidim (disciples) gathered around the table of the Last Supper with Yah'shua (Jesus). With the picture of the young apostle John leaning on the Master's bosom, so we are to see a zygote formed within a mother's womb, the beginnng of something very new and very small. This egg will grow and grow until it is formed into a conceptus, ready for birth, in the safety of the dark, warm mayim (waters) directly beneath mother's lev (heart) whose heartbeat baby will constantly hear. One who comes to Yah'shua (Jesus) in this manner, like a small child, has begun his or her spiritual walk in Messiah in the spirit of Pesach. I shall be talking more of this tomorrow.
Many, taking shelter from the terrors of the world, want to remain in this innocent state. Many wish to remain in this risk-free safety zone. But we are called to be born into the world outside and to continue in a dangerous but highly rewarding journey that is explained in the yearly festivals that we are commanded by Yahweh to observe. There is a journey to be made and whilst we are free to stop at any time and make camp along the derech (way), to rest or whatever our need may be, it is not Yahweh's intention that we remain there. Murderous 'Amalekites' lurk and prey upon such, those who would waylay us and destroy us, preventing us from going up to completion and maturity in our Holy Land represented by Sukkot. The festivals remind us not to set down roots in the deserts (where souls perish of thirst) or in the occasonal wadi or oasis (which can only supply so much of our needs, and even then only seasonally). Using imagery describing the part of our journey from Yom haBikkurim and onwards, after a soul's rebirth, the apostle reminds us:
There are those who want to permanently remain in the care-free and responsibility-free simplicity of childhood whom Yahweh has to nudge forwards, and sometimes push, because He does not want us remaining as spiritual infants. The Pesach stage is very necessary and we all know the terrible risks of premature birth. There is a time to be in the womb of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) and grow (that is why we have a seve-day long Chag haMatzah appointment with Yahweh, to remind us how impretant this stagre is), there is a time to be born-again, and there is a time to continue growing, inwardly and outwardly. Each stage of growth entails a certain amount of additional responsibility for ourselves along with the hard work that is required to reach the final Sukkot.
"For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Heb 5:13-14, NKJV).
As you rpepare for Pesach tomorrow evening, may Yahweh bless you and show you the way within. Until tomorrow!
Continued in Part 4