“Then your children will ask, ‘What does all this mean? What is this ceremony about?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the celebration of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he killed the Egyptians, he spared our families and did not destroy us.’“ - Exodus 12:26-27
There are many elements of educating children in addition to sending them to school. Parental example, for instance, has a profound impact on the formation of a young person’s approach to life. Wise parents know this and intentionally order their lives in ways that will convey the right message to the children. This includes the development of family rituals and traditions which will create “teachable moments.” The Jewish community, perhaps more than any other segment of Western society, understands this.
More than three thousand years have elapsed since the inauguration of Passover, when the Israelites were still held as slaves in Egypt. At that time the Lord told Moses, “When you arrive in the land the Lord has promised to give you, you will continue to celebrate this festival” (Exod. 12:25). Passover is still observed in Jewish families on the fourteenth day of the first month (12:6)—Nisan in the Hebrew calendar—and special care is given to explain to the children exactly what is being commemorated. The father of the family is required to answer the questions of his children, which are prompted by the rituals of the Passover meal. In modern Jewish families, the necessary teaching is called the “Haggadah,” which is designed to help the father give a correct explanation.
Jesus was careful to observe Passover with his disciples, and it is no accident that Jesus’ betrayal, crucifixion, and resurrection took place during the time of annual celebration. This has led Christians to see the Passover as a prefiguration of Christ’s death. The Passover lamb was killed and its blood sprinkled on their doorposts in order that the children of Israel might find shelter and thus escape the judgment (Exod. 12:22). Likewise, Christians find shelter through shed blood—the death—of the Lord Jesus as their only hope of salvation and protection from God’s judgment. That is why Christians in the West celebrate Easter around the time of Passover.
In light of the traditions, dating back more than three thousand years, that have led to the modern celebration of Easter, it might be worth asking two questions: “How do present day families commemorate the Easter event?” and “How can modern men effectively explain to their children the significance of this great Christian festival?” With appropriate and meaningful family traditions, Easter can be a great teaching moment for the children. There is no doubt that, given the right kind of stimulation, children will ask the right kind of questions. And there should be no question that, given the right kind of opportunity, modern fathers should have the right kind of answers about the deep issues of life. Their children deserve nothing less.
For Further Study: Exodus 12:1-28
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Men, Copyright ©2000 by Stuart Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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