If you are a subscriber can I begin with an apology. There was a bit of a mishap when this week’s notes were being uploaded. Basically I pressed the wrong button and one of the posts for later in the week was posted immediately rather than on the right day. Although I was able to edit the post with the correct schedule, as soon as the button was pressed the emails etc were automatically sent out. Sorry for any inconvenience and I will try very hard not to do it again.
The notes this week have been provided by Lauren. As usual the passage can be read here.
At the start of today’s passage we learn the festival of the Passover is approaching. That means we’re starting on Luke’s version of the story of the final days of Jesus before his death. It’s fitting that we are reading this around Easter – we’re not quite in sync, but with Easter fresh in our minds we can consider again that short last time before the cross.
The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread were successive festivals, so it was common to call either or both by the same name. There’s a certain sort of irony that it is at the time of the Passover that we watch things heat up in the plot to kills Jesus. When Israel were slaves in Egypt, they were saved from the tenth plague – the death of the firstborn – by following God’s instruction to paint the blood of a sacrificed lamb on their doorposts – so that the judgement would “pass over” them. Israel were instructed to celebrate this deliverance annually, both so they would remember what God had done on that occasion and also because Passover pointed ahead – it provided a picture of what Jesus does for us: Jesus is the lamb slain for us, because of whom the judgement of God passes over us – it fell on him. The Passover was pointing the religious leaders to Jesus, but they were looking to kill him.
I always find comments about the religious leaders and the teachers of the law in the gospels sobering. They were brought up in the Jewish religion, they had great knowledge of the Old Testament, they had tremendous zeal – and they utterly missed the point. Pursuing Bible knowledge and fervently seeking to obey God is excellent – but the Pharisees did that and concluded they should kill Jesus. They were blinded by their sin. We need to continually approach Jesus by grace so that he can show us the truth about events and ourselves, so that he can cut through our self-deceit.
In these last few world-changing days of Jesus life on earth, the events unfolding are not just a human conflict. We’re told that Satan entered Judas. We’re not given details on that, on what may have led to it – but we do see that the players here are acting on a wider stage. This isn’t just a betrayal between people – it’s part of a huge spiritual tapestry which is much bigger than that. Fortunately the victor is already set!
The price is paid
See Satan flee away
For Jesus crucified
Destroys his power
No more to pay
Let accusation cease
In Christ there is
No condemnation now