“Why Is This Night Different?” (Exodus 12; Luke 22:7-20)

Holy Thursday
April 1, 2010

“Why Is This Night Different?” (Exodus 12; Luke 22:7-20)

Earlier this week, in Jewish homes all around the world, families gathered and celebrated the annual Passover meal. A meal is served–the Seder meal, as it is called–with certain items of food and drink served in a set order. And a ritual is observed; the liturgical text that’s followed is called the Haggadah. As part of that ritual, the children at the table ask a series of questions about why they’re doing the things distinctive to this meal: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” the children will ask. “Why are we eating this type of food? On all other nights, we may eat bread made with yeast; on this night we eat only unleavened bread. On all other nights, we may eat any kind of vegetables; on this night we eat bitter herbs. Why is this night different?” And those questions then give the head of the household, the host at the table, the opportunity to recount the history of the Passover.

Well, a long time ago, at this time of year, another group of Jews gathered and celebrated the annual Passover meal. It was a Jewish teacher and his Jewish disciples, Jesus of Nazareth and his group of twelve, who met in a room in Jerusalem and ate the Passover together. The meal is served and the ritual is observed. But in the course of that meal, toward the end, the host, Jesus, does something a little different and varies the routine from the traditional Passover. And what’s more, he institutes this new thing as a meal for his disciples to celebrate for all time to come–including for us here tonight. And so on this night, on this Holy Thursday, we must ask the question, “Why Is This Night Different?”

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Published in: on April 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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