A Christian take on Passover

Some Jews object to Jews for Jesus' message

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2003

With Passover next week, some Juneau Christians will hear today how understanding the Jewish holiday can enhance Christian faith.

Alan Bond, a representative of Jews for Jesus, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization that advocates Christ as the Messiah, will speak at 7 tonight at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene.

Bond will "share the Passover meal and all the various symbols and foods involved in that and then relate that to how Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover meal," said the Rev. Bob Sherwood of the Juneau Church of the Nazarene.

Jews for Jesus, founded in 1973, organizes outreach events at Christian churches throughout the world, as well as evangelical Christian ministries to Jewish people.

The Jews for Jesus message has met with considerable resistance from the Jewish community around the world, said Jesse Kiehl, board chairman for the Juneau Jewish Community.

"Mr. Bond doubtless feels he has a responsibility to spread the Gospel as he understands it, and I appreciate that, but I have a significant disagreement with him on whether the Messiah has come," said Kiehl.

Passover, an eight-day observance commemorating the exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, begins April 16. The Jewish holiday traditionally is celebrated with a seder, a special meal of unleavened bread, bitter herbs, parsley, roasted eggs, shank bones and haroseth, a mixture of chopped walnuts, apples, wine and cinnamon.

Bond's presentation, entitled "Christ in the Passover," will discuss how the traditional seder can enhance understanding of Christian doctrines, said Sherwood.

According to a statement released by Jews for Jesus, "Christ in the Passover" describes Jewish customs in light of the redemption that Jesus accomplished with his death and resurrection.

All community members are invited to the event at the church at 2330 Mendenhall Loop Road, Sherwood said, although the talk will be geared towards Christians.

"It gives people of (Christian) faith a greater understanding of their own faith," he said. "It brings, say, 4,000 or 5,000 years of biblical history together, at least from the time of the exodus to Christendom in the present century."

Most Jews believe the Passover is not about redemption, as the Jews for Jesus discussion purports, but about freedom, Kiehl said.

"God came down and saved them from bondage and evil people, not from their sins," Kiehl said of the Jews enslaved in Egypt.

Linking Passover to a redemption for sins is "an interesting reinterpretation," Kiehl said.

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