Challenge after challenge presented themselves before our Passover celebration this year. So many obstacles but also so many solutions and provisions came at the hands of the Almighty and the generosity of the members of our group. The Spirit of YHVH was definitely among us as preparations were made and hearts were moved to give and serve. Almost forty people were crammed into a cozy house as we worked in the cold to prepare the fire and the slaughtering area. We had experienced a surge of growth just before the Passover season and our hearts were joyful to have new brothers and sisters join us.
The evening before the event, I returned to my home after our Shabbat Torah study and was overwhelmed by a foreboding feeling as if something terrible was going to happen. My heart and gut burned with a dark stress that caused me to inquire about the well-being of everyone I knew on Facebook and in the house. A word crept into my spirit that continued to echo for the rest of the night: Betrayal. I felt as if someone I cared deeply about would do something horrible to myself or my family. I slept an uneasy sleep the rest of the night and awoke the next morning to a blanket of snow that continued to gather and build. I thanked YHVH that the snow storm was not as crushing as the local weathermen had predicted. I scurried around town on a few errands and then made my way to the house where we would celebrate.
I was warmly greeted by the congregation and was so excited to see that my feelings were not an indicator of danger for them. I slipped into my winter hunting suit and prepared to continue the process of preparation. I told my friends about the feeling I experienced the night before and was shown concern and reassurance that everything was fine. We stood around the cooking fire laughing and enjoying the snowy day. Our children played and horsed around in the snow.
A truck pulled up to the house with our lamb in the bed. My heart surged with anxiety as I knew the job of slaughtering was about the commence. As an animal lover, this was going to be especially painful for me. It was one thing to eat an animal, but it was quite another to take the animals life with your own hand. We as the spoiled rich kids of the planet have been so far removed from the act of taking life to eat, that it is shocking when it presents itself. I asked a member of the group to read from the Bible as our congregation gathered around our lamb. I stood with a knife in my hand listening and preparing myself to cut the innocent animal's throat. The words being read aloud rained on me and my hands began to shake. "Above his head they placed the written notice stating the charge against him,THIS IS YESHUA THE KING OF THE JEWS..." I tried to steady myself for the coming moment but there was no comfort. “Eli! Eli! L’mah sh’vaktani? (My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?)...." I closed my eyes and worked up the courage. "But Yeshua, again crying out in a loud voice, yielded up his spirit." I placed the knife on the other side of the lamb's neck and with agonizing pressure, pulled the knife back toward myself. I felt the knife sink in and then slide against bone. Then the sound of liquid hitting the metal bowl began. The men holding the lamb steady gently and patiently allowed to lay down.
I turned my back to the people and gave into the weight of my own emotion as my heart sank and my spirit ached. Tears flowed down my cheeks and the cold made my nose run. I turned back to the people with the evident emotion on my face and said, "Our joy comes with a price, and that price is blood." I pointed to the lamb and said, "He has done nothing worthy of death, just as our Messiah had done nothing worthy of death. This hurts. Sacrifice is supposed to hurt." The lamb attempted to stand up as the final moments of his life began to dwindle. His eyes closed and he sank to the ground.
The moment of the slaughter was made all the more emotional for me because of the dread and sadness I felt the night before. Our joy in our YHVH and in our Yeshua was born out of betrayal, terror, agony, and death. His sacrifice hurts. The moment that it ceases to hurt is the day that one must question his level of love for the Savior. To think of our Messiah dripping with blood and sweat as He suffered and died should be enough to bring us to tears and to our knees. I experienced a taste of the feeling of betrayal that came from the heart of one of our Messiah's friends and students. We as believers tend to gloss over Judas's betrayal as something the was deemed necessary by our Messiah, but I cannot imagine that the sadness was any less powerful when Yeshua turned away from Judas to be taken to the Sanhedrin.
I wish you all so much blessing this holiday season. However, I wish that the account of our Messiah's death would become so real for you that you weep for Him when you think of this hour of His life. And I pray that you experience the full joy that Mary would have felt in the moment that she realized that our Messiah had conquered death itself and brought us into the covenant of peace.
Cole Davis and Other Contributors