We celebrate Passover this year on Saturday, April 2, by first sweeping away any spiritual leaven from our lives, and then reading through the Haggadah and to experience the seder meal with an explanation of the Passover elements, and how each points to the Messiah – Jesus.
Notes on Passover
Then, on Sunday, we will celebrate Jesus’ resurrection by reading the Passover homily by Melito of Sardis, dating from around 150-190 A.D.
Read Melito of Sardis’ Passover Homily “On Pascha”
The Ten Plagues in Exodus 7:14-12:36 were each directed at “disenchanting” the gods that the Egyptians worshipped. They would also help get Israel ready to leave Egypt. But the plagues are also described as being on Pharaoh’s “heart.” So they should also reveal any idolatry in our own hearts before we observe our Passover seder.
Notes on the Plagues
The Jews were commanded to rid their homes of anything leavened before Passover, and eat only unleavened bread during Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Jesus expounded on the meaning of this symbol: “…beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6) “… and of Herod” (Mark 8:15). The pre-Passover elimination of leaven shows the importance of sweeping out from our lives anything that “puffs us up” in these different ways.
Notes on the Search for Leaven and the Meaning of the Afikomen
Observed a month before Passover, the focus of Purim is simply reading the Book of Esther. This feast is probably the original “morality play” with audience participation. A mysterious part of the Purim feast is the rabbinical command to drink enough wine so that you can’t distinguish between “Yay Mordechai!” and “Boo Haman!” – and the fact that God is never mentioned.
Notes on Purim
… Even More Notes on Purim
The Connection Between Purim and Yom Kippur
Jonathan promises to find out Saul’s true feelings toward David. He tells David to stay hidden in a field. To keep their meeting secret, he will shoot arrows to communicate – if the arrow falls beyond where David is hiding, it means he must flee. Sure enough, Saul again calls for David’s death at a feast, and then even throws a javelin at Jonathan. David is now truly a hunted man.
Notes in 1 Samuel 20:1-42
King Saul publicly calls for David’s death. Jonathan warns him to flee, and Michal deceives her father to allow David to escape. But in pursuit, first Saul’s messengers and then Saul himself are stopped and overcome by the Holy Spirit, and they prophesy. David’s inner feelings about this incident are reflected in Psalm 59.
Notes on 1 Samuel 19:1-24
Influenced by an evil spirit of melancholy, King Saul grows increasingly suspicious of David, as David’s popularity grows. Finally Saul plots to have David killed.
Notes on 1 Samuel 18:1-30