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In the Breaking of the Bread



Breaking of the matzo
The Passover Seder Table

I remember celebrating the Passover Seder my entire life. It was quite the celebration. My whole family on my mom’s side, would gather every year, usually at a hotel because there were 9 families.  Even though it was a major production, with everyone dressing up and driving long distances to get to the Seder, I found the gathering to be quite boring.

 

We would sit at the dinner table and go through a 2-to-3-hour service lead by the family patriarch. The Seder service tells the story of our lives as slaves to Pharoah and our great deliverance from bondage by God through Moses. Every one of God’s great acts were presented and every detail was included in the story.  The oldest male in our family and youngest child were the only ones to read from the Haggadah (the prayer book for the Seder).   The story of slavery and deliverance is told and retold numerous times through the reading of scriptures, stories, songs, and even through eating symbolic foods and drinking four glasses of wine.  All of this would happen before we could eat the actual meal.

 

When we finally got to the meal itself, most of us kids were famished and happy to be eating. After dinner, we would dance, sing, and celebrate. Our time together would end when we gathered to drink our last glass of wine and pray one more time!  The final act of the Seder was for the youngest person in the family to open the door and look for Elijah, the one promised to herald the coming of Messiah.  Then in unison we would exclaim, “next year in Jerusalem”.  Of course, sadly, we never saw Elijah nor Messiah and we never celebrated in Jerusalem as a family.

 

Somewhere around the age of 12 or 13 I began to move beyond boredom during the state of the Seder service to curiosity. Although I should’ve known the entire service by memory, I didn’t.  For maybe the first time, I found myself really listening in a different sort of way. I guess I would describe it as “I want to be here” instead of “I have to be here”.  Still, every Seder was the same predictable experience, that is until I had radical change in my life.

 

The radical change happened in the fall shortly before my 21st birthday. I had an experience that opened the door of my heart and changed my entire perspective when it came to spiritual matters. The change came because of someone hearing me, pray and asking me why I didn’t pray “in the name of Jesus”. My answer was simple, why should I; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob always answered my prayers. Why do I need Jesus? They told me, “Because He’s God’s Son”. Then they challenged me, “if God answers your prayers, then ask him,” and so I did.

 

That evening right before going to sleep I closed my eyes and prayed, “God, Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I know you wouldn’t lie to me, if you have a Son and His name is Jesus tell me”.  It was that simple.

 

When I woke the next morning, I just knew, Jesus was the Son of God! I can’t even explain it. I just knew it, the same way I knew my name was Stephanie. I had confidence, I knew Jesus was God’s Son.

 

Now fast-forward about seven months, it was spring and time for the Passover Seder. As was my custom, even though I was no longer living at home, I joined my family for the Passover celebration.  Everything was just as it always was.  The Patriarchs of the family sat at head table with all the symbolic foods laid out before them.  We sat around like we always had – in age order, my cousins, brothers, and I at the very end of the tables. They began the service as they always had with my mother lighting the candles.    

 

Then, suddenly, it happened. What was ordinary Seder, what I had watched my entire life without fanfare became extra ordinary.  My uncle pulled the cloth covering off the plate where three matzahs sat just as he had done every year.  He took out the middle matzah and broke it.  At that moment, my eyes were opened to something I had never ever seen before – JESUS.  I saw Jesus in the Seder! I saw Jesus in the breaking of the middle matzah. Jesus broken for me!!!

 

I didn’t have enough scripture inside of me to know what I know now.  I didn’t have enough scripture inside of me to know, the Holy Spirit lived inside of me either.  But I did have enough of Him in me to recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  

 

“Jesus unveiled himself as he broke the bread,” Luke 24:35

 

 

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