Christ is the Passover

Christ is the Passover

Matthew 21:1-5

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethpage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.  (4)This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet (Zechariah (9:9), saying.  (5)”Say to the daughter of Zion, behold, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

  1. My Story
  2. Barbecue at the Petersons
  3. Brand Ambassador
  4. Passover
    1. The cup of Redemption
    2. The cup of Praise


Good morning River Ridge Church.  I can’t begin to tell you what an honor it is to be before you, my church family this morning, and thank you Pastor Kerry for this opportunity.  Most important, thank you Lord Jesus for using me to do your will. Let’s pray…

Opening Prayer

Heavenly father, thank you for blessing us with River Ridge Church, and while we thank you for this auditorium at Wilmot H.S., we know our church is made up of the brothers and sisters gathered here to Worship You.  Lord thank you for choosing me, even before I ever thought about a relationship with you and today Lord, thank you for using me to bring Your message to Your Church.  I pray that no matter where everyone here today is in their walk with you that this message will draw them even closer and BRING GLORY TO YOU. In His precious name, Amen.

My Story

I recently retired from a 25 year career as a public speaker, motivational speaker, corporate spokesperson working with some of the largest corporations in the world.  Companies like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Mercedes Benz to name a few.

The company I worked provided marketing technology to the Automotive Industry.  I would travel across the company speaking before audiences large and small showing them how to use this new technology to build market share, bring more consumers to their products by communicating their brand’s VALUE PROPOSITION to a new type of consumer with new expectations and a new way of shopping for automobiles using the internet.

Barbecue at the Petersons (Kerry, what’s next?)

Resume headline BRAND AMBASSADOR

Well, here I am today, A “Brand Ambassador” for the most important value proposition ever…A loving, personal and saving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ!  AMEN!!!

Before we get started many of you may recall about 6 years ago on Easter Sunday when I stood before you and shared my testimony about accepting our Lord as my savior a few months earlier.  I shared my journey of how as a Jewish man, who knew and celebrated the traditions of Jewish life since a child, I never had a personal loving relationship with God. But He and many many others never gave up on me.  Standing before you today is further testimony to that journey.


So on this Palm Sunday morning when we remember our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, let’s read

Matthew 21:1-5

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethpage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.  (4)This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet (Zechariah (9:9), saying.  (5)”Say to the daughter of Zion, behold, your king is coming to you, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.”

I still find this amazing how this refers to the old testament verse in Zechariah (9:9) where our Lord’s triumphant entry was foretold some 500 years earlier; and while there are literally hundreds of other prophecies in the old testament that address our Messiah, Lord Jesus, in the context of todays message, “Christ in the Passover” this particular verse is most relevant.

You see, while none of the thousands of people who had come to Jerusalem to celebrate The Passover knew what lay ahead at the end of the week, He (Jesus) did! He was about to fulfill the greatest prophecy of all time. His arrival, His death on the cross and most important the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ one week later on Easter Sunday which we will celebrate here together next week.  Now keep in mind that Jesus and the other Christians of the time DID NOT CELEBRATE EASTER, He was in Jerusalem to join his Disciples in a celebration of Passover at a traditional Passover dinner called a SEDER.   So perhaps a better name for today’s message would be “Christ at the Passover!”  Well, what I want to share with you today is that “Christ IS the Passover!” and what that means to all of us today, believers and non-believers alike.

As a child I gathered with my family every year at the Passover Seder as my Grandfather would read from the Haggadah (show).  This the story of Passover and the traditional steps in its celebration.  The word “Haggadah” itself means “to tell” and therein lies the problem or should I say opportunity.  Just like I did for most of my life, next week Jews from around the world will gather to “tell” the story of Passover.  The difference for me now and other Jewish believers in our Lord Jesus Christ is we can do more than “tell” the story, we now “live” the story of Passover as a celebration of the glory and grace of our Lord even before he ever appeared in this world.


While many of you know the story of Passover and how Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt to the Land God promised to Abraham in the Old Testament, let me read from

 Exodus 12:7-8, 12-14

(7) Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  (8) They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.

Now before I read verse 12-13, would all of you please do me a favor?  No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, a seasoned believer, questioning or even doubting your relationship with God, a new believer, or maybe you are not yet ready to accept Jesus as your Savior, River Ridge Church is a welcoming church and you have heard Kerry say many times that no matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, we welcome you and we want to help you grow.  So for now would you all close your eyes and put yourself in the place of a Jewish person enslaved in Egypt whose God is about to set you free from bondage, or perhaps, you will place your yourself in the place of an Egyptian who does not believe…Go ahead, close your eyes, and as I read these verses try to imagine how you would be feeling at this amazing moment from the Old Testament…

(12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgements: I am the Lord.  (13) The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are.  And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.

You may open your eyes…

A few weeks back some of you may remember Pastor Kerry’s sermon from Hebrews 11 about Moses and his faith during this time.  Kerry spoke about what it might be like to be an Egyptian at this time.  God had just brought upon Egypt a terrible time of plagues and famine because Pharaoh would not set the Jewish people free.  During the Seder meal this was always a favorite part of mine as my Grandfather would recite the plagues.  We would all follow along by taking a drop of wine from a wine glass with our finger and placing it on our plate. Of course we kids would just lick it from our fingers.  He would recite:

Ts-far-dei’a (frogs)                 Arbeh (locusts)

Dahm (blood)                          Barad (hail)

Kinim (vermin)                       Choshech (darkness)

Arov (flies)                              Makat B’cho-rot (slaying of the first born)

Devir (pestilence)

Sh’chin (boils)

Now put yourself in an Egyptians shoes (or should I say sandals) at that time.  You experienced all of these hardships and now you see the Jews putting the blood of a sacrificed perfect unblemished lamb on their doorposts.  Would that be enough for you?  While it may not have convinced Pharaoh, you decide to believe in the God of the Jews and put the blood on your doorpost.  Would you be spared?  Would you be saved? I don’t know the answer to that and have heard it scholarly discussed from both sides.  But what I do know is that as believers in Christ today we no longer have to wonder.  Because God sacrificed his only son as the pure unblemished lamb on the cross at Cavalry and He shed HIS blood to wash away our sins and bring us to a personal relationship with HIM, his Holy spirit indwelling in us and WE ARE SAVED!  Can you say AMEN!


There’s a Pharisee mentioned in Acts 5, Rabbi Gamaliel, who actually saved the lives of John and Peter when they were on trial for preaching the name of Jesus.

Acts 5:34-35, 40

(34) But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while.  (35) And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care of what you are about to do to these men.

(40) And when they called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

This same Rabbi Gamaliel is believed to have said “He who does not speak forth these essentials of the Passover Seder has not discharged his duty.”

I want to look at the first two of these essentials together and see our Lord Jesus’ presence in all of them.  (Think about this, the very same Rabbi who saved the lives of John and Peter is telling his followers to celebrate our Lord in the Passover seder!)

The first is called “Pesach”, the Passover Lamb.  At the Seder, my grandfather would take the lamb bone from the Seder plate, lift it up and say; (In Hebrew of course, so most of us didn’t even understand) “The Passover lamb was without spot or blemish.  It was sacrificed and its blood put on the doorposts of the house.  God promised, ‘When I see the blood, I will Passover you.”

Just as the lamb was unblemished, Jesus (Yeshua) was without sin.  He was sacrificed as our atonement just as the prophets foretold.

Isaiah 53:7,8

(7) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before it’s shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.  (8) …for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

Church family, when we apply His blood by faith to our hearts, God promises to pass over our sins and He does not condemn us for them.  For the same reason, when John saw Jesus walking by the Jordan river he said…

John 1:29

…Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.

…..And as we celebrate the Passover let us remember from…

1 Corinthians (5:7)

…Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us.


Next let’s talk about the Matzoh, or unleavened bread.  What is its significance in the Passover.  What’s its importance to us as followers of Jesus?

Exodus 12:39

And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait…

The Matzoh is unleavened, striped and pierced, so it reminds of Jesus.  Just as the Matzoh is without leaven, So Jesus was with without sin.  As the Matzoh is striped, so Jesus was striped with a Roman whip. As the Matzoh was pierced, so Jesus was pierced by the Roman nails and a Roman spear. As Isaiah the prophet foretold:

Isaiah 5:39

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.

Of course, we are all familiar with the role of the bread from the Last Supper (Passover) in the communion service we celebrate as Christians.

After their meal Jesus gave His followers Matzoh as the symbol of His body. Remember the Matzoh is unleavened, striped and pierced.

Luke 22:29

“And He (Jesus) took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.’”

One of my favorite memories as a child at the Passover Seder was the breaking and hiding of the “Afikomen.”   The Afikomen was a piece of “special” matzoh taken from the plate.  My grandfather would break a piece off, wrap it in a special cloth and when no one was looking he would hide it somewhere.  All the children would look for it and a prize was given to whoever found it.  Then we would all share in a piece of it.  The literal meaning of the word ‘Afikomen’ is “I have come.”  How fitting a symbol for the Messiah Jesus who gave His life, whose body was wrapped in linen, buried and raised on the third day.

Like the Bread of our Communion service, Wine is also an essential part of the Passover Seder.  As an adult it quickly became my favorite part!  Especially since we drank 4 cups of it during a tradition Seder meal.

One is called “The Cup of Redemption.”  This cup represents the redemption from Egypt, reminding us that our freedom was bought with the price of blood, that of the Passover Lamb.  Jesus used this cup after the meal to represent the New Covenant foretold in Jeremiah 31:34 which promised our redemption from sin…

Jeremiah 32:34

“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord.  For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Yes!, the blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb, purchased our forgiveness and freedom from sin.  Our Messiah came, He died, shedding His blood, even as the Passover Lamb of old, and then was raised from the dead. Now all who will believe in Him will have redemption from sin.  When Jesus led the Seder the night before His death, He took the Cup of redemption and said Luke 22:20 , “This is the New Covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

The last cup is called “The Cup of Praise.”  At the last Seder, Jesus left this cup standing.  Jesus said of this cup Matthew 26;29-30, “I tell you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now until the day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

Jesus left the cup standing, as he looked forward to His resurrection and return.  He promised he would drink it with all of us at the great Messianic banquet in the Kingdom.  At the Seder today we Messianic Jews leave this cup standing also, as we anticipate Jesus’ return and establishment of His Kingdom.  Then we will drink it together with Him!  Amen!


I wanted to share with you this morning that Passover is much more than the story of how the Jewish people were freed from their bondage and left Egypt in the great Exodus.  It is the story of our Lamb, Jesus Christ who freed us from sin, whose spirit indwells in us and who gives us not the hope, but the promise of eternal life.  Though an old testament story, it proves that the bible is one story, Gods spoken word, old and new testament alike.  How else could all of the prophecies spoken by the prophets like Isiah and Jeremiah foretold in the Old testament be fulfilled in the New?

Which brings me to real reason I wanted to share this story with you today.  For most of my life I celebrated the Passover Seder with my family as part of a tradition.  I told these same stories to my children, but they were empty and they were finished after that last cup of wine was drank.  Then as I shared with you earlier, 6 years ago, I asked our Lord Jesus Christ to come in to my life and be my Savior and I have had a personal relationship with him ever since.  That following Passover when I sat down with my family to celebrate The Passover, we celebrated Jesus Christ as THE PASSOVER and it took on a new meaning, that Haggadah was not just a story to be told but a loving relationship with God to be lived.

Now I don’t know if there are any Jewish men or women with us today on Palm Sunday, but if you are I would love for you to come up and introduce yourself to me after our service.  But today’s message about Christ in The Passover is for everyone of you here today no matter where you are in your spiritual journey.

Earlier I asked all of you to close your eyes for a moment and place yourself in the shoes/sandals of an Egyptian when they were told about the angel of death passing over their land.  I thank you for that, and I hope you thought about that through the rest of my message today.  I would like to close us in prayer and if you don’t mind would you close your eyes again, bow your heads and let’s go to the Lord together.  And you know what, if there’s anyone here today who’s just not in a place to bow their head in prayer, that’s OK, just listen to my words and  I thank you for doing that this morning and maybe just maybe God will speak to you too.  Let’s pray.

Heavenly Father, we love you and we thank you for giving us your precious Son as our perfect unblemished Passover lamb who sacrificed his life and shed His blood, so like the Jewish people in Egypt who were freed from the bonds of slavery when the angel of death passed over their homes seeing the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, we are forever freed from the bondage of sin by the blood your Son Jesus Christ shed on the cross for us.  And father thank you for River Ridge Church and all the wonderful people who have joined us here today to remember as foretold by the prophets in the Old Testament your triumphal entry in to the city Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  Lord, I also thank you for blessing me with the privilege of delivering this important message to our Church family this morning.

And Father while I do not know where each man and woman here today are in their relationship with you, I know you do and I pray that they would hear your word and feel your love and open their hearts and minds to a closer relationship with you.

Please keep your heads bowed for a moment longer…

Perhaps some of you here this morning have been wondering about your relationship with God.  Perhaps some of you are wondering what that really means.  Well it means believing, it means having faith, it means longing to feel fulfilled and surrendering to a God who loves you and will change your life forever just as he changed mine some 6 years ago.  If that feels like you, would you please say these words with me silently in your heart.  When you do, He will hear you and free you from whatever bonds are holding you, just as he freed the Jews from their bonds in Egypt.

Jesus, I have come to a point in my life where I can’t do it on my own any more.  I don’t want to do it on my own anymore.  Would you please come in to my life as my Savior?  Let me surrender to you knowing you as a loving God whose spirit is in me.  Free me from my sin and show me how to live my life bringing glory to you.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Hey, if any of you said that prayer for the first time, if you’re comfortable, would you please come up and introduce yourself to me when we’re done this morning?  I would love to get to know you better and pray for you.  Thank you.