In March 1953, Messianic Jewish luminary Rabbi Daniel Zion shared a word with the Messianic Community in Jerusalem during their Sabbath service for the week of Passover: Shabbat Chol HaMoed. These are his words.
In all the synagogues we read, on the first night of Passover, Psalm 107, the great psalm of intercession and of thanksgiving.
We [believers] also read it and meditate on it, for it is the most relevant to the feast of Passover as well as to the events concerning our Savior, Yeshua the Mashiach.
In this psalm we see four different situations in which we can especially pray for God to save us and for which we can give him thanks after he has delivered us.
- When, in our walk, we have lost our way and fall prey to hunger and thirst without being able to find a place to dwell securely.
- When, for whichever reason it may be, we are prisoners, chained and deprived of our freedom—humanly speaking—without hope of recovering it for a very long time.
- When, gravely ill, we approach the gates of death without any hope of recovery.
- When, at the height of the storm that threatens our ship, the passengers can no longer rely on human knowledge to save them.
This psalm teaches us that, in these four tragic situations, God has heard the sincere prayers that have risen toward him and he will save those who implore him. This is the reason for the thanksgiving that we are able to read in that psalm.
We, the Jews, have lived through these four tragic situations during our exile. Are we not Jews roaming this world, persecuted, chased out of every location without finding a place to dwell in safety? Have we not been prisoners during our dispersion, locked in concentration camps and in ghettos where we have suffered beyond any explanation?
On the other hand, we have been gravely ill—physically and spiritually—without finding the true remedy.
At last, during our dispersion, we have been tossed as a ship on the sea, threatened by our mortal enemies who wanted to hurl us to the bottom of the abyss.
This is what we have lived through during our short exile in Egypt and during our two-thousand-year exile in the “Egypt of the world.” But God in his mercy has answered our prayers; he has saved us and has gathered us from the four corners of the earth to the land of Israel. This was our physical redemption.
The believing Jews, of which we are a part, have experienced, along with national salvation, complete spiritual salvation, which by far surpasses our repatriation in the land of our forefathers. When we have addressed our prayers to him during these past terrible trials, God in his mercy has called us to faith in his Son Yeshua; he has offered us true salvation and has allowed us to understand his plan and his love for us and for all humanity. He has purified us in the blood that Yeshua shed on the cross on this same day that we commemorate. In this way we can take part in the freedom in Messiah.
This is why we, who are believers, have greater cause to glorify God than our Jewish brothers who have not yet been saved. We wait impatiently, especially in these days of liberation, for the day of the return of our Savior who will grant us a perfect freedom and a total redemption.
Today, on this Sabbath of the Passover week, as in all the synagogues, we have read in the Pentateuch the eighteenth verse of the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus:
You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Aviv, for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.
It reminds us that the exodus from Egypt occurred during the spring, in the month of Aviv. Aviv means spring. This coincidence was intended by God.
After the winter—with its rains, storms, and snowfalls, where even the sun, which is hidden by black clouds, cannot spread its light, where nature, deprived of its bright colors and its fruits, appears dead—comes the spring. For nature it is a new birth; the fields become green again, bursting everywhere with life and with joy. The sun shines brilliantly again, the trees become covered with leaves and flowers, the birds take up their song again.
This is what has occurred to the Jews after the winter of slavery in Egypt, after having escaped annihilation in the torment that they experienced. We were as if dead and hopeless, covered by the shadows of a cruel exile (Golah). But after this time of trials came the spring of our new birth and our liberty; our life as slaves became a life of triumph. Animated with a new life, we are once again a nation able to worship God. In a word: the hand of God can be seen in nature just as much as in history.
It is God who destroys and renews nature and it is God who has saved the people of Israel after having particularly refined it through their two thousand years of dispersion in the “Egypt of the world.” He began our redemption in giving us the State of Israel and in gathering us from the four corners of the earth.
It is equally, by an “intentional coincidence,” that the crucifixion and resurrection of Yeshua the Mashiach, a symbol of spiritual sufferings and of liberation, took place during these days of Passover. We believers, therefore, celebrate a double festival because we have obtained a perfect freedom in accepting Yeshua the Mashiach as our Savior. We are dead in him and in him we are revived in spirit to a new life.
Thus we can say that the celebration of Passover commemorates the new birth in different aspects: the new birth of nature, that of the people of Israel, and, the most important, that of all those who believe in our Master Yeshua the Mashiach. It is he that we must follow, for he is our light; he is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—amen.