The picture is the charoseth that we made last year. Instead of the traditional recipe with apples, we chose one with apricots. Charoseth is a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine, and honey. It represents the mortar used by the Israelite slaves to make bricks for Pharaoh. Interestingly, the charoseth is quite sweet and tasty. The mortar would be something that we expect to be quite a burden, but the charoseth is not even slightly repulsive. Why would you remember the bitterest slavery with something so sweet? The rabbis answer: “Even the bitterest of labor can be sweet when our redemption draws nigh.” What a fascinating thought…
In Luke 21, we read Jesus’ words regarding the end times, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” We read in John 15:20, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” Matthew 5:11-12 reads, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
We expect tribulation. We expect persecution. We expect hardships. But we know that “just as the sufferings of Christ overflow into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.” While some troubles are extreme and difficult, and some are finding it hard to bear their circumstances, we have hope. The charoseth represents this. Though the mortar and the intense labor that we were forced into was tremendous –far beyond what we could bear, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
Though there is bitter anguish in the slavery that we experience under the flesh and condemnation of a merciless taskmaster, we don’t look at the temporal. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary afflictions are far outweighed by an eternal weight of glory. So we fix our eyes no on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. This is our hope. The charoseth represents bitter slavery, and indeed even in our lives we shall face tribulation and persecution. But the charoseth is sweet to the taste, because our hope is not in this life. Our hope is about a redemption that draws near.