Sabbath, Feasts, and More
Marking Jewish Themes with Devotion
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:9 NKJV).
Jewish people around the world are preparing for Passover. And the wonderful story of the exodus from Egypt and deliverance from the angel of death by lamb’s blood that covered the doorposts will be repeated out loud as part of the ceremony in thousands of Jewish homes and synagogues.
Christians are preparing for Good Friday and then Easter Sunday. Some are going through a fasting of some kind with special scriptures and application called Lent to prepare hearts for the gravity and glory of Resurrection weekend.
The world pauses to hear the story of deliverance.
While living in Israel a few years ago as my husband walked around the Old City, we were amazed at how sad so many people appear. The weight of wounding has marked many Jewish faces with despondency. And I can’t blame them–considering the great persecution before, during, after the Holocaust that drove God’s chosen people to replant and rebuild in their homeland. They live with the real and imminent threat of terrorism hour by hour. They endure a constant foreshadowing of war from their surrounding neighbors, and they have few allies. On the streets, drivers blast their horns before the light changes, fuses are short, tempers are on the edge, and tension is sometimes so thick that a spark could ignite World War III.
And. Yet. Life. Goes. On. Jewish people are indomitable, yet marked with sadness because of the harrowing journey. It makes me sad too.
While walking the streets of Jerusalem, I sometimes remember the beautiful and poignant words from the poem penned by Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus.” The words became more poignant when I discovered the author was a Jewess.
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
That is exactly how the broken Jewish people came to the shores of Israel after World War II, and that is how thousands of Jews and others came to the USA at various times. It seems that many peoples globally have had various exodus and deliverance stories because of evil oppressors throughout history, and it is generous and loving that there have been safe havens for the “teeming masses yearning to breathe free.” These have been physical redemptions of life and liberty.
But there is a spiritual redemption for which all mankind yearns. I recently had a Jewish woman explain to me that “… although she hated all things Christian” she had been moved to tears at the words of a chorale from a Bach piece that she heard a performance in Israel recently. They went something like this, “The blood of Christ cleanses us and prepares us for death.” Sometimes the heart knows what the head rejects.
A wise Jewish king once said in the book of Proverbs that God has planted eternity in the heart of every man. It is a relationship with God and peace at the time of death that we all seek.
The ancient story of lamb’s blood upon the doorposts that kept the angel of death away from the Jewish people is relevant today and always. And because God saved them alive, they left the bondage of an old life as slaves and emerged as free men as they sought a new country.
For all who have ears to hear in this season of Passover preparation and it’s fulfillment, Resurrection Day:
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the whole world.”
In this instance, a “lamp has not been lifted beside a golden door,” rather a blood-stained death tree… and an empty tomb.
“Seek and you will find. Knock and it shall be opened.”
For more study…
Exodus 29:38-42, Isaiah 53, Revelation 5:6-14
Work it into daily life…
God cares about the bruised and neglected in this life. He offers light and grace to heal and start life afresh. Whatever hardship that has scarred you and endeavored to marginalize your life, there is a remedy in the form of God’s perfect Lamb, Jesus or Yeshua, slain, buried and risen for your healing and a fresh start. Receive this new life. If you are living in this victory, then share it freely. Lift the weight of someone’s sadness.
©Bonnie Saul Wilks