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Why was this night different from other nights?

December 15, 2009
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So, what makes the seder meal so special? If you are anything like me and grew up in a part of the world where you never got exposed to the Hebraic roots of your Christian faith, you might also have a misperception of what actually happened the night Yeshua (Jesus) ate the Last Supper with His disciples. You may not be aware that the bread and wine Yeshua told us to eat and drink in remembrance of what He did for us on the cross was actually part of a bigger meal called the seder meal. Passover is an eight-day festival, which starts with the seder meal. The symbolism during the meal is very rich, and the story is not just told, but accompanied with songs and symbolic foods representing different stages of the Exodus.

Being part of The Land of the Bible Experience, I have had the privilege to perform this special Passover/Last Supper play for various tour groups. I walk away from each presentation reminded again of how amazing that night was and how much more one understands when you are connected to your Hebraic roots.

Creating the Right Atmosphere

We had about three to four weeks to prepare. We had never done this play for a group of this size, and it required a lot of preparation. Just preparing packets of BFP materials (sample Dispatch, a Teaching Letter, and brochures) for such a large group was no small matter. Our focus has always been on groups of about 30 people, who could fit easily in our first-century teaching room, but with a group of 585, it meant we had to set up in their hotel.

The actors had a few run-through sessions which improved with each practice. Then there was the stage setup. The aim was to create a first-century atmosphere in the midst of the deluxe, modern hotel, which meant we had to move almost half of the “props” from our teaching room. We could only start on the day of the play. Some people were working on the back drop, while others laid the rustic floor coverings down, and the rest worked on the table and “room” decor (urns, baskets, sacks of grain, a spice-drying rack, etc). Regardless of the many challenges over the sound system, all came together perfectly. It looked great, and there was a feeling in the air that this night was going to be a big success. The only thing left to do was to dress in our biblical attire and wait for the night to start.

The Passover Enacted

I had the privilege of playing the role of Yeshua, while other BFP volunteers played the roles of Peter, John, and Judas. Nine Nigerians, also in first-century costumes we had brought, filled the spots for the other disciples, and we were blessed to hear how privileged the chosen players felt to be a part of this unique presentation.

The story was told from the perspective of the “host” who opened his house for Yeshua and His disciples to eat the Passover meal. The drama started with the host and two servant girls cleaning the house and lighting the oil lamps. Another servant girl then entered with two disciples and told the host that “the Master was to eat the Passover at this place.” At this point, Yeshua and the other disciples started to enter the room, walking through the audience from the back of the banquet hall. There was great excitement and anticipation in the crowd when the Nigerians saw some of their own people as part of the play, and cameras were flashing all around. We even had a big screen on the side, so everyone could see.

The rest of the play followed the biblical account, incorporating the Lord’s Table at the end where Yeshua shared in communion with His disciples. Songs are typically a part of theseder meal, so we ended the evening with a Hebraic song. We took a few moments to share about Bridges for Peace. The Nigerians were touched by the work we do and why it is so important for us as Christians to stand with Israel and the Jewish people. Later, we were given an envelope by one of the Nigerian ministers who said the church wanted to bless Bridges for Peace. What a surprise to find a US $10,000 donation!

This definitely made the night “different.” How humbling it was to receive such a generous gift from a third-world country! What a huge responsibility we feel to be stewards of such gifts! And, how astounded we all were that a simple drama presentation could be the tool through which both lovers of Israel and the people of Israel could be blessed!

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