Forgiveness & Feasting

Today we join in and listen as Jesus builds the coming moment where He is going to turn Passover into Communion. He begins in Matthew 26:12~In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. (ESV) Now in ancient times, it was the deceased’s family and friends who would normally prepare a body for burial. This would be made impossible for Jesus, because of the crucifixion. 

I don’t believe Mary understood the true significance of what she is doing, but Jesus uses her act to remind His disciples at this moment, of His impending fate. A crucifixion, on our behalf. Then, as only the Lord can He teaches them as He prophesies about Mary’s unselfish act in Matthew 26:13~Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her. (ESV) Yeah, we just did that, again. When Judas realizes he is not going to get rich by following Jesus, he goes to the chief priests and asks Matthew 26:15~What will you give me if I deliver him over to you? And they paid him thirty pieces of silver. (ESV) 

Now that the devil has left the room, let’s take a moment and contemplate the meaning set on the table before us. (26:17-30) On the Jewish calendar, we see two events that go hand in hand with each other. They are the Feast of Unleavened Bread, (when the Jews left Egypt they ate unleavened bread for 30 days, memorial celebration) which is a 7-day festival celebrated in conjunction with Passover (a feast that is eaten in preparation for leaving Egypt, where the blood of the lamb form the meal was placed over the doorposts of the home)(Leviticus 23:5-6). As the Jews applied the blood they did so in a cross-like fashion, so the angel of death would pass over them and spare life. 

At the time when Jesus lived, nearly everyone in Judah descended upon Jerusalem for this holy remembrance. This annual event is bigger than Chinese New Year celebrated in the middle of winter or Carnival before Lent. It is bigger than Junkanoo in the Bahamas. Moreover, it is a holy holiday celebrated unto the Lord as a reminder that we have been made free. John 8:36~So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (NIV) God sees everything and Jesus is poised on the precipice of giving us true freedom from our sins. 1 Peter 2:24~He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds, you are healed. (NLT) 

Mary is a part of the facilitation of God’s Grand Design to reconcile our accounts. Colossians 1:20~and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. (NIV) Everything, whether we know it or not, whether we understand it, or not, is working together for our good. Romans 8:28~And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

Later, the disciples come and ask where are we going to celebrate this joyous feast of Passover? With their time at Simon’s house done, Matthew 26:18-19~The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples. (ESV) That evening, Jesus sits with His twelve for what has been dubbed the Last Supper. Jesus, before our very eyes, transforms the Passover into the Lord’s Supper. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) While still eating, Jesus shares the betrayal of one thought faithful. 

Have you betrayed the Lord lately? It is a fair question, Pete did, Judas certainly did. Each of us has been enticed as James writes when our desires get the best of us. (James 1:14) Today, why not take a moment before heading out into the great big wide world to do all that important stuff. Just ask the Lord, who is gracious and kind to forgive you, and then to help you today. Ask Him to empower you by His grace. Ask Him to help you in those moments that you know are coming, because they are always coming. Ask God to lead you and guide you, to bless you and keep you.


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