Every year I deal with the same remarks by well-intended but misinformed Christians: they believe observing Passover is legalism or Judaizing.
Many people are simply concerned that celebrating the holidays may be an “earning salvation” type of works belief. They are afraid of the negative term “law” and being labeled “legalistic”. They do not fully understand that the biblical holidays are a beautiful picture of God’s grace, His unmerited favor.
7 Ways to Handle Passover Criticism
Ask for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Ask God to direct your paths.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6).
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies. (Psalm 25:10).
2. Clarify and Explain
- Explain that you are not celebrating the feast to earn favor but to learn about God.
- The biblical holidays are a picture of God’s grace! The grace of God shines forth clearly in these holidays and their stories of blessing, preservation, promise, and fulfillment.
- God delivered an undeserving people before they entered into His covenant. Before God gave Israel the law, He gave them Himself as their redeemer when he liberated them from Egypt.
- He didn’t send the Ten Commandments and tell them to obey them before He saved them. He first saved them, then sent His law in response. His instruction (law) is His guidance for our own good, for a good life here on Earth.
- The Passover story, and other biblical holidays, show God’s grace in action. Obedience is a response to grace. Grace cannot be bought; it is given. Obedience is the fruit of grace. God wants us to tell the story of His grace to our children.
3. Encourage them to Look to Scripture
As with any other problem in our lives, the answer is found in Scripture. Encourage your critics to look up Bible verses about Passover and study it for themselves.
Because my people hath forgotten me, they have burned incense to vanity, and they have caused them to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths, to walk in paths, in a way not cast up; (Jeremian 18:15).
Concerning the words of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer. Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not (Psalm17:4-5)
4. Remember, it is a Spiritual Battle
Do not take it personally. It is a spiritual battle.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12).
5. Strive for Unity
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Herman, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1–3).
6. Give the Glory to God
Humble yourself. This is the Lord’s battle not yours. Don’t try to win just to win. (I Corinthians 10:31, I Peter 4:11).
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God (Ephesians 5:18–21).
7. Encourage and Uplift One Another
And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24–25).
What About the Unbiblical Holidays?
The same people that balk at me having a Passover seder don’t think twice about serving ham on Easter and looking for bunny eggs!
Why is it that the same people who are so concerned about legalism don’t ever question things involved in traditional Easter celebrations like rabbits, eggs, and fertility goddess worship? (Google history of Easter for info).
If it’s such a bad thing to observe the Jewish feast days, why did Jesus and the disciples observe them? Paul and Jesus’ disciples all continued to observe the holy days after Jesus arose.
I try to answer the questions of the critics in love. We should always meet any opposition as a chance to lovingly share God’s Word.
No matter what we do or who we are—if we are obedient, if we give sacrificially, if we give our all—it means absolutely nothing if we lack love for the Father or for one another.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity [love], I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal (1 Corinthians 13).
A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
The above is a tiny sampling from the book A Family Guide to the Biblical Holidays
“In 34 years of publishing Messianic Catalogs we have never seen such a creative contribution to the body of Messiah …”
Manny and Sandra Brotman, founder of The Messianic Jewish Movement International
Having this book at your fingertips is like having a library on the Bible holidays!