Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover (Luke 22:1).
Luke tells us the great Jewish festival of the Passover with its Feast of Unleavened Bread is drawing near. It is the reason the huge crowds have come from all over the Roman Empire to Jerusalem. It recalls Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt by the death of the Egyptian firstborn. It was called “Passover” because the Lord caused the angel of death to pass over the Israelite houses marked with the blood of the Passover lamb.
The Jewish high court is meeting. Having already determined to put Jesus to death, they are looking for the best time and manner to accomplish this. They won’t consider an assassination; they want to find Him guilty of a capital crime and persuade Pilate to execute Him.
They keep coming back to one key problem: the huge crowds of pilgrims are thronging around Jesus, hanging on His every word. As long as the crowds are in town there is nothing they can do to Jesus. They decide they must wait to kill Jesus after the Passover is complete, when the crowds leave Jerusalem to return home.
Suddenly, an unexpected possibility arises. One of Jesus’ hand-picked disciples, Judas Iscariot, offers to betray Jesus to them for the modest price of 30 silver pieces. The priests rejoice in this unforeseen opportunity. They never could have predicted a defection from within Jesus’ camp. Now they have a man on the inside, watching for the opportunity to hand Jesus over to them before the Feast.
Jesus’ predictions are falling into place: “the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You knew Judas was plotting against You, yet You continued to reach out to him in love. Reach out to me with Your forgiveness and grace. Amen.
*Thank you to Lutheran Hour Ministries for providing this devotion.