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Congregations Learn About the Passover Message

posted on May 10, 2013, under Church by

by Jeff Zaremsky, Frank Cohen

Spring signals a rebirth as dormant flowers push their colorful heads towards the sun. The fields are dotted with new baby lambs, calves, and colts. All of God’s creation celebrates the season.

In the Jewish community, spring brings the observance of the Passover to celebrate the deliverance of the Jewish people from slavery. Two Adventist Messianic congregations in New Port Richey and St. Petersburg, under the direction of Pastor Jeff Zaremsky, held Passover services, and Palm Harbor Company held a spring communion with  a Christ In the Passover celebration led by member Frank Cohen.

Beth-El Shalom of St. Petersburg
Pastor Zaremsky shares: First, there is a matzah tosh (a matzah bag) that has three pieces of matzah (brittle flat bread eaten at Passover) in three different compartments.

The middle piece of matzah is taken out and broken in two. One piece is placed back in the matzah tosh with the other two pieces. The other piece is wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden away during the Passover. The piece in the linen cloth is called the afikoman.

After the meal, the children go and look for the afikoman. The “father” redeems it by giving a gift to the child who finds the afikoman. (In our synagogue, we have enough for all the kids to find one.)

The afikoman is then eaten by the family, and the children enjoy their gifts.

In review, the afikoman is one of the three in the matzah tosh. Part of it stays with the other two. Part of it is broken, wrapped in linen, and hidden away. Like all matzah, it is pierced, has stripes on it, and has bruise-like marks on it. It is found and brought back to the father for a redemption price.

Messiah was one with the Father and Holy Spirit. He remained fully God, but He also left heaven and became fully man. He was pierced in His hands and feet. He was bruised for our iniquities, and by His stripes we are healed. His heart was broken for us. He was taken and wrapped in a linen cloth and hidden away. He was found and brought back to the Father for the redemption price.

During Y’shua’s last Passover, He held up a piece of matzah and said, “This is my body which is broken for you, take eat all of you.”

Beth-El Shalom of New Port Richey

In the background is a representation of the Western Wall that was recently constructed at the New Port Richey Synagogue. The husband of a woman who attends is a stone mason and volunteered to do the work. Another person donated funds for the stones of this prayer wall.

Palm Harbor Company
Palm Harbor members prepared for their spring communion service with a Christ In the Passover celebration. Led by Frank Cohen, an elder, the evening focused on the Passover Seder and how Christ is found in the center of all traditions. Fifty friends and members attended as Cohen led them through the 15 steps most commonly found in modern Passover celebrations.

He explained how Y’shua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ the Messiah) is exemplified in many steps of the Seder, particularly with the breaking of the middle matzah called the afikoman. Cohen explained how families in the traditional Jewish home miss the significance of how Y’shua plays the central role in that He is represented by the middle piece of the matzah (the afikoman), and the three together represent the unity of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Cohen led attendees through the traditions surrounding the bitter herbs which represents the bitterness experienced by the enslaved nation of Israel, and the maror, a mixture of nuts, honey, and dates that represented both the clay that was used in making the bricks and the sweetness of freedom from slavery.

Having been raised Jewish, Cohen was able to conduct the Passover Seder in both Hebrew and English. The service concluded with the song Dayenu (It Would Have Been Enough) and a closing prayer. This Friday night service continued the following morning with a communion service.

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