A few years ago we wanted to do something different for Easter, to make our students more aware of the Jewish roots of the Pesach or Passover fest. We decided to organize a ‘traditional’ Jewish Seder meal, also known as a Pesach or Passover meal, but with Jesus at the centre. You could call it a Messianic Seder Meal.
The Seder Meal is held on the Thursday before Easter and it’s a combination of a ritual meal with lots of rituals that have a deep symbolism and an actual meal with great (Jewish) food. It’s the famous ‘last supper’ Jesus celebrated with His students.
The Seder Meal and Passover Feast (the Passover comes from the tenth plague and the ‘passing over’ of the houses where blood was smeared on the doorframe, in all other houses the firstborns were killed) was instituted by God after the exodus out of Egypt and the Jewish people were told to celebrate it each year. It’s also known as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, because you’re not allowed to have any yeast in the meal and even in the house, to commemorate the hasty flight out of Egypt when the dough for bread didn’t have time to rise.
The symbolic Seder Meal has a lot of rituals, like the Seder plate, eating bitter herbs, drinking cups of wine (or grape juice) and much more. Each of these has a symbolism referring back to the time in Egypt, but there are also many foreshadowings of the redemptive work Jesus would do on the cross.
We had a great experience that evening with our high school and college students. They understood a lot more about the hardships in Egypt and the deeper meaning of the Jewish Pesach Feast. But they also celebrated Easter so much deeper that year. Especially the meaning of the four cups of wine (juice) and the emptying of the second cup because Jesus had drunk it completely for us already, impacted us all.
If you want to do something else with your students, if you want to go deep and authentic this Easter, I can recommend organizing a Seder Meal. It’s a bit of work and prep, but it’s well worth it.
I’ve written down the complete Haggadah (order of the evening) and an instruction guide adapted to doing this with a group of students, complete with the meaning of all the rituals, Scripture references, necessary recipes and tips for suitable worship songs. It’s available for $8 via Download Youth Ministry.