Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. John 12:1 (NRSV)
Margie and I toured Wittenberg, Germany last fall. One of the sites we visited was the town church called St. Mary’s. It was the church that Martin Luther was married and all of his children were baptized at. St. Mary’s was built in the early 1400’s so it was 200 years old at the time of Luther. When the church was restored a cement picture in the outside wall of the church showed Jews sucking on a pig. It is a very racist picture! When the building was restored the Germans decided to leave it as a reminder of how the Jews had been treated in Germany. Unfortunately, the Christians treatment of Jews for the last 2,000 years has not always been a positive one. Yesterday, I was asked to give a presentation on the Passover at the Hospice Chaplains gathering in Sioux Falls. As Christians it is important for us to know about the Passover since it was the meal that Jesus was celebrating with his disciples when he gave to us a new meal of remembrance, Holy Communion. Passover was important to Jesus. His parents took him to Jerusalem every year for the celebration of the Passover. (see Luke 2:41) In John’s gospel Jesus travels three times to Jerusalem to observe the Passover. (see John 2:13, 6:4 & 11:55) The reason the Passover was important to Jesus was because he was a Jew. Christians always need to remember that the historic background of our faith is in Judaism. To do so helps us better understand and appreciate the Jewish people. Failure to do so leads to prejudices and racist attitudes toward the Jews. Take time this week to reflect on your own attitude toward the Jewish people. Then give thanks for our Jewish history and ask God to bless the Jewish celebration of the Passover which starts on March 26th. Always remember that without the Passover there would have been no Lord’s Supper.