Tag Archives: passion

Modern Day Sanhedrin

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Have you ever heard of Passion Play Ministries International? It is an organization that tells the message of the death and resurrection of Jesus to thousands of people in many nations and cities in the US and around the world through a live-action drama. The play is a large production with hundreds of people in the cast and part of the crew. The headquarters for this ministry is in Farmington, NM of all places. Yet, with such a humble headquarters location they are doing great ministry in spreading the gospel of Jesus around the world.

I was privileged to get involved with the Passion Play of the Four Corners last year for the first time. My wife saw an ad somewhere stating that they needed singers, and that is something I love to do, so I decided to join. I was part of the choir last year and sang in the opening song as a trio with a couple other ladies. I was also the host pastor for a night where I got to lead the opening prayer and then invite people to respond to the gospel message at the end.

It was an amazing experience, and I can truly say they are changing lives – not only lives in the audience, but even lives within the cast and crew itself.

This year I went back to audition, and I was told that the choir was going to be practicing on Tuesday evenings. Well, I am solidly booked on Tuesdays with my position as den leader for the local cub scout pack, so I decided to do some reading and see if God wanted to use me for a speaking part this year. Apparently He does. I was told that night I was to report to the Sanhedrin block when rehearsals began.

The Sanhedrin? I was to be one of the bad guys who connived to have Jesus crucified. These were the legalists that had missed the heart of the message of the Messiah and therefore missed Him when He came to them.

Oh well, if that was where God wanted me to be then so be it. I began to read, and after a few nights the director of the Sanhedrin block of the cast informed me that he wanted me to play the part of Caiaphas. Really? Not only was I going to be a bad guy, but I was to be the worst one – the High Priest!!

As I have been learning my lines and preparing for my role it has really weighed on my heart the severity of the role I must play. I have to be angry at Him. I have to accuse Him. I have to reject Him. I have to be all the things I preach against each week as I minister. Sure, this is only a play, but the weight of the things, I must sa,y hang no less heavily on my heart.

The one idea that keeps coming back to me, though, is this: The religious leaders of the day – the Sanhedrin – rejected Jesus and everything He stood for because they didn’t understand Him, and they were threatened by His doctrine as they saw it required a change in their way of life and livelihood.

Don’t we do the same thing?

Don’t we reject Jesus as we decide day after day to give in to our selfishness instead of allowing Jesus to reign in our lives and call the shots? Don’t we ignore Jesus as we get caught up in our lives or even worse, our religion? Don’t we reject Him as we feel that following Him would require a change of lifestyle that will threaten our comfort on every level, even fincially? Are we not just as guilty as the Sanhedrin?

When Peter preached the first sermon about Jesus in Acts 2, he finished by saying, “You, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:23,36)

That verse is for us too. We crucify Jesus when we put our selfish desires above His. What does Jesus require in response? Repentance and Baptism (Acts 2:38). When you understand what you’ve done and keep on doing to Jesus it should bring about remorse that leads to repentance. When you see what He has done for you by willingly dying for you in spite of your rejection it should inspire a desire for allegiance to Him that leads you to baptism.

Don’t stay like the Sanhedrin. News is that even Caiapha, after the resurrection, became a follower of Jesus. It’s not too late for you to follow Him either.

If you would like to know more about Passion Play Ministries International you can find them on the web at www.passion-play.org.

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The Lost Communion Tradition

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Over the years, tradition and culture has shaped the way we do things in our various religious organizations.  Christianity has many rituals that, over the years, lose great significance or take on new meaning.  Today, I want to talk to you about one such ritual that has lost a bit of significance over the years:  Communion.

Many Christian groups take communion.  There are varying ways and frequencies with which it is participated.  Some take it every Sunday, while others take it once a month or even once a quarter. Some even wait until Easter to take communion. Some take a small piece of cracker and tiny but of grape juice out of a mini-glass while other drink all from the same cup.

If you’re not familiar with the term “communion”, it is a symbolic supper where the unleavened bread eaten and the wine being drunk are symbolic of the body of Jesus and blood of Jesus respectively.  These symbols are key to Christians because of their reference to the cross of Christ where our sins were forgiven through His sacrifice.

So back to the Communion:

I’m not sure how you take communion, but I am pretty sure there is one part to this supper that you don’t do.

If you’ll look in Matthew, Luke, and John, you’ll find their narratives of how the Last Supper went down, and each one refers to Jesus dipping the bread with Judas.  In John’s gospel (chapter 13, verse 26) the King James Version refers to this time as when Jesus “dipped the sop”  It reads like this:

“Jesus answered, “He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it.” And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”

So, when’s the last time you “dipped the sop” during your communion celebration?  I have been doing some research on this Last Supper.  It was the Passover feast, and many Messianic Jews still celebrate this feast each year, however they have changed much of the symbolism because of Jesus’ sacrifice.  As I have been studying, I’ve noticed that each version of this feast – known as a Seder dinner – has one element that intrigues me.  On this feast, there are usually 6 items.  Parsley, Unleavened bread (Matzoh), Bitter Herb (Horseradish), Roasted Egg, Lamb Shank, and the Charoset (A sweet mixture of pureed fruits and nuts with honey).  There is also wine served in a series of four cups (meaning you drank your glass-full four times)

All of this is interesting enough, but the part that gets me is what comes toward the end of the feast.  This part is called “Korech”.  During this symbolic time, the participants would make a sandwich of Matzoh and Horseradish, then they would dip it in the Charoset.  This may sound tasty to you, but horseradish is extremely potent.  When you eat it, your eyes begin to water almost immediately, and the more you eat, the hotter it is.  Some say it’s even more potent than a jabanero pepper.

During the supper, Jesus “dipped the sop” then gave it to Judas.  This is the man who would betray him with a kiss and send him to his execution.  Of course this was all done through God’s guidance, but the betrayal was no less painful to Jesus.  In the Garden of Gethsemane later that night, Jesus prayed for God to let this cup pass from him.

What I’ve learned in studying this Seder (or Haggadah), is that the sop, after it was dipped, was supposed to be given to someone you love for them to eat.

Jesus dipped the sop and gave it to Judas.

He loves us…even when we betray Him.

I’m glad to have a savior like that!  Who knows.  Maybe someday we’ll re-incorporate dipping the sop in our communion celebrations, but until then, when you think of Jesus, remember how much He loves you…even when you don’t treat Him right.  Then, treat others they way He treats you.

If you’d like to know more about Jesus and how to have a relationship with Him that will set you free, feel free to contact me at mrjdobbs@gmail.com.  Happy Easter!


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