Thursday, April 6, 2023

Jesus' Last Passover


   The Different Vibes Filling the Air in Jerusalem in the Last Week of Yeshua's (Jesus') Earthly Life

I have written this down as I have been meditating on God’s word since Palm Sunday, when I started preparing my heart for Passover. Especially because this year, the Christian Palm Sunday (in memory of Jesus' entering the holy city according to prophesy), aligned with the week of Passover.

I was wondering to myself, What it would have felt like to live in the final days of Jesus' earthly ministry, being his follower, yet not knowing that he’d soon be put to death?

So, I invited and welcomed the Holy Spirit of God to lead me to the answer through His holy scriptures.

The Vibe Among the Common People in the City of Jerusalem, on the Eve of Jesus' Last Passover

In Matthew 21:1-17 we read that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus the Christ) had multitudes of Jewish followers. I felt like there was a vibe among the people ever since his prophesied festive entrance just a week earlier: Most of the average, common, everyday Jewish people in Jerusalem had been excited. And more Jewish people had been arriving from all across the land (and the Roman Empire) to celebrate Pesach (Passover) at the location God had stipulated: in Jerusalem. 

Just a few days earlier Yeshua had entered Jerusalem riding on the colt of a donkey as foretold by the prophet Zechariah 9:9. He knew the time had come for him to complete his earthly calling--to fulfill his atoning destiny on behalf of humanity. And He was ready to reveal himself to those who had eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand that He was the Messiah King, the Son of David, the deliverer to come, the one foretold of old. It was time for him to fulfill what was prophesied by the prophet Zechariah. 

But only he understood that this fulfillment would be spiritual first, then only later, physical. Only he knew that he would first have to die to deliver humanity from their slavery to sin and from the punishment of sin.

Zechariah 9:9 reads:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.
And the people responded!! They welcomed him, letting him know by their response that they believed that he was the one anointed and appointed by God to be the anointed king who would deliver them from foreign powers. They had no clue that he was coming, at this time, for so much more than this; for something much more profound that would end up changing their lives!--To set their souls free from a deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:19, Mark 7:21).

Matthew 11:8-9 (NKJV)
8 A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! [Ps 118:25–26] Hosanna in the highest heaven!’
My heart got caught up in the sense of joyfulness, hopefulness, excitement and celebration of it all, as I was allowing the light of scripture to lead my imagination through the events. Can you imagine a 'very large crowd'? And them all shouting,'Save us! Please deliver us (Hosanna) Son of David!' Imagine all the hope and expectations for freedom from the occupying forces wrapped up in these words! It was a beautiful Biblical meditation to me.

The Vibe Among the Jewish Religious Leaders

For a while now, the Jewish religious authorities had been afraid of the fact that Jesus was able to build an increasingly large following over the past three years of his ministry. But now, they just wanting Jesus dead.


Because of something much bigger and much more impacting that had happened just recently right before this particular Passover celebration: Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead!! (John 11:38-44.) Every time I read this story it gives me a sense of awe for Yeshua. It is so powerful!

Now, let’s pick up that Biblical narration from John 11:45…

"45 Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went away to the Pharisees and told them the things Jesus did. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. 48 If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”"
Did you notice how it says that 'many' of the Jews believed in Jesus? And that 'some' went away to the Pharisees? Many believed!!! So, this was Not just a little few people here and there. There were enough followers of Jesus among the Jewish people to make the Jewish religious authorities believe that their position was threatened. Too many Jewish people had been following after Jesus! Especially after he had raised Lazarus from the dead. Only some didn’t because they trusted the religious establishment. 
Concerning this religious establishment it is written in John 11:53-54:

“53 Then, from that day on, they plotted to put him to death. 54 Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.


The Vibe of Urgency to Eliminate Yeshua

So, already prior to the arrival of Jesus to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, the religious authorities had been determined to apprehend him and to have him put to death.  

Finally, it is only after Jesus' Last Passover Celebration with his disciples, when he was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, arrested, and then taken by the Sanhedrin for questioning that he was condemned as deserving of death, for blasphemy (Matthew 26:57-67.)

And they didn't want to kill only Jesus, but Lazarus as well.

Because John 11:55-57 tells us:

55 And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem, before the Passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then they sought [started looking for] Jesus, and spoke among themselves as they stood in the temple, “What do you think—that He will not come to the feast?” 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him.

And John 12:1, 9-11 also states:
1Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead... 9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away [turned away, left them] and believed in Jesus.

Did you notice that word 'many' again? Because of Lazarus, many Jews had left the religious establishment to follow Jesus.

John 12:12-19

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The King of Israel!... 16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him. 17 Therefore the people [crowd], who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised Him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people [crowd] also met [came out to meet] Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!

The Pharisees completely missed the point! My Lord, this makes me think about all the well-meaning people who are leaders in the body of Christ, and who are devoted to tradition and to positions of honor, but who cannot recognize when You are at work or Your interventions. They fail to perceive Your heart and How You move. And they fail to perceive that they still need to grow more in their inner-being. Lord, help me to pray more, and to pray more effectively for Your help in their hearts and lives, and for them to come to awareness and repentance. Also, Lord, help me to continue growing spiritually healthy and strong. In Yeshua's name. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are much appreciated. Thank you!