October 24, 2016
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.”
Today we make the turn into the final stretch of Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew has taken three years of Jesus’ life with his disciples and brought it into a divinely narrated twenty eight chapters. Realize we are only getting a snapshot of the whole here. Jesus taught much more than five discourses. He performed many more signs and miracles than we see recorded in the Bible. Remember how the Apostle John wrote the last word in his Gospel:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25.
When Jesus had finished saying all these things,. Note the placement of the word “all.” This is the signal that it is done. His short life of thirty three years is in its final days. No more teaching. No more preaching. No more healing. Interestingly, all 26 chapters of Matthews Gospel so far will become extraordinarily concentrated in the final two chapters. Every word, every deed, every sign will now be unleashed, unveiled, and unimaginably fulfilled in these final days.
We are now in the final days. The Son of God plans with his disciples about how they will celebrate the Passover. The leaders of the House of God plot about how they will secretly arrest Jesus and kill him. They had no idea it would be the most public spectacle in the history of the world. They had no idea they would be slaughtering the final Passover Lamb.
It’s time to break pace with our journey to this point. It’s time to wake ourselves up that we might not allow our familiarity with this story to blind us to its ever deepening work in our lives. We think we have been this way before. There’s a sense in which we perhaps have. There’s a much greater sense that we have not.
Let’s dwell in the mysterious and profound words of the Apostle Paul on this day of preparation for the Passover of all Passovers.
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, Philippians 3:10.
Let us prepare ourselves today. Tomorrow we head to Calvary.
Father, we come to what seems like a familiar place for us in the final days of the life of your Son on Earth. Shake us free from that familiarity. Give us fresh eyes to see and open ears to hear. There is something you want to reveal to us for the very first time. We don’t want to miss it. Come Holy Spirit! Wake us up. No matter what it takes, wake us up. We pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.
1. Meditate on this word from Paul. Hang on every word of it. Let your ears hear it. Let your mind wrap around it. Let your heart ponder it deeply. Let your soul pray it. How does this impact you?
2. How can a story we are familiar with and we think we know become fresh again?
3. Are you open to a deeper revelation from the Holy Spirit this time through? Will you say yes to it in advance? What if saying yes in advance is the only way to perceive it?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.