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Daily Devotional • December 8

David Baumann
The Passover
A Reading from the Gospel of Luke 22:1-13

1 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was near. 2 The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Jesus to death, for they were afraid of the people.
3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve; 4 he went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers of the temple police about how he might betray him to them. 5 They were greatly pleased and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented and began to look for an opportunity to betray him to them when no crowd was present.
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” 9 They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” 10 “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” 13 So they went and found everything as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

Seven times in 13 verses we read of “the day of Unleavened Bread” and “the Passover.” This is the framework of the events that now begin to unfold. It is “the day … on which the Passover lambs had to be slaughtered.” Luke is telling the reader that all that is about to happen to Jesus is thoroughly in accordance with the divine plan. 
The Feast of Passover had been kept for well over a thousand years at this point. It was the greatest of Jewish feasts, commemorating the deliverance of the Hebrew tribes from slavery in Egypt, achieved by the tenth and most grievous of plagues against Pharaoh. The Angel of Death came in the darkness of night and took the lives of the firstborn of the families and flocks of the nation and its stubborn ruler, but passed over those who pleaded deliverance by the shedding of the blood of the sacrificed lambs. 
Undeniably, the meaning of Passover was well known to all Jews, including “the chief priests and the scribes,” “the temple guards,” and to “Judas, who was called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.” Cowardice (“they were afraid of the people”), murderous intention, breach of trust, abuse of authority, and betrayal of calling and friendship come together in a complicity of evil, each party thinking that he will get something he wants. And the conspirators do get what they want. After so much anxiety and frustration in public confrontations with Jesus, the authorities are finally successful in “doing away with him,” and Judas gets his “sum of money.” Yet, like Pharaoh, their freely-chosen wickedness is the very means by which “the Passover” is achieved. 
Sin is always sin, rebellion is always rebellion, but none of it can thwart the will of God.

David Baumann served for nearly 50 years as an Episcopal priest in the Dioceses of Los Angeles and Springfield. He has published nonfiction, science fiction, and short stories. Two exuberant small daughters make sure he never gets any rest.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Ogbia – The Church of Nigeria
Society of Mary, American Region
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