Following in the Footsteps of Messiah
April is a time when people decorate for springtime, with pastels and flowers and bunnies. We have just gone through a time of darkness and cold and death and now we are beginning to see light and life, a glimpse of flowers and a hope of warmer days. But amongst this joyful time, do we really want to consider death again? Do we really want to consider and meditate on the crucifixion, death, and burial of our Messiah? Even if we want to say "NO," we must say "YES." Why? Because the Messiah has asked us to remember.
The Last Supper
Yeshua's (Jesus') last supper was actually the Passover Seder. It was here, during this time of remembering the exodus from Egypt, that Yeshua took the matzah, called the afikomen, and said in Luke 22:19b,"This is My Body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." The afikomen was the matzah that was broken, for it is also said in verse 19a, "And when He had taken some matzah and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them." The traditional blessing was and still is, "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from out of the earth."
The afikomen symbolized the body of Messiah. Half of it was covered in a white napkin and hidden until later in the meal when it was found and then uncovered. The other half was to be eaten just as Yeshua did by giving it to His disciples. Many people think that Yeshua instituted some new thing, but He did not. He did not begin a new sacrament or what we call communion. He simply said when we do this, which is the Seder Meal, and when we come to the part of the afikomen, we remember Him giving up His life for us.
What follows in the Seder after the afikomen was the fourth cup, called the Cup of Redemption. Yeshua took the cup and said the traditional blessing, "Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine." Yeshua represented the fourth cup because He was the Messiah who brought redemption. So we remember on Passover that Yeshua was our Passover Lamb, for Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Messiah our Passover also has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
So you see that I never mentioned Good Friday, and that is because Good Friday does not always fall on the true day of Passover. Now if we are to follow in Yeshua's footsteps, then we must walk as He walked, and He walked up to Calvary on the day of Passover, the fourteenth day of Nisan on the Jewish calendar. You may say, "Do we need to walk in Yeshua's footsteps?" The answer is "Yes." Let's take a closer look at what Yeshua tells us about this subject.
Following the Messiah
Yeshua tells us in Matthew 16:24-26, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up His cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Yeshua tells us to pick up our cross. Now this means only one thing, and that is death. We must put to death the old self. Paul tells us in Colossians 3:1-17, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on the earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Messiah in God... Therefore consider the members of your earthly body dead." Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2, "I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect."
We think that the Bible and all that it tells us is an option and that we can choose to follow it or not and to whatever degree we choose, but this is a great deception, for there are no options other than choosing life or choosing death. Save our life and we shall die, die and we shall live, give and we shall receive. You see, it is an upside down kingdom. God's ways are not man's. Either we follow in the footsteps of Messiah or we are not following at all. Revelation 3:15-16 tells us, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold not hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth." God does not want us sitting on the fence, nor does He want us lukewarm, serving Him today and not tomorrow, picking and choosing which commands we will keep. Yeshua tells us in John 14:15, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments."
We must pick up our cross and die to ourselves, walking in the footsteps of our Messiah, our Great Shepherd who will lead us every step of the way. We must die to this world and its ways and thinking. So once we have crucified the flesh we can now live for the Kingdom and serve the King of all kings. We now can have our own exodus from Egypt (which represents the world). Now we can be light in the darkness, the light that brings life. We now can celebrate the Seder Meal like our Messiah did and Paul tells us to because now we can truly remember our Messiah Yeshua as we follow in His footsteps.