First Baptist Church to hold Passover dinner April 13

Marlys Good

The First Baptist Church in Greybull will be holding a Passover (Seder) Dinner on Tuesday, April 13 from 5:30-8 p.m.    Henry and Darlene Matarrita will be serving the meal.  If you would like to attend the service/meal an RSVP must be sent to the Baptist Church at 765-2640 by Saturday, April 10. 

Henry and Darlene are evangelists and founders of World Mission Outreach.  Matarrita received his bachelor’s degree in theology from Moody Bible Institute where he was mentored by Dr. Louis Goldberg, professor of Jewish Studies. He participated in summer outreaches in Israel with Dr. Goldberg. He is currently on a doctoral program in Jewish studies from Jerusalem.

The Seder plate is at the center of the table and contains Passover foods with particular significance to the exodus story including matzo, bitter herbs and lamb. Matarrita will explain the significance of each food.

Passover (Pesach) commemorates the liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt. It begins on day 15 of the Hebrew month of Nissan (March or April) and continues for eight days.

 A seder (feast) is held on the first two nights and sometimes on the final two nights of the holiday. No leavened food (e.g. bread, cake) or anything containing wheat is eaten during Passover. During the last two days of Passover, no work is permitted.  All leavened food products (known as chametz) are removed from the home before the holiday begins and  abstained from throughout the duration. 

According to the Hebrew Bible, Jewish settlement in ancient  Egypt first occurs when Joseph, a son of the patriarch Jacob and founder of one of the 12 tribes of Israel, moves his family there during a severe famine in their homeland of Canaan.

For many years the Israelites live in harmony in the province of Goshen, but as their population grows, the Egyptians begin to see them as a threat. After the death of Joseph and his brothers, the story goes, a particularly hostile pharaoh orders their enslavement and the systematic drowning of their firstborn sons in the Nile River. (The Passover Story)

When Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt, the Torah account reads: “ God, Blessed be He, explained to Moses how Passover (Pesach) would unfold it states:

“For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals, and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am Adonai. The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you – when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you (Exodus 12: 12-13.)”

In the first Passover, death hung over every household in Egypt. Over every Hebrew house as well as all Egyptian houses. But the blood of the Passover lamb, painted on the doorposts, would cause death to pass over.

In the same way the Passover lamb died on behalf of any Hebrew who put its blood on his doorway, Jesus was understood to have died on our behalf. Thus not only is there a direct link by calendar date between Passover and Jesus, the meaning of the respective deaths were the same.

In the same way that the Passover lamb died on behalf of any Hebrew who put its blood on his doorway, Jesus died on our behalf.  Not only is there a direct link by calendar date between Passover and Jesus, but the meaning of the respective deaths was the same. For this reason one of the titles given to Jesus was:

“The next day John saw Jesus coming (John the Baptist) toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world…’” — John 1:29. 

Jesus was designated as the pashal lamb of G-d. So it makes sense that Christians see the Jewish roots of their faith and want to participate in the celebration of Passover. (Passover, Jesus – and Jewishness questions Shalom)