Perhaps you have heard of our Passover Seder presentations or even attended one of them. Whether it was by personal witness, word of mouth, or even just curiosity, you may have thought, “Could I do this in my home or in my church?” Perhaps you have wondered, “Where would I begin?” The first and arguably most important step is prayer. Prayer will help you determine whether God is leading you to host a Seder of your own. Prayer should undergird everything you do regarding the Seder and not just be something you do at the start. The most important aspect of hosting the Passover Seder for the believer in Jesus is to glorify God and to point people to Him.
Once you believe the Lord is calling you to this task, you will need to determine in what setting it should be held. Would it be best in a home, church, Bible study, or in some other setting? Once you decide on a location, you will need to build a team. Who will invite the people, and who will be invited? How many people are you looking to have? What advertising is needed? What about the menu, since the Passover Seder is centered around dinner? And who will help with the materials that will be used to remember God’s deliverance?
Passover is an annual feast of the Lord initiated in the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Exodus and mentioned in many other places in Scripture. Jesus celebrated Passover, and the communion service arose from the elements of the Seder. Jesus highlighted the third cup, the cup of redemption, which represents His blood shed for the remission of our sins. Jesus also said the unleavened bread, the matzo, represents His body broken for us. Passover in the Hebrew Scriptures commemorates the Lord’s deliverance of the Jewish people from bondage and slavery to Pharaoh. In the New Testament, it also commemorates our Messiah Jesus delivering those who receive Him from bondage and slavery to sin. The purpose of this redemption is so God may be glorified and so that we can have new and eternal life in Him.
An essential guide for the Seder is the Haggadah. Seder (סֵדֶר) is a Hebrew word that means “order.” Haggadah (הַגָּדָה) is a Hebrew word that means “the telling,” which refers to the annual telling of the story of Passover. The Seder follows a specific order of service, and the Haggadah is a guidebook to the Seder. We recommend a Messianic Haggadah, because it blends the Jewish tradition with the gospel. Following the order of service and the instructions in the Haggadah can be a tremendous asset in hosting a well-run Seder. If you are wondering where to get many of the elements needed for your Seder, browse our Passover collection in our online store.
In addition to the food for the meal, you will need a Seder plate for each table. Each one of the elements on the Seder plate paints part of the picture of redemption as explained in the Haggadah. These elements include parsley, a cup of very salty water, a horseradish root, freshly ground horseradish, charoseth (a sweet mixture of chopped apples, honey, raisins, nuts, and a splash of grape juice), a hard-boiled egg, and the roasted shank bone of a lamb without the meat.
You will also need a cup for grape juice (or wine) for each place setting, with enough to refill each cup four times. Other items you will need for each table are a matzo tosh, which is a bag that holds three pieces of matzo, extra matzo, a pitcher of water, and a bowl. Also needed are two candlesticks with ten- or twelve-inch dripless candles, as well as matches. It is traditional to leave an empty place setting at the table for the prophet Elijah, hoping he will join the Seder and announce the coming of Messiah.
All of this information can usually be found in the Haggadah. For your very first time, you can simply read through the guide with your friends and family. As you become more familiar with the order and the elements, you can include more people. For instance, you can take turns reading from the Haggadah, passing the booklet around the table until you have completed the Seder. You can also be creative. The point is to remember God’s deliverance, and to see the Messiah in the Passover. And to enjoy one another’s company, of course!
For churches or larger groups, consider inviting a Chosen People Ministries missionary to come alongside or even lead the Seder for you. This could be done in person or virtually. Hosting a Passover Seder involves a lot of work and planning. Do not forget to invite others to join you in the endeavor so they may be blessed by the process. In all of this, do not forget to keep your focus on Jesus, and have fun! May the Lord bless you as you seek to glorify His name.