Music filled the air as hundreds of students, families and faculty filed into DeMoss Hall 1114 for the Messiah in the Passover event March 17. The Center for Judaic Studies hosted the event, which was presented by President of Chosen People Ministries Dr. Mitch Glaser.
According to Director of Judaic Studies Dr. Randall Price, the Passover has been celebrated in unbroken tradition for more than 3,500 years to remember God’s deliverance through the Exodus, and a traditional meal takes approximately four hours. He explained that this meal also symbolizes salvation through Christ as supported by 1 Corinthians 5:7: “ Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.”
“The Passover was a picture of salvation in Jesus Christ,” Price said. “He has been and is our Passover. This celebration is open to Christians as well as Jewish people.”
Though Passover will be celebrated in April, Glaser demonstrated the order of the “Seder,” which literally means order, for students and members of the local community who attended.
His educational presentation included Jewish history and cultural insights, brief Hebrew lessons to engage audience members and the testimony of how he came to know Christ in light of the Jewish roots of Christianity.
“Jesus lived a Jewish life and celebrated Jewish holidays, but most of the Jewish people you meet have never heard this,” Glaser said. “They think that Jesus is the god of the Gentiles and that communion is a Christian ritual and have no idea that (communion) is attached to the Passover,” Glaser said.
According to Glaser, when he learned about the Jewish history of Christianity, his perspective changed radically. With this in mind, he emphasized that Christians should share the gospel with Jews in a manner that is both loving and patient.
Liberty student Lindsay Psolka said she attended this event to learn more about Jewish culture and walked away with a greater understanding of the celebration of Passover as it relates to Christianity.
“I loved how the speaker reminded us of the hope we now have in Christ through the Passover meal,” Psolka said. “It was a beautiful truth to be reminded that Jesus has purified us, and we can now rejoice that he has accomplished what he promised.”
According to Psolka, Glaser’s presentation was insightful, and she was grateful for the opportunity to participate in this unique demonstration.
Price said that the Center for Judaic Studies hopes to hold The Messiah in the Passover event annually in an effort to educate and enlighten students who are unfamiliar with Jewish culture. The department also features an exhibit that is an authentic display of the room where Jesus and his disciples celebrated the Last Supper.
“The Center for Judaic Studies tries to communicate to the Liberty community that we as Christians owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. We have an obligation to understand and reach out to the Jewish community to help them also understand the Messiah,” Price said.
According to Price, Students interested in learning more about the Jewish roots of Christianity should consider taking the Jewish Studies courses that he teaches, or enroll in a minor or concentration in Jewish Studies offered through the Liberty University School of Religion, the Helms School of Government and the Department of History.
For more information about the Center for Judaic Studies, its academic programs and future events, visit liberty.edu/judaicstudies.