So there I was in the store, getting gasoline… I’d decided to pay cash so I went into the mini-store to pay in advance. After filling up I went in to get my change. I wanted to wish the clerk a happy Passover or Easter, but had no idea which she celebrated and didn’t want to offend her. So I asked, which do you celebrate? She said Passover. So I wished her a happy Passover.

Then she surprised me. “Which do you celebrate?”

“Both,” I answered.

She said, “Oh, that’s nice.” Someone else listening in said, “O, are you a Jew who believes in Jesus?”

“Yes” I replied. The clerk looked confused and the questioner replied, “That is good.”

“It is,” I responded. “Tonight I have the Passover Seder, and Yeshua, who is the Passover lamb was sacrificed… and Sunday I get to celebrate his resurrection from the dead.”

The clerk still looked confused and offered to sell me a waffle iron. I said no thank you, but had ordered a coffee, and when to the stand to put a lid on the coffee. A woman, also listening in said, “O, I get it, Easter—that’s where you have eggs and bunnies, right?”

“No I answered, it’s where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus the Jewish Messiah from the dead. He died for our sins and was raised from the dead. That is what we celebrate—not bunnies and eggs.” Everyone in the shop now turned to look at me, and no one moved, as though froze in time. Then the man who had said “good” before, responded again, “That is good!”

Another woman responded with surprise, “What is good? You, get the leaven off the shelves – now!”

I waved a happy holiday to everyone and walked back to my car, feeling like I’d been in a totally surreal scene. Yet, for a brief moment, without offending anyone (at least no one looked or responded in an offended manner), I was able to share with others the good news of Passover and Easter—the reason I so love this time of year.

I was filled with joy and with sadness. Sadness because so many people not only “don’t get it,” but in many countries the public sharing of our faith is not only no longer accepted, but it can be met with rejection, loss of work, jail sentences, and even death.

Perhaps the freedom I am experiencing in Israel is short-lived, but I am so thankful for it. I am reminded of the reason we are asked to pray for our leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.                                   I Timothy 2:1-4

I am so thankful that I am free—free in my spirit, free in my mind, and living in a land where I am free. More than that, as I prepare to celebrate Passover this evening, I am so thankful that I too was delivered from Egypt. I am filled with thanksgiving and gratitude for the Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.