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Going back to the Jewish roots

If you read the title of my column, you might think I’m of Jewish descent, but I’m not. I’m a born and bred American, raised in the South. I cannot trace my lineage back to the tribe of Judah.

(Although if you go back far enough, we’re all related. See Adam and Eve or Noah and the flood.)

However, it seems like the Christian church has been exploring its Jewish roots much more over the last few years. I’ve seen several churches even fly an Israeli flag outside of their church building – just to show you how far the churches have gone.

Even exploring our own church calendar, I’ve seen several churches holding Passover Seder meals this week. One church is even hosting a Messianic rabbi to do a teaching on the Passover tonight. (See Page 6 for more information.)

To me, it is interesting to gain an understanding of the Jewish metaphors that are sprinkled all throughout the Bible. It’s also good to put the Bible texts in perspective to the time they were written.

When we’re trying to look at the Bible with a 21st Century perspective, sometimes we can maybe misunderstand the parables and other allusions in the Bible. I’m not saying that you can’t understand the Bible without having a Jewish perspective, but it’s possible to have a deeper and more complete grasp of its message when you understand feasts like the Passover and what it meant to the Israelites.

It kind of makes verses such as Isaiah 53:5 make more sense. That says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (KJV)

The unleavened bread at the Lord’s Supper represents the body of Jesus. What we think of as unleavened bread is not the same as what Jews think of as unleavened bread.

If you go to the ethnic foods aisle at Kroger, you’ll see a product called “Matzos.” These are square wafers of unleavened bread. That bread has been bruised, pierced and even given stripes, just like Jesus was when he was crucified.

How interesting it is that Jesus said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” The bread He broke represented what was going to happen to Him just a few hours from then.

I hope you’ll enjoy this Resurrection Sunday and take time to remember what it represents.

Brent Maze is the managing editor of the Hartselle Enquirer.