Thursday, February 03, 2005

Standardized Rehearsed Scripts

Jews for Jesus certainly could win churches over with presentations. There seemed to be wonderful smiles on the faces of the speakers. People loved the excitement JFJ brought to churches.

People attending these presentations did not know that the entire Christ in the Passover presentation was a fifteen-page rehearsed script that had been drilled into the missionary.

The missionary had to know each part word for word and was not allowed to change anything. Even the set-up of the table, where the person stood in certain sections of the presenatation, and how his or her voice was used were standardized. There were even standard eye, head, and arm movements and standard jokes!

Not allowing any creativity or individuality in these presentations took away any joy in sharing the work of Jews for Jesus with churches. For every missionary, eventually, doing the presentation became tedious.

Many of the JFJ missionaries were very, very talented and creative people. They could have presented a Christ in the Passover presentation or another subject beautifully, but were not given permission to deviate at all.


Anonymous said...

I was thrilled to learn a script. I was JfJ staff with no Biblical training, and with a rehearsed script I could wow and astound the professional Christians who have had ten times my experience, in the Faith.

Anonymous said...

My first time spending a three week in some state giving the Christ in the Passover presentation that I was tested on and had to memorize word for word, I had a pastor come up to me and tell me how impressed he was with my knowledge of Jewish culture, history and my ability to merge them into the Passover presentation.

I had been with Jews for Jesus for about two month at that point, came from a secular Jewish background with little or no Jewish upbringing, and the ONLY Jewish or Christian education I'd received had been in those first two months of a year long training program. The subject of passover and the issues brought up in the presentation never came up in any of those classes during those two months or after.

I told the pastor that I'd memorized a script that every Jews for Jesus is required to quote in front of a senior missionary word for word without one error. I also explained my background.

I kept in touch with that pastor to this day. He's never had Jews for Jesus come back to any church he has ever been to and encourages his pastor friends to ignor Jews for Jesus and avoid their arrogant deception that is focussed on scamming Christians into supporting a lie.

Anonymous said...

Below is the entire Christ in the Passover script.


Shalom, my name is _______ and I am with the Jews for Jesus ministry. Tonight, I would like to share with you a presentation which is called "Christ in the Passover". Now, ask any Jewish boy or girl who the hero of Passover is and, after giving credit to the Lord, they'll certainly tell you "Moses'. And that's true, but it is not the whole truth. You see, if you ask any Jewish boy or girl who knows the Messiah that same question, then they'll tell you "Jesus". Now, perhaps you are wondering, "What's Jesus got to do with the Passover? Passover is Jewish" Well so was Jesus. And not only did He celebrate the Passover every year while he dwelt among us on the earth, but I think that He is clearly pictured in all of the symbols in the Passover and in the story of Passover itself. For the message of Passover is the promise of redemption, and the story of Passover is the story of our liberation from bondage. Tonight, as I explain this traditional Passover setting, it is my hope that you will see it as more than an explanation of a commemorative meal. But, that you will view it as I view it--as an object lesson of the life and mission of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Look closely, because I believe that you will see His death, resurrection, and the promise of His return.

Turn with me in your Bibles to the twenty second chapter of Luke. Beginning with the seventh verse ( read vss. 7, 8, 13)

The first night of Passover begins a seven day holiday know as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and during that time we eat nothing that contains any leaven or yeast. Why no leaven? Well, throughout scripture, leaven is frequently used as a symbol of sin. In olden times, a small piece of leaven was used to ferment an entire portion of dough. It was the leaven that caused the the dough to rise--to become puffed up--just as sin causes us to become puffed up in our own eyes. So, during this time, we eat no leaven as a way of saying we want to break the daily sin cycle in our own lives.

That's why, in some orthodox Jewish homes, for six weeks prior to the Passover, the house undergoes a complete spring cleaning. we remove all of the cakes, cookies, breads, cereals, baking soda--anything that has any leaven in it. Now this is generally the work of the woman of the house. But did you notice? Luke says that Jesus sent two men to prepare the Passover. Perhaps he sent two men because in Judaism, it's the man who has standing before God; not only when it comes to praying, but when it comes to ceremonial preparation as well. (Thinking) So, if you think about it...........that means the man should be doing the cleaning during these six weeks. (Looking at Bible) There's got to be a loophole here.......Ah, I remember now. Our Rabbi's have come up with a terrific solution to the problem. They explain it like this. Now true, the house is spotless because the woman has spent the last six weeks cleaning and removing every speck of leaven. Well, almost every speck, that is. You see, she's taken a few crumbs, and she's hidden them somewhere in the house. And, it's up to the man to find them. So, the night before Passover, he returns home and he takes up some rather strange looking cleaning tools. They include a napkin, a wooden spoon, and a feather. and he goes on what we call "Bedikat Chometz", or, "The search for the leaven". Now where could those crumbs be? Anywhere. In the basement. Up in the attic. Behind the refrigerator. Anywhere. But, fortunately she's been good enough to hid them exactly where she hid them the year before. And the year before that. And the year before that.....

Finally the husband discovers the crumbs. And with a very steady hand, he sweeps them into the spoon with the feather. Since the crumbs represent sin the man isn't permitted to touch them. Instead he wraps them up in as napkin, and takes them down to a large bonfire in the courtyard of the synagogue. All the men of the congregation have gathered there, and each throws his bundle of leaven into the flames. Then he returns home where he proudly proclaims, "May all manner of leaven which I have neither seen nor removed be considered null and void and as the dust of the earth" Omain!! The house has been cleansed and the home is now ready for the Passover celebration.

Our ancestors were instructed to eat the Passover meal with their loins girded, with their sandals on their feet, and with their staves in hand, ready to go at a moments notice. But, we relax and recline on pillows. You see, in Middle eastern society only the free could recline at dinner, only the redeemed.

On Passover the head of the household puts on special ceremonial garments. He wears a white robe called a kittle, because in Jewish tradition, white is the color of royalty.

Jewish men often cover their heads as a sign of respect before God, but tonight, instead of wearing the usual yarmulka or skull cap, the head of the house wears a mitre. Royal robes and the symbol of a crown, because tonight, the head of Passover is a king.

It's nearly time to start the Passover Seder. "Seder" is a Hebrew word meaning "order" because the Passover celebration follows a specific order of service. That order is recorded here in this book called an Haggadah, which means, "The Telling" because it tells the story of our liberation from slavery and bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt.

Well, I see everything is about ready. There is a customary greeting at Passover. "Let all who are hungry come and eat." Now, we aren't really going to serve a great meal here tonight because, to tell you the truth, Pastor_________ couldn't convince me that you had a kosher kitchen. Just the same, the invitation stands: Come, celebrate the Passover with us!!

The Passover begins with the lighting of the candles, and this is the duty of the woman of the house. After lighting the candles she recites a traditional Hebrew prayer......Baruch atah Adonai elohenu melech ha'alam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvoh tov vitzivanu l'hadlich ner shel Pesach ...Blessed art Thou, o Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctifies us, and has commanded us to light the Passover candles. It is very fitting that the woman kindles these lights for it reminds us that the Messiah, the Light of the World, would come not from the seed of man, but from the seed of woman and by the will of God. As the prophet Isaiah foretold, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bare a son, and she shall call His name Immanuel...a light to light the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.

Passover isn't just a meal, it's a banquet. And, it isn't just a service, its a ceremony!! And while a meal and a service might take just one or two hours the Passover celebration may take as many as four hours.

During that time, each adult will drink from his cup and refill it four times. The first cup is called the Kiddush cup, or Cup of Sanctification. Then comes the cup of plagues. Then the third cup, the Cup of Redemption, which is the focal point of the entire evening. And finally, the cup of Hallel--the cup of praise. It's with this first cup, the Cup of Sanctification, that the host offers a blessing for all the rest of the service to follow. Holding the Kiddish Cup aloft, he offers praise and thanks to God Almighty King of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine. "Baruch atah Adonai, eloheynu melech ha'olam boreah p'ri ha gefen. Omain."

The service has begun, and the youngest person present comes forward to ask the meaning of Passover. He asks the traditional four questions which are found in the Haggadah. And the first one goes like this...Ma nistanah halilah ha seh michol ha leylot? Which means "Why is this night different from all other nights?

Those of us who know the story of Passover explain: "This is because of what the Lord did for me when He brought me out of the land of Egypt, out of the House of Bondage; when He redeemed me with a mighty and and an outstretched arm." Redemption is the very heart of Passover. But Passover imparts more than God's message of redemption. It imparts God's means of redemption--through the sacrifice of a Passover Lamb. My ancestors were instructed to take a spotless lamb, to roast it whole, without breaking any of its bones, and to apply its blood to the doorposts of our homes; first, to the top of the doorpost, the lintel. And then, to the two side posts.

Because of our obedience to God's command, and because of our faith in the effectiveness of God's provisions, we were spared the ravages of the tenth plague to befall the land of Egypt. Because, when the angel of death saw the blood on those doors, death was forced to pass over. That's where we get the name. Passover. In Hebrew, "Pesach". The holiday which commemorates the time when death passed over the houses of Israel because of the blood. The blood of the lamb. The Passover lamb. What a mighty act of redemption! But what a picture of a greater redemption through the sacrifice of another Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God, the Messiah Jesus. For just as none of the bones of those first lambs were broken, so none of Jesus' bones were broken in His death. And just as my ancestors had to apply in faith the blood of those lambs to the doorposts of our homes, each one of us must apply in faith the blood of the Messiah to the doorposts of our hearts. I don't think it was a coincidence that when the blood of the first lambs dripped down from the lintel, it formed the sign of a cross.

The child asks another question: "Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?" And we explain that our ancestors, in their haste to leave Egypt, had to take their bread with them while it was still flat.

One of the items found on the Passover table is this one called the Matzah Tosh or Unity. Inside it are three layers of unleavened bread, each one separated from the others by some cloth. The head of the household removes the middle layer, recites a blessing, and then breaks it in two. He sets one half aside, and he gives the other half a special name. The afikomen. Try saying that with me, all right? That's not a Hebrew word, by the way. That's a Greek word, and it means, "That which comes after." Well, that's precisely what happens, because the afikomen is wrapped in a white cloth and then hidden from view. Buried. No one else at the table knows where the afikomen is hidden, but later on they'll have to find it or the service won't be concluded.

The child asks two more questions: "Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs instead of all kinds of herbs?" And, "Why on this night do we dip the sop in salt water twice?" Let me explain by showing you this....(Holding up plate) This is a seder plate, and despite its appearance, it's not used for devilled eggs! Symbolic piece of food from the Passover service is placed into each one of these compartments, and all of these symbols are part of the picture of redemption.

The first item is called KARPAS, or greens, and it's usually parsley or lettuce. These greens represent life, and before we eat them we dip them into salt water which represents the tears of life. So by dipping we are reminded that a life without redemption is a life immersed in tears.

This is HAZARETH, the root of the bitter herb, and we generally use an onion or a horseradish root. This symbol reminds us that the root of life is bitter, as it certainly was for our ancestors. in Egypt.

And this is MOROR, the bitter herb itself. Freshly ground horseradish. Now, we're supposed to eat about a tablespoon full of horseradish. Any volunteers? Do you know what happens when you eat a tablespoon full of horseradish? You cry. You have little choice in the matter. This is between the horseradish and you sinuses, and the horseradish usually wins. Like the hazareth, the maror brings to our minds how bitter life is without redemption.

By way of contrast, we have the CHAROSETH and this represents the mortor that our ancestors used when they had to make bricks for Pharaoh. It's made up of chopped apples, raisins, honey, nuts, and it tastes delicious! Now, you may be wondering why such a sweet mixture is used to represent such bitter toil. Don't worry, our rabbis have a terrific answer. They explain that even the bitterest labor is sweetened with the promise of redemption.

This is not an Easter egg! This is called the CHAGIGAH, which was the name given to the daily temple sacrifice in Jerusalem. We roast the egg, and that turns it brown. The chagigah is a token of grief to our people; grief over the destruction of the second temple. During the seder, it is broken open, sliced, given out to each person at the table, and then dipped in salt water, which represents.......(ask) right, the tears of life. But it's not only a token of grief, because it's also a symbol of resurrection.

The last item on the seder plate is called ZEROAH. It's the shank bone of a lamb. Passover is also known as the Feast of the Passover Lamb, and yet at Passover lamb was not served. You see, the lambs that used to be eaten at Passover were the Passover sacrifices. But in 70 AD, the Temple was destroyed in Jerusalem, and so was the altar where the sacrifices were performed. From that time to this day, no sacrifices have been made, and so, no lamb is served at Passover. Instead, this Zeroah, like the egg, the chagigah, reminds us of sacrifices which are no longer offered.

The presence of these two elements, the egg and the shank bone, raises an interesting question. With no temple, with no altar, with no sacrifice, how is it possible to atone for our sins? For the Law of Moses states very clearly.. "I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement". Some people, both Jewish and Gentile, might say, "perhaps that was important two thousand years ago, but it doesn't have any bearing on our lives today, does it?" Doesn't it? If not, then why does the haggadah instruct us to take the story of Passover personally, as though each one us were being brought out of Egypt? We think God wants us to take the story of redemption personally because each one of us needs to be redeemed. But with no sacrifice, how is redemption possible? With no lamb of God, how?

Once nearly two thousand years ago, there was a Jewish man named Yochannon. You might know him best as John the Baptist. And one day, while baptizing in the river Jordan, his gaze fell upon the form of another man, and he declared......"Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" That's how. Not through the sacrifice of passover lambs, but through the sacrifice of the Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God.

It's now time for the second cup which is call the Cup of Plagues. A full cup is a symbol of complete joy. At this point we pour out some of the contents of this cup as we remember the ten plagues which fell upon the Egyptians. We can learn quite a lesson from this cup. Pharaoh defied the will of God. He was repeatedly told what God wanted him to do, but he hardened his heart and said, "No, I will not". How often do we know the will of God. How often do we know what God wants us to do but say, "No, I cannot, I will not". Let me give you some good Jewish advice. If God is telling you to do something, then do it.

But though we mourn the loss of the Egyptians, Passover is still a night of rejoicing because the angel of death passed over our ancestors homes. And not only because the Lord redeemed us from the land of Egypt, but because we have been redeemed from an even greater bondage through our faith in the Messiah of Israel, the Messiah Jesus. Through Him we have passed from death over to life.

It is at this point in the service when we would traditionally break for that great meal I was telling you about. But since we are not going to be eating together, I thought I would take just a moment to tell you a little bit about the ministry of Jews for Jesus and to let you know how you can be involved with our ministry tonight.


After the meal comes the third cup, the cup of redemption. This is actually the focal point of the ceremony, but the service can't proceed just yet because something is missing. Earlier, something was broken, buried, and now needs to be brought back. Does anyone remember what it is? The afikomen. All the children search for the afikomen, but only one will discover where it has been hidden. once it is found it is returned to the head of the household. Then it is broken, and each person receives a piece about the size of an olive. This olive size piece is taken with the third cup, the cup of redemption.

Does this sound familiar? Well, it should; for this is the origin of our communion service. And not only that, but consider this, where else can we find a clearer picture of our Messiah Jesus than in this custom concerning the afikomen which is broken, buried, and then brought back. Even the matzah, which is unleavened--asymbol of sinless nature--speaks of Jesus. Our Rabbi's have set down very specific regulations concerning the appearance of the matzah if it is to be found suitable for use. In the first place it must be stripped. Jesus was stripped. For the prophet says, "And with His stripes we are healed". In he second place it must be pierced. Jesus was pierced. for the prophet says, "He was pierced through for our transgressions.

But we can see our Messiah not only in the afikomen, but in the matzah tosh as well. Do you remember the pouch, the unity, containing the three layers of matzah from which the afikomen is drawn? There's quite a bit of disagreement among our rabbis about the meaning of this unity--this mysterious three-in-one.

Some teach that the matzah tosh represents the unity of the three patriarchs of Israel; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then why is the middle matzah broken, buried, and brought back? Others say that the matzah tosh represents the the three divisions of worship in the ancient kingdom; the priests, the Levites, and the people of Israel. Then why is the middle matzah broken, buried, and then brought back? They don't know. And none of these explanations give a satisfactory answer.

But, why even search for explanations? Why not just accept the answer that is suggested so clearly in the very design of the matzah tosh itself? There are three layers here and yet they form a unity, a tri-unity. The Hebrew word for just such a unity is echad. And it brings to our minds the words of God given to us through Moses who declared, "SHEMA.....". "HEAR........." At Passover, the head of the household removes the middle layer of this unity--this echad. It is made visible while the other two remain hidden from our view.

"In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And He came unto His own, but His own received Him not. But to as many as received Him to them He gave the right to become the children of God even to those who believe on His name".

We Jews who know the Messiah know also that the unity of the matzah tosh bears witness to the unity of one God revealed in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Why is the middle matzah broken, buried, and then brought back? I think because Jesus was broken, buried, and then brought back.

"This is My body which is broken for you". And you. And you. And all of us. "Do this in remembrance of Me".

Now comes the third cup; the cup of redemption. The fruit of the vine at Passover is always red, to remind us, our rabbis say, of the precious blood of that first Passover lamb. That lamb was sacrificed so that we might be redeemed--bought back--from bondage and slavery to Pharaoh.

In the same way, the blood of another Passover lamb, the Messiah Jesus, was sacrificed in order to buy us back, to redeem us, from slavery and bondage to sin. It was concerning this very cup--the cup of redemption--the cup taken after dinner--that the Messiah Jesus said, "This cup which is poured our for you is the new covenant in my blood".

The very new covenant promised to us by God through the prophet Jeremiah when he declared...."Behold the days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them. But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel. After those days I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people".

The cup of redemption and the broken piece of afikomen are taken together in remembrance of the blood and the body of the Passover Lamb. Our Passover Lamb is Jesus.

And we finally come to the last cup, the cup of praise. All of you know a Hebrew word, but I wonder if you all know that it is Hebrew. The word is "hallelujah" which means, "praise the Lord". The first part of that word is "hallel" which means "praise", and this is the cup of praise.

But, there is a final cup which I didn't tell you about. It is called the cup of Elijah. In fact in many Jewish homes a complete place setting is left empty for the prophet Elijah. Why? Because the prophet Malachi tells us that before the Messiah comes he will be preceded by the return of Elijah the Prophet, Eliahu HaNavi. And each year at Passover a child goes to the door and opens it wide, hoping that the prophet will accept the invitation, enter the home, and announce the coming of the Messiah.

But, we know that Eliyahu, Elijah, has returned. For when Jesus spoke of the prophet John, He said of him, "if you care to accept it, he himself is Elijah, who was to come." The prophet, the fore-runner, has come. And so has the Messiah.