This Easter has been a special time for us as a family. For the first time ever, we spent Passover with some Jewish friends. This coincided with the fact that our Easter publication was about a Jewish man named Simon Bloomberg, who helped displaced persons after WWII. Therefore, armed with the knowledge that we serve a Jewish Messiah – Jesus, I was predicting that this Easter time was going to be a true Messianic experience for sure.
As the guests arrived I was aware that I was the only gentile in the room. My husband was born and raised as Jewish so he knew exactly what to do! However, I was soon grafted into the evening and made to feel very comfortable. As our host pointed out it was a special Passover because it was also the Shabbat. There’s that word again – special! Their beautiful daughter covered her eyes and spoke a prayer in Hebrew, lighting the candles. The scene was set for a very spiritual celebration. As each person read from the book, I fudged my way through, but hey I participated, and everyone loved it – including me!
Now, even though the emphasis was on Moses and the exodus of his people out of the land of Egypt, I couldn’t help but feel emotional as I thought of man’s own bondage and how he yearns for deliverance on a daily basis. I could not help but think of Jesus, our Messianic Messiah. He who just over 2000 years ago had become the Passover Lamb. Translating us from slaves of this world to a life eternal in Him – a life filled with joy, hope and abundance.
The Passover Cup
During the Passover seder, or ceremony there are traditionally four cups of wine:
In the New Testament – Luke 22 Jesus sends Peter and John out to go and make preparations for the Passover. He gives them exact instructions and a location. During Passover, Jesus mentions two of the cups that He drinks from. The Second Ceremonial Cup – Jesus gives thanks and states that He will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes. He then takes the bread, gives thanks and breaks it declaring it is His body broken for you.
Hopefully the following ‘cup order’ will help you to understand a little more and will enable you to see that Jesus didn’t just drink randomly from any cup and make His statement – there was an order and deeply spiritual meaning to all that He did and said:
Cup 1 – The Kiddush – prayer of sanctification.
Cup 2 – The Second Cup. The wine is poured but not yet consumed the blessing is said – “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.”
In Luke 22:17 and 18 Jesus says: “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
Breaking of Bread: It is during this time the second hand-washing occurs and two of the three unleavened bread are served. Prayers are said over the bread. Jesus breaks the bread prior to drinking the second cup of wine.
It is at this time Jesus says, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
Cup 3 – Prayer and consumption of meal followed by drinking of the Third Cup – “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with your commandments, and commanded us to eat unleavened bread.”
Cup 4 – Poured and blessed by all, the Fourth Cup – “Then I will take you as My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
Luke 22:20 tells us “In the same way, after the supper He took the cup, saying, this cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is poured out for you.”
However, on that special Passover over 2000 years ago, another cup is mentioned. It was a cup that no man could drink from only the Messiah.
Following Passover Jesus and His disciples ascended to the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. Remember Jesus had just partaken in Passover. He had drunk of the wine – four times and declared a New Covenant and foretold of the suffering yet to come.
He is distressed, and sweats drops of blood in the Garden. Then He utters these words: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
As you partake in communion in your church or home, as you are breaking bread, remember Jesus as He asked. Remember the cup He had to drink from and give thanks that we are truly and completely redeemed, free from bondage…forever.
This article was written by Karin McBride-Chenoweth, an award-winning writer, editor and publisher of Christian and secular works in Europe and the USA. Originally from Northern Ireland, Karin now lives in the USA.