A Messianic Jewish rabbi says many Christians don’t fully understand the connections between the Jewish observance of Passover and the Last Supper of Jesus and the Disciples — and he aims to illuminate those connections to a broad audience.
“The Last Supper was actually a Passover Seder,” Rabbi Jason Sobel, a bestselling author and broadcaster, said in a video interview from Los Angeles. “Every major event in the life of Jesus — Hebrew name Yeshua — happened on a biblical holiday. He died as the Passover lamb. He rose from the dead on the biblical holiday of First Fruits on the second day of Passover. And He poured out His Spirit on Pentecost, a biblical Jewish holiday [that is] the same day God gave the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai.”
Making the connections between the ancient Seder and the observance of Jesus before the crucifixion “helps us see what Jesus was doing in high definition, and it just takes on a new level of depth and meaning that usually is just so impactful for people,” Rabbi Sobel said.
One of those “impactful” elements is the three pieces of unleavened bread — matzos — which are contained in a “Matzo Tosh,” or bag, he said.
“The middle piece of matzo is taken, broken, buried, [and] brought back at the end,” he said, referring to the piece known as the afikoman, which is hidden for a period during the Seder and usually “found” by a child who participates.
The rabbi noted that matzos are baked with piercings and that the baking process produces “stripes” on the finished product, which he connects with the messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53:5, “By his stripes, we are healed.”
Messianic Jews retain a Jewish identity but affirm Jesus as the Messiah.
Rabbi Sobel will co-host “Jesus in the Passover” at 8 p.m. on Thursday on the TBN cable and satellite channel with Shawn Bolz, a Christian minister and broadcaster in Los Angeles.
The program will take viewers step-by-step through the traditional Passover Seder, a meal still observed by Jews in commemoration of the exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt, TBN said.
Rabbi Sobel said the program will take viewers “through all of the steps, the 15 steps of the Passover Seder. We will explain how these elements ultimately point to the Messiah.”
He said Christians observing a Passover ritual is “not appropriation” of the Jewish faith, but rather “it is participation in what Jesus and the Disciples did from the beginning.”
The rabbi also said he believes the symbolism of Egypt — where the Hebrews were held captive for hundreds of years — is reflected in the human captivity to sin from which Christ offers liberation.
“Egypt is not just a place it is a state [of mind],” Rabbi Sobel said. “All of us have areas in our lives where there is restriction, where there is confinement, there are things that we need freedom from, that we struggle with. And Passover is declaring, God is as powerful today to, to free you and to deliver you and to transform your life.”