On Thursday night, Maundy Thursday, we attended a Messianic Seder at our church. We have been privileged to have attended an authentic Jewish Seder in the home of Jewish friends several years ago. The story of the Passover is retold in English with insertions of Hebrew recited throughout. The retelling is accompanied by foods that signify the journey of the Israelites out of Egypt. The matzah reminds us that the Israelites had to flee so quickly that they didn’t even have time to add yeast to their bread to allow it to rise. The bitter herbs remind us of their suffering. The salty water reminds us of their tears. The lamb shank reminds us that the blood of the lamb was placed over their doorposts so that the angel of death would ‘pass over’ and not kill their firstborn sons.
Of course I know all this. Of course I have read Exodus. Of course I know that Moses said “Let my people go!”
The Jewish celebration of Passover, written in the Haggadah, includes a section titled ‘dayenu’ which literally means, “it would have been enough.” The leader of the family says, “If He had brought us out of Egypt,” and the family responds, “dayenu.”
He says, “If He had executed justice against the Egyptians,”
“If He had split the sea for us,”
“If He had fed us manna,”
The sentiment, of course, is that God did so much more. He rescued them, provided for them, made their descendants many, and (eventually) took them to a land flowing with milk and honey.
Our Passover Seder on Thursday was different than the Jewish Passover I had attended years ago, but very familiar. We shared the matzah. We ate the bitter herbs. We enjoyed the charoses — the sweet mixture of nuts, apples, honey, wine, and cinnamon. Those parts were just like I remembered. The difference was that our pastor pointed out all the areas of the Passover that pointed to the Messiah. Just as the matzah is broken and hidden away to be brought out later, the body of Jesus was broken for us, hidden for three days, and brought back. Just as Moses led the Israelites out of slavery into freedom, Jesus has offered us freedom from slavery to the law and sin and death. Just as the blood of the lamb protected the Israelites from the angel of death, the blood of the Lamb protects us from any attacks of the evil one.
When we got to the ‘dayenu’ portion of our Seder on Thursday, I read along with the others from the Haggadah, but in my mind, I was thinking,
“If you had just sent your Son to save me,”
“If you had just provided for my physical needs,”
“If you had just given me a husband,”
“If you had just blessed me with children,”
My sentiment, of course, was that God has done so much more for me. He has saved me, and that would have been enough. But He also has blessed me beyond what I could have ever asked or imagined.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe.
Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church,
and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever, Amen.