Shalom and Happy Passover
The Passover and Easter season is a beautiful time when we rejoice in the Lord providing atonement through His sacrificial death. But the chasm between Jesus and the Jewish community becomes even more profound during the holiday season. We so often define ourselves religiously by the holidays we keep. For example, Jewish people celebrate Passover and Christians celebrate Easter. If it were a different season of the year I would say that Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, and Christians celebrate Christmas.
It may sound hard to believe, but at one time, there was just Passover—there were those who were still waiting for the Passover lamb, and those who saw Jesus as the Passover Lamb. With historical progression, the body of believers became predominantly gentile and chose to distance themselves from the Jewish roots of their faith. This decision was formalized in the Council of Nicaea in 325—Easter became a separate holiday and particularly an occasion for antisemitism, as priests would provoke their congregants to punish and kill Jews for “killing Christ.” (footnote)
Jewish People Feel Alienated From Jesus
This is just one of many factors of why Jewish people generally feel alienated from the Gospel.
The Jewish people you meet might be resistant to the Gospel far more because of their fear of community sanctions than because of any theological disagreement over who the true Messiah is. Jewish people are generally not going to consider the Gospel because they feel far away from Jesus, view Him as the God of the Gentiles, and have a deep fear of being cast out of the Jewish community for even thinking about Jesus.
The Lord must shed an abundance of grace in the heart of the average Jewish person in order for them to make the great step of faith to follow Jesus.
How You Can Help
We cannot stress enough how important it is to pray for your Jewish friends and family, that the Lord would work on their hearts, and also give you the courage and wisdom to speak truth into their lives. In addition, you can:
#1 Share that Jesus and His disciples were Jewish and never left the faith.
You can try to help your Jewish friend understand that Jesus is Jewish, the New Testament was written by Jewish people, and that all of the early followers of Jesus were Jewish. In fact, the disciples celebrated Passover and other Jewish festivals, never rejected their Jewish identity, and did not choose to leave the Jewish community. The disciples believed that you could be Jewish and believe that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah.
#2 Take practical steps.
You can also send a beautiful Passover card to your Jewish friend, as it is a very appropriate time of the year to send greeting cards wishing your Jewish friends a happy Passover.
You can also give a small gift to your Jewish friend that shows your sensitivity to the holiday season. A box of macaroons, wonderful cookies that are made without leaven, is a great choice! This is a Jewish favorite—especially the ones that are dipped in dark chocolate!
You might also celebrate a Passover Seder (dinner) either in your home, with your small group, or even at your church and invite your Jewish friend! We have provided some great resources showing how you can use the Passover Seder as an evangelistic tool. Showing Jesus in His Jewish context is wonderful! For more resources on how to do this, visit messiahinthepassover.com.
Jesus Is the Fulfillment of Passover
Is it any wonder that Jesus chose Passover as the time to announce the inauguration of the New Covenant between God and man? The focus of Passover is the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt. Of course, Jesus gives the Passover a deeper meaning demonstrating that new life, forgiveness of sin and an eternity in heaven are assured to those who have faith in the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Let us not allow the Jewish community we love to feel alienated from Jesus! I hope this Passover season will afford you the opportunity to help your Jewish friends see Jesus in the Passover.