Model Passover Seder for Christians

Blaine Robison, M.A.


Published 15 April 2011

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Complete Jewish Bible.

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Preparation for the Passover Celebration

This Haggadah ("telling" or "narrative") presents a Passover Seder ("order" or "arrangement") similar to the meal that our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) shared with his disciples as his last supper. It does not include some traditions that were added in later centuries.

The Seder commemorates the covenant made between God and the Israelites through the blood of the Passover lamb on the eve of their departure from Egypt. It was therefore most appropriate for Yeshua to use such an occasion to announce the new covenant that God would establish through his blood (i.e., his death), and to select certain elements of the meal to commemorate this. (See my article The Messianic Meal.)

This Seder is designed for Christians to be conducted in a home setting. Passover may be prepared for a small group or a large group and may be as simple or elaborate as the host desires. See instructions on foods and Seder arrangements at the end of this article.

I use the word "Host" throughout to indicate the head of household and "Hostess" as the wife of the Host or another designated woman to serve in this role.

Candle Lighting

Hostess: Read Luke 22:7-13

Host: As we kindle the festival lights, we pray that the Spirit will bring great personal meaning to our Passover celebration.

Hostess: [While lighting the candles] Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has set us apart by His Word, and in whose Name we light the festival lights.

Host: As light for the festival of redemption is kindled by the hand of a woman, we remember that our Redeemer, the Light of the World, came into the world as the promised seed of a woman.

Introduction to Cups of Wine

Host: [Exodus 6:6-7] "Therefore, say to the people of Isra'el: 'I am ADONAI. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am ADONAI your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians.”

Because of the four promises to the people of Israel contained in this passage four cups of wine had been added to the Passover meal by the time of Yeshua (Jesus).

The Cup of Sanctification

Host: According to the Gospel record Yeshua celebrated Passover with his disciples the night before he was crucified. As was customary the service began with a b'rakhah (blessing) over a cup of wine. This cup consecrated the service to God and so is called the Cup of Sanctification. [Luke 22:17] "Then, taking a cup of wine, he made the b'rakhah and said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you that from now on, I will not drink the `fruit of the vine' until the Kingdom of God comes."

Let us lift our first cup together and bless the name of the Lord.

All: Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

[Everyone drink the cup.]

Ur’chatz - The Washing of Hands

Reader: [Psalm 24:3-4] "Who may go up to the mountain of ADONAI? Who can stand in his holy place? Those with clean hands and pure hearts, who don't make vanities the purpose of their lives or swear oaths just to deceive."

Host: Let us wash our hands and as we do, let us renew our commitment to God to have "clean hands and a clean heart".

All: Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by your commandments, and has commanded us to wash our hands.

[Pass the bowl. Each one dip hands into water and then dry.]

The Reason for Passover

Host: In the instructions for the first Passover God anticipated the need in future observances to explain to children the purpose for the special ceremony. [Ex 12:25-27] "When you come to the land which ADONAI will give you, as he has promised, you are to observe this ceremony. When your children ask you, 'What is the meaning of this ceremony?' say, 'It is the sacrifice of ADONAI's Pesach [Passover], because [ADONAI] passed over the houses of the people of Isra'el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses.'"


Host: On the first Passover the Israelites were instructed to make matzah, unleavened bread, because they had to eat in haste. Passover begins an entire week called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Reader: [Exodus 12:24] "You are to observe this as a law, you and your descendants forever."

Host: But even more than that, Scripture teaches us that leaven symbolizes sin.

Reader: [1 Corinthians 5:7] "Get rid of the old chametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed."

Host: During this season of Passover, let us break our old habits of sin and selfishness and begin a fresh, new, and holy life.

(Lifting the plate which contains the three matzot)

Host: This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread which the Israelites ate in the land of Egypt. Three matzot are wrapped together for Passover. Various explanations have been offered, but in the matzah we can see a picture of Messiah. See how the matzah is striped.

Reader: [Isaiah 53:5] "But he was wounded because of our transgressions, bruised because of our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace fell on him, and by his stripes we are healed."

Host: See how the matzah is pierced.

Reader: [Zechariah 12:10] "and I will pour out on the house of David and on those living in Yerushalayim a spirit of grace and prayer; and they will look to me, whom they pierced. They will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son."

(Host removes and breaks the middle matzah in half.)

Host: Just as the middle piece of the bread of affliction is broken, Messiah, too, was afflicted and broken. One half is now called the afikomen - “the coming one.” It is wrapped in a white cloth just as Messiah’s body was wrapped for burial.

(Host wraps and hides the afikomen and then passes the other half of the matzah around the table.)

Host: Let us now share a piece of this unleavened bread of Passover.

All: Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

[Everyone eats a piece of matzah.]

Maror and Charoset

Host: Another food God prescribed to be eaten on the first Passover is maror, bitter herbs. As sweet as our lives are today, let us still remember how bitter life was for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.

Reader: [Exodus 1:12-14] "But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, until the Egyptians came to dread the people of Isra'el and worked them relentlessly, making their lives bitter with hard labor -digging clay, making bricks, all kinds of field work; and in all this toil they were shown no mercy."

Host: However by the time of Yeshua the Jewish people had added a sweet relish called charoset in which to dip the matzah and maror. The charoset is often likened to the mixture of straw and clay the Israelites used to make bricks for the Egyptians. [read Mark 14:18-20] "As they were reclining and eating, Yeshua said, "Yes! I tell you that one of you is going to betray me." They became upset and began asking him, one after the other, "You don't mean me, do you?" "It's one of the Twelve," he said to them, "someone dipping matzah in the dish with me."

[Everyone place some maror onto a piece of matzah and add charoset. Hold the matzah with the maror and charoset while the b'rakhah is pronounced.]

All: Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us concerning the eating of the Maror.

[Everyone eat the maror and matzah with charoset.]

The Magid (Story of Passover)

Host: The story of Passover is a story of miracles, redemption and the mighty power of God to overcome evil.

Reader: [Psalm 105:24-30] "He sent his servant Moshe and Aharon, whom he had chosen. They worked his signs among them, his wonders in the land of Ham. He sent darkness, and the land grew dark; they did not defy his word. He turned their water into blood and caused their fish to die. Their land swarmed with frogs, even in the royal chambers."

Reader: [Psalm 105:31-35] "He spoke, and there came swarms of insects and lice throughout their land. He gave them hail instead of rain, with fiery [lightning] throughout their land. He struck their vines and fig trees, shattering trees all over their country. He spoke, and locusts came, also grasshoppers without number; they ate up everything green in their land, devoured the fruit of their ground."

Reader: [Psalm 105:36-40] "He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their strength. Then he led his people out, laden with silver and gold; among his tribes not one stumbled. Egypt was happy to have them leave, because fear of [Isra'el] had seized them. He spread out a cloud to screen them off and fire to give them light at night. When they asked, he brought them quails and satisfied them with food from heaven."

Hostess: [Psalm 105:41-45] "He split a rock, and water gushed out, flowing as a river over the dry ground, for he remembered his holy promise to his servant Avraham. He led out his people with joy, his chosen ones with singing. Then he gave them the lands of the nations, and they possessed what peoples had toiled to produce, in order to obey his laws and follow his teachings. Halleluyah!"

The Cup of Plagues

Host: When Moses returned to Egypt from Midian, God warned him that he would encounter resistance.

Hostess: [Exodus 3:19-20] "I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go."

Host: God sent ten plagues upon Egypt to force Pharaoh to release the children of Israel. As the last plague brought death to Egypt it resulted in the deliverance of Israel from death.

Let us fill our cups a second time. A full cup is a sign of joy and on this night we are filled with joy in remembrance of God's mighty deliverance. Lives were sacrificed to bring the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. We must also remember the great sacrifice at which our redemption was purchased.

As we recite each plague, let us dip our little finger into the cup, allowing a drop of wine to fall. (DO NOT DRINK.)

All: Blood! Frogs! Gnats! Wild Beasts! Disease to Livestock! Boils! Hail! Locusts! Darkness!

Reader: [Exodus 12:12] "For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am ADONAI."

The Passover Lamb

Host: We have eaten the matzah to remind us of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt. We have tasted the bitter herbs to remind us of their bitter slavery. This roasted bone represents the lamb whose blood marked the houses of Israel, signifying their obedience to God’s command.

Reader: [Exodus 12:3-7] "Speak to all the assembly of Isra'el and say, 'On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household - 4 except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it. 5 Your animal must be without defect, a male in its first year, and you may choose it from either the sheep or the goats. 6 "'You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra'el will slaughter it at dusk. 7 They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it."

Reader: [Exodus 12:8-13] "That night, they are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire; they are to eat it with matzah and maror. 9 Don't eat it raw or boiled, but roasted in the fire, with its head, the lower parts of its legs and its inner organs. 10 Let nothing of it remain till morning; if any of it does remain, burn it up completely. 11 "'Here is how you are to eat it: with your belt fastened, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; and you are to eat it hurriedly. It is ADONAI's Pesach [Passover]. 12 For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am ADONAI. 13 The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you - when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you."

Hostess: [Deuteronomy 26:8] "and ADONAI brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and a stretched-out arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders."

Reader: [2 Corinthians 5:21] "God made this sinless man be a sin offering on our behalf, so that in union with him we might fully share in God's righteousness."

Host: [Revelation 5:12-13] "and they shouted out, "Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and praise. And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth and on the sea - yes, everything in them - saying, "To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb belong praise, honor, glory and power forever and ever.”

Host: We will now drink the second cup.

All: Blessed are you, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

[Everyone drinks the Cup of Plagues.]

["It would have been enough"]

Host: If the Lord had merely rescued us, but had not judged the Egyptians ¾

          ALL: Dayenu

Host: If He had only destroyed their gods, but had not parted the Red Sea ¾

          ALL: Dayenu

Host: If He had only drowned our enemies, but had not fed us with manna ¾

          ALL: Dayenu

Host: If He had only led us through the desert, but had not given us the Sabbath

          ALL: Dayenu

Host: If He had only given us the Torah, but not the land of Israel

            ALL: Dayenu

ALL: Bless are You, LORD God, for You have, in mercy, supplied all our needs. You have given us Messiah, forgiveness for sin, life abundant and life everlasting. Hallelujah!


(Resumption of ceremony after the meal.)

Hostess: [Exodus 12:14] "This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to ADONAI; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation."


Host: It is time to share the afikomen, the dessert, the final food eaten at Passover. It is the afikomen of which the Scripture says, “Also, taking a piece of matzah, he made the b'rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, "This is my body, which is being given for you; do this in memory of me." (Luke 22:19)

All: Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Host: Let us eat the afikomen, meditating on the broken body of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

The Cup of Redemption

Host: Let us fill our cups for the third time. This is the Cup of Redemption, symbolizing the blood of the Passover lamb. It was the cup “after supper,” with which Yeshua identified the fulfillment of the New Covenant.

Reader: [Exodus 6:6] "Therefore, say to the people of Isra'el: 'I am ADONAI. I will … redeem you with an outstretched arm."

Reader: [Isaiah 59:1] "ADONAI's arm is not too short to save, nor is his ear too dull to hear."

Reader: [Isaiah 59:16] "He saw that there was no one, was amazed that no one interceded. Therefore his own arm brought him salvation, and his own righteousness sustained him."

Hostess: [Luke 22:20] "He did the same with the cup after the meal, saying, "This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you."

All: Blessed are you, LORD our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

[Everyone drink the Cup of Redemption.]

The Cup of Praise
Psalm 136:1-13, 26

Host: Let us fill our cups for the fourth and last time and give thanks to God our great redeemer.

Host: Give thanks to ADONAI, for he is good,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Host: Give thanks to the God of gods,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Host: Give thanks to the Lord of lords,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who alone has done great wonders,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who skillfully made the heavens,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who spread out the earth on the water,

            ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who made the great lights,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: The sun to rule the day,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: The moon and stars to rule the night,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who struck down Egypt's firstborn,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: And brought Isra'el out from among them,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: To him who led his people through the desert,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting;

Host: Give thanks to the God of heaven,

          ALL: for his lovingkindness is everlasting.

Host: Let us lift our cups and bless the Name of the Lord.

          ALL: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Everyone drinks the Cup of Praise.



RED WINE or GRAPE JUICE (or Ocean Spray Cran-Grape): Sufficient quantities so all persons can have at least 4 cups (3 if the third cup is shared) in addition to what will be drunk during the meal. 16 oz. per person (i.e., four 4‑oz. servings) is usually plenty.

Maror ("be bitter"): Bitter herbs – romaine or other dark lettuce, endive or chicory. One pound should serve 10-12 persons. Horseradish, which is commonly used today, wasn't adopted until the 14th or 15th century.

Charoset ("clay"): Fruit‑spice sauce. Typical ingredients may include apples, figs, nuts, raisins, pomegranates, cinnamon, spices, honey, and wine. One recipe, which serves 4 persons (figuring 1/2 apple per person), is:

2 peeled and cored apples

1/2 tsp. cinnamon, with a dash of ginger and/or nutmeg if desired

1/2 cup walnuts and/or almonds

1/2 cup raisins and/or figs

1/4‑1/2 cup red sweet wine (Mogen David Concord or other Passover wine), grape juice or red wine vinegar

honey – add to taste for additional sweetness

The ingredients should be finely chopped and mixed together (but not pureed like applesauce) so as to resemble the clay or mud and straw the Israelites used to make bricks and mortar for Pharaoh, which it symbolizes. You can use a blender or food processor.

Matzah: Unleavened bread.  This recipe serves 8-12, i.e., 1-2 flatbreads per person:

Mix together and knead well (you can use the dough setting on a bread machine):

5 cups whole wheat, barley or rye (whole grain) flour

2 cups water

3 Tbsp. oil (olive or canola).

Divide lump of dough into 16 pieces (very thin) or 12 pieces (thicker).

Roll out each piece flat and round, about 6-7" diameter (like a tortilla).

Pierce each piece through in rows with a fork (to aid baking and keep it from "puffing up").

Bake in oven 350° until done (or microwave individually on high, 30-45 seconds per side).


You can also buy flat, cracker-like matzah (usually wheat). This is a good choice if you are serving a very large group. (Matzah can be made from any grain flour as long as it is unleavened. The matza Yeshua ate was probably made from barley.)

Pesah ("pass over"): The Passover offering (if desired), a year-old male lamb or goat. Leg of lamb or a lamb roast is a good choice. The meat should be roasted, grilled or broiled, not stewed or cooked in water. (Many Jews do not include lamb since there is no temple or priesthood to conduct the required Torah sacrifices. A lamb shank bone may be placed on the vegetable plate as a symbolic reminder of the sacrificial animal.)

Chagigah ("celebrate a [pilgrimage] festival"): Sheep, ox, lamb or goat, prepared in the same manner as the pesah and served when the pesah alone is not sufficient for the entire company. Roast beef can be used. Any combination of six ounces (excluding bones) of uncooked meat per person should be enough, e.g., 3 oz. lamb and 3 oz. beef, etc.


There should be individual cups for each person.

The food should be served from shared platters and dishes. Individual plates are optional.

All should have towels for the hand-washing ceremony. At least two bowls (or a pitcher and a bowl) will be needed for the hand-washing, one to pour the water over the hands and the other to catch the water as it is poured.

There should be enough copies of the haggadah for all to read from, either shared or individually.

(See The Passover Seder for more information on planning and conducting a Seder.)

Copyright © 2011 by Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.