In my preparation for Sunday's message I did a more thorough study of the Passover in the Old Testament. One thing that I had not remembered is that even to this day when the Passover is observed there are four cups that are used not just the one that we would use for the Lord's Supper. The Jewish tradition even to this day is significant to the understanding of Jesus observing the Passover with His Disciples in Matthew 26:17-30. I have outlined the basic structure of the Passover as it is observed today.
On the first night of Passover (first two nights in communities outside Israel), a Jew is required to recount the story of the Exodus from Egypt. This commandment is performed during the Passover seder.
There is a Rabbinic requirement that four cups of wine are to be drunk during the seder meal. This applies to both men and women. The Mishnah says (Pes. 10:1) that even the poorest man in Israel has an obligation to drink. Each cup is connected to a different part of the seder: the first cup is for Kiddush, the second cup is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the drinking of the third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.
Children have a very important role in the Passover seder. Traditionally the youngest child is prompted to ask questions about the Passover seder, beginning with the words, Mah Nishtana HaLeila HaZeh (Why is this night different from all other nights?). The questions encourage the gathering to discuss the significance of the symbols in the meal. The questions asked by the child are:
Why is this night different from all other nights?On all other nights, we eat either unleavened or leavened bread, but tonight we eat only unleavened bread?On all other nights, we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight, we eat only bitter herbs?On all other nights, we do not dip [our food] even once, but tonight we dip twice?On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we only recline?Often the leader of the seder and the other adults at the meal will use prompted responses from the Haggadah, which states, “The more one talks about the Exodus from Egypt, the more praiseworthy he is.” Many readings, prayers, and stories are used to recount the story of the Exodus. Many households add their own commentary and interpretation and often the story of the Jews is related to the theme of liberation and its implications worldwide.
What was of the most interest to me was the connection With Exodus 6:6-8,
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: “I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Exodus 6:7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Exodus 6:8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’ ”
As Jesus observed the Passover with His Disciples, there was something different, Jesus would introduce a new covenant. The covenant of redemption made possible by the giving of His body to be beaten and broken and the shedding of His blood. But, what really stood out to me was that Jesus did not drink from the fourth cup, the cup that would represent God's people being brought into the land of promise. Jesus would reserve the drinking of that cup when we sit down with Him in heaven at His banquet table.
“And in this mountain The LORD of hosts will make for all people A feast of choice pieces, A feast of wines on the lees, Of fat things full of marrow, Of well-refined wines on the lees. Isaiah 25:7 And He will destroy on this mountain The surface of the covering cast over all people, And the veil that is spread over all nations. Isaiah 25:8 He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:9 And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”” (Isaiah 25:6–9 NKJV)