14th Nisan Christian Passover Service

 

[Open the service with a prayer]

 

The New Testament Judeo-Christian Passover is a very old ceremony, dating back to the apostle John, as attested to by both Polycarp his disciple, and Policrates the disciple of Polycarp in their letters to the bishop in Rome.  The first New Testament Passover service was observed by Jesus Christ on the evening of the 13/14th Nisan or Abib.  As the sun was setting, bringing the end of the 13th Nisan and beginning the 14th, the Passover Day, Jesus gathered with his twelve disciples in the upper room where they had prepared the Passover meal.  (Jesus died on the daylight portion of Passover Day, the 14th, so this service took place the evening before.)  Jesus and the disciples began to partake of what appeared to be a normal Jewish Passover meal.  But unlike all the previous Passovers observed by the Jews before that, this one confirmed the promises made earlier to Abraham, and now made them available to all the spiritual children of God, both Jewish and Gentile, making them also the heirs of Abraham, heirs of the promises to the Fathers, grafting them into Abraham’s ‘family olive tree.’ 

 

Romans 11:17-18, “If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches.  If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.” 

 

Galatians 4:28, “Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise.”  Galatians 3:26-29, “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

 

Scripture Reading

 

[In small groups, each participant can read a passage, in round-robin fashion.  In larger groups the group-leader/pastor should do the readings.]

 

Jesus Institutes the New Covenant Passover

 

At Jesus’ last Passover, believed by many to have been on a Tuesday evening, 31A.D., Jesus transformed the Old Testament Passover service into the New Testament Passover observed by Sabbatarian Churches of God for nearly 2,000 years.

Luke 22

 

14. When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him.

15. Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer;

16. for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Part I: The Footwashing

 

John 13

 

2. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him,

3. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,

4. rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

5. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

6. Then He came to Simon Peter.  And Peter said to Him, “Lord, are You washing my feet?”

7. Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

8. Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet!”  Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.”

9. Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!”

10. Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”

11. For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, “You are not all clean.”

12. So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you?”

13. “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

14. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.

15. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

16. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.

17. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”

 

          At this point, stop and wash one another’s feet.  When this part of the service is completed, and everyone is seated again, continue the Scripture reading.

 

Jesus Dips The Sop And Gives It To Judas

 

Matthew 26

 

21. Now as they were eating, He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

22. And they were exceedingly sorrowful, and each of them began to say to Him, “Lord, is it I?”

23. He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me.

24. The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”

25. Then Judas who was betraying Him, answered and said, “Rabbi, is it I?”  He said to him, “You have said it.”

 

John 13

 

30. Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately.  And it was night.

31. So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.”

 

 

Part II: Eating The Broken Unleavened Bread

 

The unleavened bread symbolizes Jesus’ broken body on the cross.

 

I Peter 2

 

21. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22. “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth” [Isa. 53:9]

23. who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return: when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;

24. who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness---by whose stripes you were healed.”

 

I Corinthians 11

 

23. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;

24. and when he had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

          At this point stop, bless and break the unleavened bread, distribute it to the participants and eat it.  When all of have eaten the bread, continue the Scripture reading.

 

 

Part III: Drinking Of The Wine

 

I Corinthians 11

 

25. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

27. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

 

          At this point, bless the wine, distribute it to the participants and drink it.  When this part of the service is finished, continue the Scripture reading.  Red grape juice may be substituted for wine for anyone who has a sensitivity to alcohol.  Be sure to provide for this option.  You must not make someone stumble over alcohol that cannot drink it.

 

A New Commandment: Love One Another

 

John 13

 

33. “Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer.  You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ so now I say to you.

34. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

35. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

John 14

 

1. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

2.  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you.

3. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

4. And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

5. Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

6. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 

John 15

 

1. “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

3. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

4. Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

5. I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

6. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

7. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

8. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

9. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

10. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.

12. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

13. Greater love has no one that this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. 

14. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.

15. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

16. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

17. These things I command you, that you love one another.

18. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

19. If you were of the world, the world would love its own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

20. Remember the word that I said to you.  ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.  If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

21. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

23. He who hates Me hates My Father also.

24. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.

25. But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’ [Psalm 69:4]

26. But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.

27. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.”

 

John 17

 

1. Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come.  Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,

2. as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

3. And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

4. I have glorified You on earth.  I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

5. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

6. I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.  They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

7. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.

8. For I have given them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent me.

9. I pray for them, I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.

10. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.

11. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You.  Holy Father, keep through Your own name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.

12. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name.  Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

13. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

14. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

15. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

16. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

17. Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.

18.As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world;

19. and for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

20. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

21. that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me.

22. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

23. I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

24. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

25. O righteous Father!  The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.

26. And I have declared it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

Mark 14

 

26. And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

The Scripture reading should be followed by a hymn.  After the hymn, close with a prayer of thanksgiving.

 

[Christian Passover service for the Internet Churches of God, to be held on the evening of the 13th/14th Nisan or Abib of the Hebrew calendar.]