Passover—Jews for Jesus style
Passover is one of those holidays all kinds of Jewish people enjoy. For some it is mostly a cultural event, and for others it is also a deeply meaningful spiritual experience.
As Jews who are for Jesus, we believe that God’s liberation of our people from slavery in Egypt is not only central to our heritage but also deeply embedded in our belief in Yeshua (Jesus). We believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the once and for all Passover Lamb who can set us free from ourselves, and from all the things we think, do and say that keep us from a loving relationship with God. This very Jewish holiday is a beautiful opportunity to share with Jewish and non-Jewish people alike the freedom we have found in the Messiah.
Check out the following highlights, which show how we celebrated Passover “Jews for Jesus style” around the world and how people responded.
In Odessa, our team held a two-week street outreach around the holiday; they met 91 Jewish people who wanted to hear more about Jesus and fourteen Gentiles who were interested in the gospel as well. During the branch’s series of Passover celebrations, 25 Jewish people and sixteen Gentiles prayed to begin a new life with God based on what Jesus did for us through His death and resurrection.
“Somewhere in Belarus” 77 Jewish people who do not yet believe in Jesus heard the gospel at a Seder conducted by our missionary there in collaboration with a local Messianic congregation. Half of those guests came in response to invitations via telephone.
In Moscow, the room was packed to overflowing as our team put together a Passover event that included special music, dancing and a Bible message about Passover and God’s plans for redemption. Of the 145 people who attended, 50 were Jewish people who do not yet believe in Jesus, five of whom came to faith in Him during the event.
Here in North America, we were so encouraged when Simone, a student working part-time with our Chicago branch, told us about the Jewish campus group she’s a part of, which hosted a special Torah study on the meaning of the Afikomen.* All of the students were asked to say their name and what this traditional element of Passover meant in their home growing up. Simone said, “When it was my turn, I explained that growing up in a Messianic family, we always believed that the afikomen was symbolic of Jesus. The Reform rabbi was very interested and even said, ‘That makes a lot of sense.’
“Later, the group was debating the origin of the afikomen and why we use a piece of matzah. This gave me an opportunity to further explain how, during Jesus’ time, the last thing eaten during the meal was a piece of lamb. I explained how Jesus took a piece of matzah along with the third cup of wine and made them about himself. The entire group, including the rabbi, had their ‘minds blown’ by how much sense this explanation makes. The other students began asking more questions about Messianic Judaism. At the end of the study one girl even asked the rabbi if we could have an entire Torah study on Messianic Judaism!”
Please pray that all the seeds of hope and good news planted worldwide this Passover season would grow in the hearts of those we met.
*The afikomen is a piece of matzah (unleavened bread) that is broken before the Passover meal. Part of it is wrapped in a cloth and hidden. At the end of the meal the children hunt for it, and when it is brought back, it is distributed to the participants and eaten as the final morsel. Learn more about the afikomen here.