By Steve Maltz

Cast

Narrator:
Bible reader

Jewish Family:

Jesus:
Peter:
Judas:
Other 10 disciples:

Mime artists:

Narrator: Passover is the oldest of all the Jewish holidays and is one of the most important events in the Jewish calendar. It's from the Bible and can be found in Exodus 12-14. The aim of the Passover service is to bring the story of the Exodus out of the past and into the present so that each Jewish person, both young and old, will be made to feel as though they personally had come up out of the land of bondage.

There was only one Passover, one single event in history but we are told to celebrate it every year to be a memorial of that first Passover. In the same way, it was at one of these ‘memorial’ Passovers, the event that we know as the Last Supper, that there was another, more important, single event in History. It was here that Jesus prepared himself and his disciples for the chain of events leading to his horrific crucifixion.

Tonight we are going to cover 4000 years of history in our Passover presentation. We are going to celebrate a traditional (-ish) Passover service with our Jewish family, but at the same time, we are going to eavesdrop on the events of Jesus’ Last Supper. And we are even going to re-enact, in mime, that very first Passover at the time of Moses.

So, without further ado, let us begin …

Jewish mother

(Light candles)

Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melekh ha'olam asher kidishanu B'ruach Ha-kodesh, v'natan lanu et Y'shua Ha Mashiach, l'hiyot orolam.

We praise you oh Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your Holy Spirit and has given us Y'shua, Jesus the Messiah, to be the Light of the World. Amen.

Jewish father

During this Passover Seder we are expected to drink four cups of wine. Wine is a symbol of joy, since wine makes glad the heart of man.

These 4 cups symbolise four pronouncements from the Lord to Moses and the Israelites as He led them out of Egypt. They are 4 promises of redemption.
Let us now fill the first cup. This is known as the cup of sanctification and is illustrated by the words 'I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians' and sets apart this Passover meal as a special meal devoted to God and His purposes.

With the first cup we recite the Kiddush, the blessing

Let us lift our first cup together and bless the name of the Lord. ' Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine'

B'rch atah adonai elohaynu melech ho'olom, b'rai p'ri hagofen

CUT TO LAST SUPPER

Jesus

(They too are sharing the first cup)

Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish father

Let us now drink of this, the first cup of Passover.

CUT TO LAST SUPPER

Jesus

(He gets up from the meal, takes off his outer clothing, and wraps a towel around his waist. After that he pours water into a basin and begins to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him)

Simon

Are you going to wash my feet?

Jesus

You do not realize now what I am doing … but later you will understand

Simon

No! You shall never wash my feet.

Jesus

Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.

Simon

Then Lord, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!

Jesus

A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean. And you are clean …. Though not every one of you (Looks straight at Judas)

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish father

(He washes his hands in the bowl)

(Lifts the parsley)

Passover is a holiday that comes in the springtime, when the earth is becoming green with life. This vegetable, called 'karpas', represents life, created and sustained by Almighty God.

(Lifts up the salt water)

But life in Egypt for the children of Israel was a life of pain, suffering and tears, represented by this salt water. Let us take parsley and dip it into the saltwater. But first the blessing

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

"Baruch attah Ah-don-noy Elo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam Boh-ray pree ha-adamah"

Let us eat the karpas.

(after eating)

Passover provides a yearly opportunity to teach our children about God's plan of redemption. In fact it’s the whole point of the Seder service - to teach and pass on the story of Passover from generation to generation.

The youngest child in the house now asks the MA NISHTANAH, the 4 questions.

Jewish Boy

Ma nishtanah halailah hazeh mikol haleylot

WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT FROM ALL OTHER NIGHTS?

ON ALL OTHER NIGHTS WE EAT BREAD OR MATZAH. ON THIS NIGHT WHY DO WE EAT ONLY MATZAH?

ON ALL OTHER NIGHTS WE EAT ALL KINDS OF VEGETABLES. ON THIS NIGHT WHY DO WE EAT ONLY BITTER HERBS?

ON ALL OTHER NIGHTS WE DO NOT DIP OUR VEGETABLES EVEN ONCE. ON THIS NIGHT WHY DO WE DIP THEM TWICE?

ON ALL OTHER NIGHTS WE EAT OUR MEALS SITTING OR RECLINING. ON THIS NIGHT WHY DO WE EAT ONLY RECLINING?

Jewish Father

We begin to answer the questions.

(Lifting the matzah)

This is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry let them come and eat. All who are needy let them come and celebrate the Passover with us.

Narrator

We can visualise Jesus at his passover saying these words. And we can recollect the words he spoke earlier in Galilee, in John 6 "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry,and he who believes in me will never go thirsty... "

This is interesting. Jesus is identifying with bread. How strange? But by the end of this service those words will make good sense. That is the beauty of the Passover service, it’s not just an excuse for a good meal - it’s a learning experience.

So he identifies with this unleavened bread, this Matzah. Let’s have a closer look.

(Jewish father holds up the matzah. Narrator talks)

Three matzot are wrapped together. There are various explanations for this. The rabbis call these three a 'Unity'. Some call it a unity of the patriarchs- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Others say it symbolises the priests, the Levites and the people of Israel. We who know the Messiah can see here the unique tri-unity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

The next part of the ceremony is called Yachatz, the breaking of the middle matzah.

As I just said, Jesus identified with the Matzah and here we can see a picture of the Messiah.

(Jesus stands up and raises his arms as if in cross – make sure he is lit up)

(Jewish father holds up the matzah – make sure he is lit up)

See how it is striped

Bible reader

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Narrator

See how it is pierced

Bible reader

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son ...

Narrator

This middle matza reminds us of Messiah Jesus. It was pierced at the cross, by his stripes we are healed. It is unleavened - without leaven - without sin.

Bible reader

Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

(Jewish father removes and breaks the middle Matzot)
(Jesus falls to his seat)

Narrator

It is now broken.

Just as the middle piece of the bread of affliction is broken, Jesus too was afflicted and broken. One half is now called the AFIKOMEN - it is wrapped in a white linen cloth ,just as Messiah's body was wrapped for burial (wraps Matzot). It is now buried to appear later on in the service.

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

(Jewish father puts Matzah in separate white cloth.)

Jewish Father

The second question was concerned with the bitter herbs, the MAROR. (lift it up)

As sweet as our life is today, we still remember how bitter life was for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt. As we read in Exodus.

"... so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labour in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields ...

So we scoop some maror onto a piece of matzah.

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav vitzivahnu al acheelat maror

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has set us apart by his Word and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.

Eat.

The third question mentioned dipping the vegetables twice.Well, we have already dipped once - the parsley into the salt water.

(lift the charoset)

The children of Israel toiled to make cities for Pharoah, working in brick and clay. We remember this in this CHAROSET - a mixture of apples, honey, nuts and wine. We scoop some bitter herbs onto the matzah. But, this time, before we eat, we dip the whole thing into the sweet charoset.

We dip the bitter herbs into charoset to remind ourselves that even the most bitter of circumstances can be sweetened by the hope we have in God and the Salvation that we receive through Jesus.

Narrator

This mixture is known as the 'sop' and this custom was known as 'dipping the sop'.

CUT TO LAST SUPPER (meanwhile Father hides the afikomen)

Jesus

I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me.

All disciples

Surely not I

Jesus

It is one of the twelve … (Judas dips his sop) … one who dips bread into the bowl with me.

(Jesus and Judas lock gaze and Judas slinks off)

Jesus

The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.

Narrator

The 4th and last question concerned leaning. As we heard in the last extract, they were reclining at the table. This meal in those times was not a formal occasion on chairs around a table. They were probably lounging around the floor on cushions, leaning on elbows.

SONG? A song of thanksgiving - Hodu l’Adonai Ki Tov - Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

Now for the story of Passover.

The story of Passover is a story of miracles, a story of redemption, a story of the mighty power of God to overcome evil.

CUT TO MIME GROUP (Jewish father continues speaking)

The Lord had promised the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Yet here were their children in Egypt. The Pharoah who had come to power feared them. Pharoah decided to exert greater control over this people, imposing harsh and bitter slavery upon the Israelites. Still, God blessed His people in strength and number.

Group mime hardships in Egypt as slaves – lifting, breaking bricks etc

Pharoah grew more frightened and ordered every baby boy among the Israelites to be drowned in the river Nile. One Israelite couple hid their little boy for 3 months. Finally, entrusting his future to God, they set him in a basket and placed him upon the river. His sister, Miriam, watched as he floated downstream. Coming upon the basket, Pharoah's daughter took pity on the child and chose to raise him as her own son. She called him Moses,meaning "drawn from the water”

Lady mimes putting basket in river, other lasy mimes picking it up from river and bringing it to others, who stroke baby Moses

Moses grew and became aware of the troubles of his people.One day in a rage he lost control and killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Fleeing the palace and the eye of Pharoah, Moses became a shepherd in the land of Midian, far from the cries of his suffering brothers.

Man (Moses) appears and he strikes another man who was beating up other. Then he flees

The Lord, however, saw the affliction of the children of Israel and heard their groaning. He would raise up a deliverer to lead them out of bondage. It was then that He appeared to Moses in the midst of a bush that burned with fire yet was not consumed. Moses drew close and listened as God commissioned him to go to Pharoah. Fearful and reluctant, still Moses agreed to bring God's message to the king of Egypt, "Let My people go!"

Slaves still slaving. Moses appears in front of burning bush. He then fearfully approaches another proud man

Moses went to Pharoah. He returned with the message that God had given him. But God told him it wouldn't be easy.

"But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that he will let you go."

God sent plagues one by one, but with each plague, Pharoah hardened his heart. Only with the 10th, most horrible, plague, did Pharoah relent.

"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn - both men and animals - and I will bring judgement on all the Gods of Egypt. I am the Lord."

Moses and Pharaoh – Moses pleading, Pharaoh getting more intransigent

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

We now fill our cups the second time.

This is the cup of judgement - the cup of plagues - so you know what’s coming!

A full cup is a symbol of joy, but we must also remember the great cost at which redemption was purchased. We are not to rejoice too much over the destruction of our enemies. They are human beings made in the image of God, and it is a tragedy when a human being is destroyed. We are to feel compassion even towards those who oppose and mistreat us. Egyptian lives, most of them innocent, were lost.

And so we lessen the wine in our cups by dipping our little finger in and flicking the wine away as we recite the plagues. So follow my lead and recite after me, flicking the wine onto a cloth.

(Jewish family all follow father’s lead)

Blood!
Frogs!
Lice!
Beasts!
Cattle Disease!
Boils!
Hail!
Locusts!
Darkness!
Death of the Firstborn!

Now the Passover Lamb.

During Passover at the time of Jesus a lamb without defect was sacrificed at the Temple on behalf of each family. This lamb had to be perfect - in fact it watched by the family for 4 days before the Passover, just to check that it didn’t have a limp or any other defect. Then they all had to turn away as the father took out the knife! Later the meat was devoured completely at the Passover meal.

But in 70AD the temple was destroyed and sacrifices were no more. And lamb was eaten no longer, being replaced usually with chicken.

All that was left is this, the Zeroah, the shankbone. This roasted shankbone represents the lamb whose blood marked the houses of the children of Israel on that first Passover, signifying their obedience to God's command.

CUT TO MIME GROUP (Jewish father continues speaking)

"... on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household."
"The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect..."
"Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight." "Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and the tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs."

Mime group looking after lambs, then slaughter them and put blood on door frames

"That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast."
"This is how you are to eat it; with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord's Passover." "The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are;and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt".

Mime group eating food in huddle as Angel passes by their house

Narrator

And so the Jewish people were saved from the Angel of Death by the blood of the lamb - the unblemished lamb, sprinkled in the shape of a cross on their door. First along the top of the doorframe, then down the side. Think for a while of the significance of this act. Being saved through a cross, by the blood of the lamb.

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

Likewise a roasted egg (hold it) has been added to the seder. It is called KHAGIGAH, a symbol of mourning at the loss of the temple. It is roasted brown, just as the sacrifices were burned with fire on the altar.

Now let us sing DAYENU (It would have been sufficient) to show how great is God's goodness to us. For each of His acts of mercy and kindness, we declare 'dayenu' - it would have been sufficient.

SONG 2: Dayenu

Narrator

As Christians we can add a further Dayenu. If God had only provided us with salvation through the death of the Messiah, it would have been enough. But he did more. Jesus said of Himself, "I come to give life and to give it more abundantly"

Jewish Father

(Fills the 2nd cup.)

This is the cup of judgement, symbolised by the phrase, 'I will rid you of their bondage"

B'rch atah adonai elohaynu melech ho'olom, b'rai p'ri hagofen

Narrator

This is the time when we would normally eat. This you will have to leave to your imagination as we are pressing on. Your food will be served up a little later – but it will be worth it. After the meal, the children must then search for the afikomen – the wrapped up matzah.

(Children hunt for and find the Afikomen)

Jewish Father

It is time for us to share the Afikomen, the dessert, that which was broken and buried, then brought back.

Narrator

We can see the parallel with Jesus himself. He too was broken on the cross, buried in the tomb then brought back, resurrected. The passover lamb is no more. Since the destruction of the temple nearly 2000 years ago there cannot be a lamb sacrifice any more. So, instead of sharing the lamb, we share this, the afikomen.

LIGHT UP BOTH JEWISH FAMILY AND LAST SUPPER

Jesus and Jewish Father

(Take the matzah and breaks it and give the blessing)

Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melech ha'olam hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz

'Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth'

(Jewish father sits down but Jesus continues)

CUT TO LAST SUPPER

Jesus

This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.

(the disciples show shock and amazement)

Narrator

The disciples were, no doubt amazed at this. He was about to give them one last thing to eat - even though tradition said that, after the main meal, nothing more was to be eaten! We’ve said the grace after meal - but we’re still eating. This was unheard of.

This ancient ceremony with its fixed liturgy has just been changed. Jesus has added some new words. He has identified with this matzah, this unleavened bread, bread without leaven, bread without sin. We've seen the stripes and the holes. Now we see a full identification of Jesus, the Bread of Life, with this bread.

This is the origin of the Christian Holy Communion.

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

We now fill our cup the 3rd time. (Lift cup). This is the cup of redemption, symbolising the blood of the Passover lamb.

It is given the phrase, 'I will redeem you with an outstretched arm'

Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melech ha'olam borey pri hagafen

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Let us gratefully drink.

(Jesus also stands up and lifts glass)

CUT TO LAST SUPPER

Jesus

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you

(the disciples show shock and amazement)

Narrator

Just as the blood of the lamb brought salvation in Egypt, so Messiah's atoning death can bring salvation to all who believe.

Song 3 (Baruch Haba)

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

(Lifting extra cup) This cup is for Elijah the prophet. Let a child open a door to let him in.

In Malachi 4:5 it says,

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes".

Elijah did not see death but was swept into heaven in a chariot of fire. It has always been a Jewish hope that Elijah would come at Passover to announce the Messiah.

And now for the final cup, the cup of praise. "I will take you to me for a people"

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melech ha'olam borey pri hagafen

(Drink cup.)

Narrator

The Passover seder is complete.

CUT TO LAST SUPPER

(Jesus and disciples leave table and walk slowly away)

We read in Matthew, "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives".

We can imagine the service finishing with the singing of a Psalm,perhaps the one we've just read, then leaving the Upper Room,making their way eastwards, out of the city gates, across the Kidron valley and into the Garden of Gethsemene, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Then came the night of loneliness, ofanguish, the betrayal, the arrest and trial, at the hands of the Sanhedrin and Pilate, the scourging and insults and the death on a cross.

Bible Reader

For Christ, our Passover lamb has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth

Narrator

The final hymn they sung before leaving the Upper Room was Psalm 118, part of the Hallel.

Bible Reader

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; His love endures forever. Let Israel say, "His love endures forever". Let the house of Aaron say, "His love endures forever". Let those who fear theLord say, "His love endures forever".

Song 4 : Great and Wonderful

CUT TO JEWISH FAMILY

Jewish Father

This is the end of the service. All that’s left to say is

Lashanah ha bo’oh bi yerushalayim

‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ or, failing that, ‘Barkingside’

Author/Teacher: