The 40 Lenten days are a time of preparation for our hearts as we approach Easter. We set aside certain luxuries, repenting of sinful behaviors, devoting quiet time to prayer and introspection so we might draw near to the Presence of our Creator.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35 NIV
Part of the Pesach preparation for a Jewish household is to clean! Which may be the origin of Spring cleaning. Similar to removing all leavening products from the pantry, as believers, we should do "soulful" cleansing. Are there things in our lives that do not glorify God? Are there distractions that consume our time away from spending time with the Savior? This cleansing will allow us to be in right relationship with our Abba, Father. Sin in our lives is resembles when we say or do something hurtful to a friend. We may not realized it but feelings are wounded and a wall of sorts gets built causing and injury to the intimacy of that relationship. In order to restore the relationship, we have to acknowledge that we have done something, intentional or not, that wounded our friend, then work to restore what has been broken.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
Passover begins this Friday, April 19th, at sunset. All Jewish holidays begin at sunset, since Genesis 1:3-5 NIV says, "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day."
The first part of the Pesach Seder occurs during the preparation. It is the search for overlooked chametz. Historically, the Jewish father and the children would take a candle and a feather and search all the corners of the house for any crumbs that may be been overlooked during the preparation. In our application, we use the Holy Spirit to help us identify may have anything hidden. We may have confessed an obvious sin, abstained from alcohol or sweets during Lent, but what about the subtle actions of gossip or hard feelings for a neighbor?
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. 1 John 1:5-10 NIV
As you make preparations for your Seder, copying the Haggadah for your guests, shopping for Matzah, horseradish, parsley and wine, chopping apples for charoset, etc., pray. Ask your LORD to reveal to you any unconfessed chametz in your heart. It may be something common to your daily routine or way of thinking that you have not realized has caused a separation to your relationship with Christ or others. If we sincerely seek the Holy Spirit's guidance, that sin will be revealed and a newness can begin to grow.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:19-23 NIV
I read a story about a 1950's Jewish family's preparations for the upcoming Pesach. Without all our modern conveniences, the mother prepared each Pascal element and dinner menu item from scratch. The hours of food preparation for her family and friends came after much labor cleaning her home, washing the reserved china and silverware, ironing table cloths and napkins. Everything for Passover was special, having been set aside as holy for the Seder dinner. At first I bemoaned her "suffering" through the numerous tasks, then I realized that this was a labor of love to fulfill the commandment from Yahweh and a demonstration of love for her family. This lady was careful to fulfill the obligations set forth, not out of drudgery, but out of devotion and her heart was full.
Thank you for spending the last few weeks as we have looked at celebration of Passover. I pray your time with family and friends during this week leading to Easter will be more meaningful than in years past, entering this celebration with a more rich understanding our our LORD's personal fulfillment of the Father's requirements, once and for all. Our Haggadah is provided on the More... page of our website. It is our gift for you to download and use during your seder. Our hope is that Passover will become a tradition for your family, and our LORD will be glorified by your devotion to His appointed time. Blessings, L
Be glorified, Lord Jesus, Savior of the world. We approach You with grateful hearts. Cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Amen