Next Year in Jerusalem
I look forward to celebrating Passover in the next few weeks. The story of God’s redemption of my Jewish people from bondage in Egypt thousands of years ago is wonderful in itself and it takes on even greater meaning through our Messiah’s passion. As Yeshua celebrated His Last Supper,” a Passover meal, He applied it to his own life, death and resurrection. But what some don’t realize is that Passover is not only a time to remember. It is full of hopeful expectation for the coming of our King Messiah!
A Future Passover
Jesus set the tone for this expectation with His opening Passover remarks. He expressed eagerness to celebrate the meal with His disciples, “for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:16). Similarly, after He had taken the cup at the beginning of the ceremony (most likely the cup of sanctification) He told them, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:17b-18).
If Yeshua’s disciples had listened carefully, they would have found great hope to cling to in the coming dark hours. He promised that they would enjoy another Passover with Him in the future, a Passover when the Kingdom of God comes, a Passover “fulfilled” in that Kingdom. This upper room observance need not be called the Last Supper. Jesus promised it would not be the last one, not at all!
Some might argue that Jesus’ promise of a future Passover has been fulfilled, or is being fulfilled each time believers celebrate holy communion. I agree that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection do fulfill the promise of redemption foreshadowed in the Passover. Yet I can’t believe that was His entire promise to His followers. Jesus mentioned a future in which *He* would be partaking of Passover. This points to more than a commemorative ceremony in which we partake. Jesus Himself will sit down and enjoy the Passover celebration with His friends.
Our Messiah’s passion opened the door for all who believe to become Kingdom citizens. But I believe in the promise of a Passover in a Kingdom that is both now and not yet. Not much has been written about the future Passover meal Jesus spoke about. I imagine it will be a most wonderful celebration because the Lamb who was slain will be there to lead the seder.
A Future Place
Each year Passover concludes with a joyous cry of hope, and a rousing chorus of: “L’Shana haba b’rushalayim,” which means, “Next year in Jerusalem!” This song captures generations of hope that my people will be restored in peace to Jerusalem, the city of peace. But that hope has yet to be realized. Jerusalem may be governed by Jewish people today, but it is not a city of peace, not yet.
My parents live in that strategic city and I just returned from a visit there. The day I flew to Israel, I arrived to find that a suicide bomber had blown himself up on a bus in Jerusalem. Scores of people died and many more were wounded. Each year my people recite and sing the words, “next year in Jerusalem,” but the majority of us are still not flocking to live there. But one day Jerusalem will be the most desirable place on earth.
The hope with which we always end the seder meal is really the hope for heaven. There is a longing in the human heart that can only be met by the presence of God.
Jerusalem will one day be a most desirable place because it will be characterized by the one who dwells there, the Prince of Peace. “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev.21:2-3).
A Future Person
While Moses is considered the hero of Passover, his role is accomplished. But the real hero of Passover still has a major role to play. One of the most poignant moments in the Passover occurs when the youngest child rises from the dinner table to open the door for Elijah. In some Passover traditions, just as the door is opened, all stand to their feet and exclaim, “Baruch Haba B’shem Adonai, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Then, together we sing the oldest Hebrew melody known today. “Eliyahu Ha navi. Elijah the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Gileadite. Come even in our days and bring with you Messiah Son of David.”
Every year my people stand and every year they sing. And every year some wonder, “Will he ever come?” They are still waiting. Therein lies the burden of my heart and that of Jews for Jesus. Our message is not only that Messiah has come. Ours is a message of hope for the future. Messiah is coming again. Passover commemorates a redemption past, and illustrates our present redemption. But it also looks forward to a redemption that is yet to come.
When the apostle Paul instructed us concerning the Lord’s Supper, he said, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death *till He comes*” (1 Corinthians11:26) Each time we take the bread and cup we look, not only back to His suffering, but also forward to the Passover that Jesus promised His disciples in that upper room. This is a redemption that most Jewish people do not even realize they long for.
Remember what Jesus said as he wept over Jerusalem: “for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'” (Matthew 23:39) Each Passover my people stand and say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” They believe they are calling for Elijah. But we know that one day they will stand and call out for Yeshua Ha Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah. He will come again just as He promised and then we will celebrate the greatest Passover ever. MARANATHA!
Executive Director, Missionary
David Brickner is executive director of Jews for Jesus. David oversees the world-wide ministry from its headquarters in San Francisco. David received his Master’s degree in Missiology with a concentration in Jewish Evangelism and Judaic Studies from the Fuller School of World Mission. He has authored several books, and has been interviewed on national television shows such as Larry King Live. David’s daughter, Ilana is a recent graduate of Biola. His son, Isaac is on the missionary staff of Jews for Jesus. Isaac and his wife, Shaina, have one daughter, Nora, which makes David part of the grandparent club, a membership he is very proud of. See more here.