Not Who We Were Expecting

“Rejoice greatly O daughter of Zion, Shout O daughter of Jerusalem, Behold , the King cometh unto thee,  He is triumphant , and victorious, Lowly, and riding upon an ass, Even upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Zechariah 9:9

This is a prophecy that foretold when Jesus would be coming into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The people laid down palm branches along the road. People in the crowd ask, “Who is this?” Others would respond, “This is the Prophet Yeshua, from Nazaret in the Galilee.” They were shouting “Hoshia-na to Ben-David! Baruach ha ba b’shem Adonai! Hoshia-na in the highest!” This word, hoshia-na, is a shout of praise but actually means “save” or “help.” Isn’t it interesting that on Palm Sunday they’re yelling “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” and 5 days later yelling, “Crucify him, crucify him”?

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. Clear ye in the wilderness the way of the Lord, Make straight in the desert a  highway for our God.” Psalm 118 

The first century Jews were expecting a Conquering King; one who would overthrow the Roman government and would restore all of Israel. But that is not who Jesus was at this time. For Jesus came as the Son of Man, meaning Son of humanity. Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. Many Jews were looking for the promised Messiah to come out of David’s lineage and be just like King David, for David was both warrior and king. Some others were looking for the Promised Messiah to come from the Tribe of Levi, for they were a priestly tribe that served God in the temple.

But who is our promised Messiah? Well, he is Melchizedek. What does his name mean? His name means King of Shalom, meaning King of Peace. He’s the King of Righteousness.  He is Cohen Gadol (or High Priest), God Most High. He is sinless and exalted above the Heavens. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, he is Jesus our promised Messiah. He came to serve, not to be served. He was on a mission from God to bring man back to himself.

For He who knew no sin became sin that through Him we might become the righteousness of God. Through one sacrifice, once and for all, He accomplished this on the cross.

So who do you say he is? I say he is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He is the suffering servant Isaiah prophesied about in Isaiah 49.

Let us give thanks to the Lord for providing us with Jesus the Suffering Servant. For it is by His stripes that we are healed. For without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

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Messianic Jewish Holy Days

There are several holy days, feasts and festivals we celebrate throughout the year. Christians should observe these holidays not only because it is commanded in the Bible, but Jesus himself kept them. We can see Jesus Messiah throughout all of these holy days.

 

Shabbat – Sabbath

The Sabbath is a weekly day of rest that was instituted by God himself. Too many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and forget to take a day to recharge. I know for myself when life gets too busy, I find it hard to sit down and rest like I know I need to. Yet God Himself rested on the seventh day, and so should I.

Pesach – Passover

Passover is celebrated with a dinner, called a seder. It is a time to remember that the Hebrews were slaves unto Pharaoh, but it was by the hand of God that they were delivered. God commanded them to take a perfect lamb and sacrifice it and apply its blood to the top and sideposts of the door. It was then roasted and eaten. When the angel of death passed over, they were spared. Today we remember this deliverance, and recognize that God provided Jesus as the Lamb to forgive and remove our sins.

Hag HaMatzot – Unleavened Bread

The Children of Israel were released from slavery in Egypt, but they left in great haste. They left so quickly that the dough for their bread did not get a chance to rise. Tradition says that the hot desert sun baked the bread while they were travelling. To celebrate this, we are to eat nothing made with leaven, or yeast, for seven days. They were even to go through their houses and remove everything that had leaven in it. In the Bible, leaven is to be considered sin. We see this as an analogy to remove sin from our lives.

Yom HaBikkurum – Firstfruits

Firstfruits is the first day of the spring harvest. The Hebrews would go into the field, and lift their harvest of grain up, praising God for his provision. It is said that this is the day that Christ rose from the dead. In the same way that they lifted up their harvest unto God, Jesus was lifted up for the whole world to see.

Shavout – Weeks/Pentecost

The Feast of Weeks is a later harvest, 50 days after Passover. This is also the time when God sent the Holy Spirit, and people were speaking in tongues and had flames over their heads. Three thousand people believed and were baptized.

Yom Teruah – Rosh Hashanah

This is the Jewish New Year. It commemorates the creation of the world, and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, which is a 10-day period of introspection and repentance. Honey-dipped apples and other sweet foods are eaten to “usher in a sweet new year.” During the 10 Days of Awe, we are to acknowledge our sin, turn back to God, and demonstrate acts of kindness towards others.

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur is a day of affliciton. The Hebrews were to fast from eating and anything that brings them pleasure to humble themselves. If you have an issue with your brother, this is the day to make it right by the end of the night. The Jews do these good works to ensure their names are written in God’s Book of Life for another year. For Christians, we realize that our names are written in the Book through the blood of Jesus.

Sukkot – Tabernacles/Booths

During their wandering in the wilderness, the Hebrews dwelled in temporary houses or booths. No wear came to their clothes or shoes the entire 40 years in the desert. They were provided with food and water every day. Today, we build a 3-sided building which we are supposed to live in for a week to remember how the Children of Israel lived. Christians remember that Jesus “tabernacled” among us, leaving his home in Heaven to live as a man.

Hanukkah – Lights

During the time in Jewish history where the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Antiochus, the Macabees tried to restore the temple. They found enough oil to light the menorah for one day, but it miraculously lasted 8 days. The Hanukkah menorah has a center candle that sits higher than the others, called the servant candle, which is used to light the eight other candles. Jesus came to earth as a servant, and He is the light of the world.

Purim – Lots

Purim comes from the story of Esther, the redeemer of her people from Haman’s plot to wipe them out. It is customary to send gifts of food to your friends, and for children to dress up in costume. Many churches have a Purim play, where they act out the story from the book of Esther.

What is a Seder Plate?

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The seder plate holds all of the elements included in the Passover. There is usually six different sections for each of the elements:

Karpas – Greens

This is the section for the parsley which will be dipped in salt water. The salted parsley represents the tears of the Children of Israel who were slaves in Egypt.

Beitzah – Egg

This is a roasted egg, which is a symbol of the daily sacrifices that took place in the temple which no longer stands. There are no animal sacrifices that can be performed to this day that can make any of us righteous before a Holy God. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice.

Maror – Bitter Herb

This is ground horseradish, and just enough is eaten to bring a tear to the eye. The Hebrews could not appreciate true redemption until they first realized the bitterness of being slaves under Pharaoh. We were once slaves to sin, but now we experience true redemption through the blood of Christ.

Charoset – Apple Mixture

A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, grape juice, honey and cinnamon. This is symbolic of the mortar used to build the bricks in Egypt. Even in times of trouble and bitterness, we can draw closer to Jesus Messiah and experience the sweetness of His salvation.

Chazaret – Romaine Lettuce

This is not eaten, but is another symbol of the bitterness of slavery.

Zeroa – Shankbone

The seder plate includes a bare roasted shankbone of a lamb. In Exodus 12, the firstborn of every household were spared from the tenth plague by applying the blood of the lamb on the door frame of their home. Today, if we apply the blood of Jesus to our hearts, we are assured that we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb who takes away our sins and gives us new life.