Passover Seder Guide

This Holy Week, we invite you to join us in celebrating Passover with your family members, roommates, friends, or other community. Read below why we’re celebrating Passover and find our Seder meal guide.

What Is Passover?

For one week every year, Jewish people around the world pause to remember God’s faithfulness, deliverance, and redemption as told in the book of Exodus, the Passover.  God commanded the people of Israel to remember — to remember that He is the God who sees and fights against injustice, does miracles, parts the sea in half, and leads the hearts of rulers.  Once we were slaves, but now we are free; there is nothing too far from His grasp to be made new.  

As Christians celebrating Holy Week, we are also called to remember. We remember and celebrate that Jesus is alive! Our Lord lived on this earth and identifies with our grief, pain, and injustice. We remember that because He died on the cross and rose again, defeating all sin and death, we are free. We remember that He is making all things new. 

Why Celebrate Passover Now?

Our world is filled with great losses and injustices and, as we wait for deliverance, it is more important than ever to pause and remember. To remember that the same God who delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt also sent His Son to redeem humanity from sin and death. And He is the same God who is Lord over our world at this moment. We hope that as you pause to remember, your faith will be strengthened. He is still the God who redeems and fights on our behalf, and His work work is not yet done.

Passover Seder Guide

Table of Contents


The Seder or Passover Meal is a tradition, a command from God, kept by the Jewish people to remember their deliverance from slavery in Egypt as told in the book of Exodus. As a Jewish man himself, Jesus kept this tradition with his disciples (Mark 14, John 13, Matthew 26). In fact, the Christian tradition of Communion is taken from a Seder meal (Luke 22:19-20).

As you go through this meal, with your household, friends, or family, remember: This is not just about replicating a perfect Passover Seder. It is about acknowledging, remembering, what Passover is about. This guide is not a traditional Passover Haggadah (Hebrew for “the telling,” which is what the Passover liturgy is called). If you have a desire and capacity to really lean into this remembrance, use the resources included here to try new recipes and experiences!

For those of us who don’t have the resource, capacity, desire, time, or ability, you are still invited to remember and celebrate what God has done with as much or as little preparation as you need.

In the following guide, you’ll find:

  1. Materials suggested/needed for the meal. But remember: get creative! Don’t have a lamb bone!? Cut one out of paper! Don’t have candles!? Get that Netflix Yule log going! Feel free to do nothing for the meal and simply read through the script over your own dinner because the ultimate point is to remember.
  2. A script for you to follow/read. Traditionally, Passover is a communal experience. Consider going through this script with your household or host others at your home and invite them to experience this time with you.

Remember to engage this meal thoughtfully and prayerfully. Aim to understand and reflect on its rich symbolism. Acknowledge the Jewish heritage of Jesus and his first disciples, as well as the context their story provides for Jesus’ death and resurrection. 

May this be an encouraging blessing to you, your home, and your community!

Traditional Materials Needed for the Meal

The Meal

If you are able to share this meal with others, choose a Host and a Hostess who will read and do these parts in the guide. Also, identify the youngest person present to read and do the Youngest part. In the role of Reader, take turns rotating through your group. In the role of All, the whole group reads aloud.

The first portion of the Passover seder will involve only eating the symbolic, ceremonial foods while recounting the story of God’s redemption work. Eating the rest of the meal will commence in “The Passover Supper” section.

Lighting the Candles

Host: As we light the candles, we pray for the Spirit of God to be with us and to illuminate the great significance of this Passover celebration.

Hostess: (Lighting the candles) Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who has set us apart by his Word, and in whose name we light the festival lights.

Reader: 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 (Genesis 3:15).

The Four Cups

Traditionally, the cups are filled with red “fruit of the vine” in order to represent the blood needed to atone for sin.

Reader: As the Lord spoke these words of encouragement to Moses, he revealed to his servant the plan by which he would redeem the children of Israel.

All: “I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians… rescue you from their oppression… redeem you with an outstretched arm… I will take you as my people, and I will be your God…” (Exodus 6:6-7)

The First Cup of Sanctification

Reader: Let’s lift our first cup together to bless the name of the Lord!

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who create the fruit of the vine.

Reader: As he began his final Passover seder, Jesus the Messiah shared a cup with with his disciples and said to them:

Reader: “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” (Luke 22:17-18).

Reader: Let us all drink of this, the first cup of the passover.

The Washing

A significant part of the Passover Seder is acknowledging areas of our lives that need to be purified.

Host: (Lifting the basin of water) Let us now offer the bowl of water to one another and share in this hand-washing ceremony.

Pass the bowl of water along with a hand towel. Rinse and dry your fingertips.

Reader: Let us also reflect upon the gesture of humility and the lesson of commitment made by Jesus the Messiah. On that night, he laid aside his garments and prepared a towel.

All: “Then he poured some water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples and wipe them off with the towel wrapped around him. He said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you?’ You call me ‘Rabbi’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because I am. ‘Now if I, the Lord and Rabbi, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet” (John 13:5, 12-14).

The Four Questions

This section obeys the command to testify of God’s faithfulness and deliverance . In Exodus 12:26-27, “When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony?’ Tell them…”

Youngest: Why is tonight different from all other nights?

The Seder Plate

By partaking of the objects on the seder plate—matzah, bitter herbs, parsley or greens , salt water, and charoset—we answer all four questions.

Host: It is a joyful privilege to answer the four questions and to recall the great works of our good and faithful God.

The Matzah

Reader: On all other nights we eat bread with leaven, but on Passover we only eat matzah, unleavened bread. When the people of Israel fled Egypt, they did not have time for their dough to rise. Instead, the heat of the desert sun baked the bread flat. In addition to this, the Bible teaches us that leaven symbolizes sin.

All: “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” (1 Corinthians 5:6-7)

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

Traditionally, there are three pieces of matzah wrapped together on the table, the host would remove the middle piece and say this blessing over it. There are various interpretations and explanations for these three pieces. Rabbis call these three a Unity—some believe a unity of the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), while others a unity of worship (priests, Levites, and the people of Israel). We who know the Jesus, the Messiah, can see in this the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three in one.)

Host: (Lifting the plate of matzah) This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need share in the hope of the Passover.

We recognize the significance of the middle piece, the son, being taken, broken, buried, and soon returned. The Host holds matzah in front of a candle to see how the matzah is striped and to see the light piercing through it.

Host: See how the matzah is striped.

All: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)

Host: See how the matzah is pierced.

All: “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zechariah 12:10)

Host: (Removing and breaking the middle matzah in half) Just as the middle piece of bread is broken, the Messiah Jesus was also persecuted and broken. One half is now called the afikomen—”the coming one.” It is wrapped in a white cloth just as the Messiah Jesus’ body was wrapped for burial.

Host wraps the afikomen in a napkin or cloth. All others present close their eyes as the Host hides the wrapped afikomen in the room.

Everyone takes a piece of matzah.

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

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who brings forth the bread from the earth.

The Bitter Herbs (Horseradish)

Host: On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on Passover we eat only maror, bitter herbs. As sweet as our lives are today, let us still remember the suffering and bitterness of life in slavery in Egypt.

Host lifts the horseradish.

All: “…the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.” (Exodus 1:12-14)

Host: As we take the horseradish with a piece of matzah, let us allow the bitter taste to cause us to shed tears to identify with the sorrow of the children of Israel thousands of years ago.

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who has set us apart by this Word and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.

Everyone takes enough horseradish to shed a tear.

Dipping Twice

Host: On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once, but tonight we dip them twice.

Host lifts up the parsley, or greens, and bowl of salt water.

Host: Passover comes in the springtime as the earth grows greener with life. This parsley represents the life God created and sustains. But life in Egypt for the enslaved people of Israel was painful and full of suffering and tears, which are represented in this salt water. We dip the parsley in the salt water to remember that the good life God makes is sometimes immersed in suffering.

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

Everyone takes a sprig of parsley and dips into salt water and then eats it. 

Host lifts the charoset (sweet apple mixture).

Host: The people of Israel toiled to make treasure cities for Pharaoh, working on brick and clay. The charoset, made from apples, honey, and nuts, is a quite literal picture of the mortar they used to build. Let’s again take some horseradish onto a piece of matzah and then also dip it into the sweet charoset.

All lift the matzah with horseradish and charoset.

All: We dip the horseradish into charoset to remind ourselves that even the most bitter of circumstances can be sweetened by the hope we have in God.

Everyone eats together.


Host: On all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we eat reclining, in a state of leisurely freedom. But the first Passover was observed by a people enslaved.

All: Once we were slaves, but now we are free!

Reader: The children of Israel were instructed to eat the Passover in haste, their loins girded, their staffs in their hands, their sandals on their feet, awaiting departure from the bondage of Egypt. Today we recline and freely enjoy the Passover at our leisure.

All: The Messiah said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

The Passover Story

We recount the story of God and the people of Israel, and identifying Jesus’ connection to this history.

Host: The story of the Passover is a story of miracles, a story of redemption, and a story of the great power of God to deliver his people from evil.

Reader 1: The Lord had promised the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Yet their descendants were in Egypt thriving. The Pharaoh came to fear them: “The foreigners in our midst are prospering and have grown numerous. Suppose they join with our enemies and turn against us.” Pharaoh, in his fear, exerted control. He imposed harsh rules and painful slavery. Still God blessed Israel, and they grew in strength and number.

Reader 2: Pharaoh’s fear grew. He ordered all Israelite baby boys to be drowned in the Nile River. One couple hid their baby. Eventually entrusting him to God, they set him in a basket and placed it in the Nile River to float away downstream. Pharaoh’s daughter found the baby, took pity, and chose to raise him as her own son. She called him Moses, which means “drawn from the water.”

Reader 3: Moses grew and learned about the suffering of his people. One day, in a burst of rage, he lost control of himself and killed an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew slave. Moses fled and became a shepherd in the land of Midian—far, far away from his suffering people.

Reader 4: The Lord, however, saw the suffering of the people of Israel in Egypt. He heard their cries. God rose up a deliverer to lead them out of bondage. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush, which miraculously never burned away in the fire. Moses listened as God charged him to deliver his people from Pharaoh. Frightened, Moses still agreed to bring God’s message to Pharaoh: “Let My people go!”

The Second Cup of Plagues

A completely full cup represents complete joy. We empty our cup in order acknowledge that’s our joy is not complete because of the suffering the 10 plagues brought. When instructed, take one finger and dip it in the cup and then onto the napkin 10 times, one for each plague.

Reader: At God’s command, Moses returned from the wilderness to the home of Pharaoh, where he was raised. God warned Moses that he would encounter resistance.

All: “But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.” (Exodus 3:19-20)

Reader: God sent many plagues. With each plague, Pharaoh hardened his heart—even as the Egyptians were struck with pain and disease. God finally pierced the heart of Pharaoh with the tenth and worst plague.

All: “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.” (Exodus 12:12)

Host: Now let us fill our cups. A full cup is a symbol of joy, such as this joy of recalling God’s remarkable deliverance. But let us also remember the great cost at which redemption was purchased. Lives were sacrificed to save God’s people from the slavery of Egypt. But a far greater price purchased our redemption from the slavery of sin—the sacrificial death of Jesus.

Hold holds glass in one hand, and dips little finger in the glass—removing one drop at a time onto a napkin.

Host: With each plague we name, dip a little finger into your cup and place the droplet on a napkin.

All: Blood. Frogs. Lice. Beasts. Cattle disease. Boils. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. Death of the firstborn.

Do not drink from the glass at this time, but wait until Dayenu.

The Passover Lamb

We recall the original Passover lamb, and we see its connection to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

All: We have eaten the matzah to remind us of the haste in which the people of Israel fled Egypt. We have tasted the horseradish to remind us of the bitterness of slavery.

Host: (Lifting the bone from the seder plate) This bone represents the lamb whose blood marked the houses of the Israelites, who were obeying God’s command:

Reader 1: “…on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household… The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.” (Exodus 12:3, 5-7)

Reader 2: “That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast… This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover… The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” (Exodus 12:8, 11, 13)

Reader 3: We are reminded that it was the Lord himself who redeemed and delivered the people of Israel from slavery.

All: “So the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.” (Deuteronomy 26:8)

Host and All reading Exodus 12:12 in call and response.

Host: “On that same night I will pass through Egypt…” 

All: I, and not an angel.

Host: “and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals…”

All: I, and not a seraph.

Host: “and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.”

All: I, and not a messenger.

Host: “I am the Lord.”

All: I myself and none other.

Reader: Since the Temple no longer stands in Jerusalem, and temple sacrifices are no longer performed, lamb is traditionally not eaten at Passover. This bone remains to remind us of the sacrificial lamb.

The Egg

Host: (Lifting up the hard boiled egg) Likewise, an egg has been added to the seder. The egg is a symbol of mourning to represent the destruction of the second Temple. It is also a symbol of new birth and eternal life. The egg is brown to represent the burnt offerings made in the Temple for the atoning of sin.  We dip it in salt water to remind us that our sin grieves the heart of God.

Host cracks the egg into a dish, and all can take a piece, dip it into the salt water and eat.

All: We who have trusted in Jesus, the Messiah, believe he is the Lamb of God, our Passover, who takes away the sins of the world. Like the ancients Israelites, we know it was God himself, not an angel, God himself, not a seraph, God himself, not a messenger—who achieved final redemption from sin and death. God himself, through Jesus, takes away the sin of the world.


Traditionally Dayenu is a joyful song, sung to remember all that God did for the people of Israel.

Reader: How great is God’s goodness to us! For each of His acts of mercy and kindness we declare dayenu, which means “it would have been enough.”

Reader: If He had brought us out from Egypt but had not carried out judgments against them.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had carried out judgments against them but not against their idols.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had destroyed their idols but had not killed their first-born.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had killed their first-born but had not given us their wealth.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had given us their wealth but had not split the sea for us.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If he had split the sea for us but had not taken us through it on dry land.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had taken us through the sea on dry land but had not drowned our oppressors in it.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had drowned our oppressors in it but had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years but had not fed us manna.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had fed us manna but had not given us the Sabbath.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had given us the Sabbath but had not brought us before Mount Sinai.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had brought us before Mount Sinai but had not given us His Law.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had given us the Torah but had not brought us into the Land of Israel.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: If He had brought us into the land of Israel but not dwelled with us in His Temple.

All: Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Reader: But the Holy One, may He be blessed, provided all of these blessings for those who came before us. And not only these, but so many more.

All: Blessed are you, O God, for you have, in mercy, supplied all our needs. You have given us the Messiah Jesus, forgiveness for sin, and abundant and everlasting life! Hallelujah!

We can now drink the second cup to celebrate God’s hand of redemption over the people of Israel and our own lives.

The Passover Supper

Enjoy your meal together! Eat! Laugh! Relax!

The Afikomen

Returning to the Passover liturgy, everyone looks for the afikomen, especially if any children are present. It is tradition for the person who finds the afikomen to be given a reward. This continues to reflect a parallel between the afikomen and Jesus. Jesus was taken, broken, buried, bartered over, and returned.

Reader 1: It is time to share the afikomen, the dessert, the final food eaten at Passover. It is divided up as the Passover lamb was from the time of Exodus until the destruction of the Temple. It is said that the taste of the afikomen should linger in our mouths.

Reader 2: The Messiah Jesus broke matzah and gave thanks to the Lord.

Reader 3 : It was then that the Messiah added the words: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

Reader 4:  Let us now eat the afikomen, meditating on the broken body of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Let us allow the taste to linger in our mouths.

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Everyone will partake of the afikomen ( or some representation of it). Savor it together prayerfully.

The Third Cup of Redemption

Host: Let us fill our cups for the third time this evening. (Lifting the cup) This is the cup of redemption, symbolizing the blood of the Passover lamb. 

All: “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.” (Exodus 6:6)

Reader: The Prophet Isaiah reminds us…

All: “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save.” (Isaiah 59:1)

Reader: It it our righteousness that falls short. Though the Lord searched, He could find no one to intercede.

All: “He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm achieved salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.” (Isaiah 59:16)

Reader:  It was the cup “after the meal,” with which Jesus identified himself.  Jesus, the Messiah lifted the cup, saying:

All: “In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’” (Luke 22:20)

Reader: Just as the blood of the lamb brought salvation in Egypt, so the Messiah Jesus’ blood brings salvation to all who believe.

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Let us gratefully drink.

All drink from the cup and savor it prayerfully as a symbol of atonement.

The Prophet Elijah

As Elijah heralds the coming of the Messiah, we open the door to welcome Elijah and therefore the Messiah (Malachi 4:5-6). As believers, we see how Jesus considered John the Baptist as fulfilling the duty of Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14).

Host: (Interacting with the extra place setting left for Elijah, Host lifts the cup) This cup is for Elijah the Prophet. At this time let the Youngest among us open the door to welcome Elijah to our seder.

Youngest opens door of the home.

Reader: Elijah did not see death, but was swept up to heaven by a great whirlwind in a chariot of fire. It has been our hope that Elijah would come to Passover to announce the Messiah, Son of David. Before the birth of John the Baptist, an angel of the Lord said:

All: “And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17)

Reader: Later, Jesus said of John:

All: “And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.” (Matthew 11:14)

Reader: About Jesus, John said:

All: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Though John the Baptist, “in the spirit and power of Elijah,” heralded the coming of the Messiah Jesus, many Jewish people are still awaiting Elijah to tell of the coming Messiah. Prayerfully remember those who do not yet know the Messiah Jesus.

The Fourth Cup of Praise

A Hymn of Praise taken from Psalm 136.

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

Reader: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: Give thanks to the God of gods.

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: to him who alone does great wonders,

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: who by his understanding made the heavens,

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: who spread out the earth upon the waters,

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: who made the great lights—

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: the sun to govern the day,

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: the moon and stars to govern the night;

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: and brought Israel out from among them

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: and brought Israel through the midst of it,

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: to him who led his people through the wilderness;

All: His love endures forever.

Reader: Give thanks to the God of heaven.

His love endures forever.

Host: Let’s lift our cups and bless the name of the Lord!

All: Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Everyone can drink from their cup at their leisure.

Host: Our Passover seder is now complete, just as our redemption in the Messiah Jesus is forever complete. We’ll finish with a traditional hope that we can celebrate Passover, with our Messiah, next year in Jerusalem.

All: (Shouting) Next year in Jerusalem!

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