God’s Plan Unfolding
It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.
All Jewish feasts have their preparation days in order for people to be ready mentally, spiritually, and physically. On these days, no regular work is done in order to focus totally on preparation. Jesus’ death occurred prior to the special Sabbath known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The children of Israel were to abstain from all leavened bread for seven days. To prevent any accidental consumption, they were to empty their homes of any leaven or leaven products. Scripture includes strict instructions:
“‘These are the LORD’s appointed feasts, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.’” (Leviticus 23:4-7)
“For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born. Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.” (Exodus 12:19-20)
Yeast in the Bible is symbolic of sin. The absence of yeast represents the picture that those who are under the safety of the shed blood of the Passover lamb are free from the corruption of sin before a holy God. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians:
Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast–as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:7-8)
It is important to note that Jesus died on the day the Israelites were to rid their lives of leaven (sin). This was the day they were to leave their wanderings behind them. The great God in Heaven allowed the perfect Lamb of God to take upon Him all the sin of the world so that those who would believe on Him would be safe under His shed blood:
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Sadly, many of the Jews did not want Jesus to be their King. In our verses for today we find them raising their fierce, relentless, obstinate cry in a demand for death of Jesus. They shout to Pilate: “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” They want no part of Him. Only His blood will satisfy them and only His blood will fully satisfy God’s righteous requirement for the payment of their sin.
Had not our Lord been thus rejected, we would have been forever rejected by God. As Christ was made sin for us and crucified, in like manner we are to crucify the sin in our lives. Christ was put to death for our offences–the Righteous One for the unrighteous. He is our substitution. Our punishment was laid upon Him and by His wounds we are healed. He has set us free! Paul tells us:
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. (Romans 4:25)
This was a part of God’s plan! Isaiah clearly foretold of God’s amazing plan to redeem us to Himself:
Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)
Take It to Heart
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (1 John 3:1)