To a Close
If you are here for health, wealth, happiness, style, lifestyle or breaking news about President Trump, I can’t offer any of that. But if you are willing to read, it may change the way in which you think.
Matthewew 26 1:5
“And it came about that when Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.’ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth, and kill Him. But they were saying, ‘Not during the festival, lest a riot occur among the people.’”
Jesus lives as Lord of all, yet reading this passage we see the seriousness of this situation because he is literally days from death in this passage, prompting us to ponder.
For those of you returning after reading my past few missives, thank you. I realize the difficulty in the Olivet Discourse based upon what we have been taught and the literary language used by the Lord. I doubt that my missives could change the mind of anyone, but keep considering the context by reading it over and over. To do justice to the Olivet Discourse would take me months. Though I am sure there is someone out there that has simplified it. Nevertheless, always remember, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” And to the occasional visiter and the new reader, welcome, thank you for deciding to read. In this blog, we walk through Scripture, Matthew in this case, reading every word, using a hermeneutical tool called the CAGED method, where; Context is King, Author’s Aspirations to his Audience are Apex, Genre is the General, Expository Exegesis of Examples Enlightens and Dividing Rightly the Word of Truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions. Here, we mine for gold because unless you are learning for yourself, you only know what you have been taught. My main goal in this blog is to get the reader to read the Bible for all its worth, daily. We keep the Bible caged with our presuppositions and preconceived notions based on what we have been taught and by traditions and culture. We seek to unlock the caged Scripture. Let’s dig in.
“And it came about that when Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.'”
The preposition “and” links this passage to the Olivet Discourse where Jesus answers the disciples’ questions about his coming and signs. These are the words referred to in this particular passage, where Matthew writes, “when Jesus had finished all these words,” therefore the Olivet Discourse has come to a close. Now, Jesus is focusing on his death and the Passover, still speaking to his disciples.
“And it came about that when Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.'” These are weighty words not unlike the weighty words of the Olivet Discourse, yet somehow, much more somber. We live on the right side of the cross and we know, to a certain extent, what happened to Jesus nearly 2000 years ago, but still, think about the awesome life that Jesus led, fulfilling all that Israel, or anyone else, could not, living the perfect life, and now he’s preparing the disciples for his death during Passover, or; Pesach, and the feast of unleavened bread.
The Passover, in which Jesus is crucified, is just two days away–think about that–two days. We get anxious and agitated about going to the dentist in two days, imagine how Jesus felt. We sometimes forget or dismiss the humanity of Jesus, forgetting that he emptied himself, laid aside his heavenly home and as Hebrews states, “made himself a little lower than the angels.” Jesus was full of the Spirit and relied on the power of God, but he assumed the form of a bondservant. Yet we can almost hear the poise and gracefullness in his voice. Lord willing, we will see more of this in the coming context.
The Passover, or; Pesach, was the perpetual (give or take a few years), commemorative memorial of remembrance of the day that the Lord passed over the houses of the Hebrews while they were slaves in Egypt. The account of the first Passover is found in Exodus 11+12.
“Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, ‘This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, “On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. And they shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.‘Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails. And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire. Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD. And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.'”
What was the last plague that wouldn’t befall the ancient Israelites if the Lord saw the blood of the lamb on the door posts and lintel? Interesting fact; although the Israelites were spared from the brunt of the first nine plagues, they didn’t have to do anything. And yet, on this, the final plague, the Israelites were required to place the blood of the lamb on the door posts and lintels, among other things. But before we consider this, notice the ninth plague, or; 3×3; three days of darkness, yet there was light in the houses of Israel. Lord willing, we will consider this in greater detail soon.
In an obvious allusion to the cross, the blood of the lamb was to be placed on the door posts and lintels, forming a cross of sorts, with the blood of the lamb. The plague of which the Lord passed over the Israelites, who had put the blood of the lamb on the door posts and lintels, was the plague of the death of the first born. The foreshadowings of Jesus on the cross are numerous and compelling, to say the least. The Passover foreshadows the Messiah, as do the other two pilgrimage festivals, Shavuot and Sukkot, the First Fruits and the Feast of Booths. Lord willing, in the future we will do an in-depth study of the three pilgrimage festivals and their foreshadowing of the Messiah but today’s text is about the Passover and the plot to kill the Messiah.
During the Passover in the Exodus, the Hebrews were told by Jesus (John 1:18), to eat “with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste.” They were also told, “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.” The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, are eternally intertwined, because they both happen because of the last plauge; the killing of all the first-born, animal and human, in Egypt. They also both foreshadow the death of the Messiah, but we’ll come back to this.
You’ve probably heard the story of the Passover a thousand times, where the Lord passed over the homes of the Hebrews but struck down all the first born, regardless of age or species of Egypt. You probably have also been told a thousand times about the Unleavened Bread, that the Hebrews left in a hurry and had no time to allow the dough to rise, baking bread, which was without leaven, on the run. Problem; their was leaven in the dough during the first Passover. But we will get back to this.
One thing we see in the context of the Passover and the Unleavened Bread, is the following; “you shall eat it in haste.” They were to eat the Passover meal with their loins girded, sandals secure and staff at their side, because they were to be ready, they had to hurry. Juxtapose this to Jesus in our current content, does he have any hint of hurry? Though written nearly two thousand years ago and in a foreign language–with cross-cultural confusion, calm and collected seems to be the attitude of Jesus when he says, ‘You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion.” Jesus had just given the most in-depth, lengthy speech since the Sermon on the Mount and now he calmly reminds the disciples that the Passover is coming–also, crucifixion. The man was in no hurry.
Concerning this Passover, in all four gospel accounts, we read of Jesus reclining at the table during this Passover meal. In John’s account, Jesus ungirds his loins and takes the time to wash the disciples feet, meaning; sandals off–the exact opposite of the first Passover. In Luke we read, “and when the hour had come He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God. ‘And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.’ And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you…'” oops, I am getting way ahead of myself again. Nevertheless, does this sound like a man who is in haste or some great hurry, even though we now know, what he knew then, betrayal, torture and death are only hours away.
Back to the original Passover. “Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.” Let’s consider the first Unleavened Bread, which, ironically, did have leaven, but not the time to rise. “And they baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.”
I am sorry but I sense some sarcasm welling up in my mischievous mind–bear with me. Don’t you think that maybe by the eighth or ninth plague you would have seen that God was not going to stop until Pharaoh let you go? Did it cross your mind to maybe pack a bag and be ready, baking bread ahead of time? Alright, my mischievous mind is at ease–no it isn’t. Seriously! God promises to save you and you forgot to find food? Why weren’t you prepared? And then I look at the Bible, which they didn’t have, and see in the mirror of reflection, myself. I also see the juxtaposition of Jesus, 100 percent prepared.
Lord willing, as we enter into the eternal Passover prepared by the Prince of Peace, we will see not only the foreshadowing, but the total transformation of the Passover. We will compare and contrast the original intent of the Passover, to its fullness found in Jesus. But for now, we have more context to consider.
“Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth, and kill Him. But they were saying, ‘Not during the festival, lest a riot occur among the people.’”
What a crop of cowards, a symposium of sneaks, a council of caitiffs. If they were right and righteous, why would they fear a riot? Are they so aloof and in touch with God that they can’t explain to the people why Jesus must die during the festival? The irony is that Jesus lays down his life–they don’t take it from him. They fear his followers and there are more than a few followers in town; it’s the pilgrimage festival of Passover. Much like it was the Feast of Booths when Jesus was born. I am getting way ahead of myself again. Nevertheless, the exact thing that the chief priests and the elders want to avoid, is about to come to pass.
What’s done in the dark, will be brought to the light.
Stay tuned, the text gets heavy but we will see, Lord willing, the preparedness of Jesus and the fulfillment of the Passover. But first, we will see an event recorded in all four gospel accounts, which is rare, where Jesus is anointed by a woman.