Pondering the Passover
Center for Judaic Studies hosts event on aspects of traditional Seder meal
From the opening prayer to final Shalom, the Center for Judaic Studies’ “Christ in Passover” presentation Monday, March 23 informed listeners about the traditions of the Jewish Passover holiday and how Christians can learn from them.
According to Executive Director of the Center for Judaic Studies Dr. Randall Price, the main goal of the Center for Judaic Studies is to “educate students and include them in … experiences that also educate them about the Jewish people and Israel, both ancient and modern.”
The Center for Judaic Studies was founded by President Jerry Falwell in May 2008, according to the Center for Judaic Studies website. Price said the center was founded so that students would understand the importance of Judaic studies.
“I want our students to always know that (Liberty) stands with Israel, why we stand with Israel, … how God has a purpose for the Jewish people and that that purpose is not yet finished,” Price said. “Learning about Judaic studies shows students how (they) can bless Israel, … first and foremost by telling them about their own Messiah.”
Price said the Center for Judaic Studies has hosted an annual talk on the traditions of the Jewish Passover meal, called Seder, since 2008. Price said it is important for Christians to learn about Passover and Jewish traditions because of the Jewish foundations of Christianity.
“Our Christian faith has Jewish roots,” Price said. “Jesus was Jewish, the disciples were Jewish, the apostles were Jewish and the Old and New Testaments were both products of the Jewish people. … (Even) the Passover was used by (Jesus) to communicate to us everything he was going to do for us at the last supper.”
This year, the center invited Stephen Katz to speak. Katz is a Messianic Jew who currently lives in Chicago and is the North American director of Jews For Jesus,
according to his biography on the Center for Judaic Studies’ website.
Katz opened the presentation with a prayer and proceeded to demonstrate and explain the meanings of the rituals Jews perform during the Passover meal. Additionally, Katz related many of the Jewish traditions to the Christian sacrament of communion and encouraged listeners to see the parallels of the Passover lamb and Jesus Christ.
“(The Passover) is an object lesson on the life and mission of the lamb who takes away the sin of the world,” Katz said.
Katz went through the names and meanings of the four cups of wine that are drunk throughout the dinner. According to Katz, these cups were called the “sanctification cup, plague cup, redemption cup and praise cup.” After the first two cups were presented, Katz opened up the floor for questions.
Katz answered questions ranging from how Christians can use knowledge of Jewish traditions to why certain customs are observed. Katz finished the talk with the last two cups and a prayer. To tie the talk together, Katz told listeners to remember Passover as the picture of one concept: “Redemption.”
Price echoed Katz’s beliefs about the meaning of Passover for Christians today.
“The whole message of the Passover is freedom,” Price said. “But not just freedom to do whatever you want but to do what you ought. That is freedom from sin. Jesus was the Passover lamb for us when he died on the cross and gave us the chance to be truly free.”
Price and Katz both noted that the start of Passover and Good Friday coincide on April 3 this year.
For more information about the Center for Judaic Studies, visit liberty.edu/judaicstudies.
STEPTOE is a news reporter.