This evening, Jewish families around the world will sit down with their friends and neighbors to teach their children the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Parents will explain the meaning of each element of the Passover Seder, and during the week Rabbis will deliver sermons about this defining moment in Judaism’s history. But Jews will not be alone in studying this event; Christians throughout the country will also sit together and study the Exodus.
For many of my faith, Passover’s discussions center around Jesus’s Last Supper – which was a Passover Seder. But that is certainly not the holiday’s sole significance for Christians.
One of the Haggadah’s most impactful messages comes from the questions asked by four children: the good, the wicked, the simple, and the one who does not know how to ask. The lessons associated with each question are valuable, but given our history, Christians must understand the criticism of the wicked son. In his question, the wicked son separates himself from the Jewish people and is strongly rebuked for it. Had the boy been in Egypt, the Haggadah explains, “he would not have been redeemed.”
For Christians, the obvious parallel is between the wicked son and Judas – who separated himself from the Apostles and betrayed Jesus to the Romans. But over the past two thousand years, have we as a faith not often been guilty of the same?
Save few glimmers of light, Christians separated themselves from the Jewish people. Worse yet, until relatively recently, the dominant relevant Christian theology (regardless of denomination) was one which declared not just that the Jews were less than, but that they had been replaced as God’s Chosen. This attitude is sinful and flat wrong.
For Christians, God’s message is clear: We must not separate ourselves from our Jewish brothers and sisters. Of course we are of two different faiths and we have theological differences that must be respected, but that should not prevent us from standing together – whether against evil Pharaohs or radical Mullahs.
Today, Israel faces a new enemy; one who if given the power would destroy the Jewish state. And he would not stop there – if there were no check on Tehran’s ambitions, Iran’s Supreme Leader would destroy all those who do not share his ideology. We have heard this story before.
“In each and every generation they rise up against [the Jewish people] to destroy us. And the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands,” the Haggadah explains.
I believe that God will always stand with the Jewish people. But if we Christians are to avoid the wicked son’s fate, we must do so as well.
Throughout the Bible, God mandates that the nations of the world should bless the children of Israel. Christian Zionists do this is by standing up for Israel’s right to exist and defend herself. Anything less, any separation from the Jews as a people, a nation, or as our neighbors, is simply wicked.