Chapter 21:37-22:6 (ESV) - And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
Question to consider: What is the Feast of Unleavened Bread?
Believe it or not, the Feast of Unleavened Bread 2021 starts today which is kind of a cool coincidence for us to reach this text. On this day about 1,988 years ago, Jesus was teaching in the temple, and the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put Him to death without causing the people to turn against them. On this day about 1,988 years ago, Judas had agreed to betray our Lord.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated the day after Passover for seven days according to Exodus 12:15-20, “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever. In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
The very first Feast of Unleavened Bread began Israel’s exodus from Egypt. After seven days, Israel crossed the Red Sea. At the time of today’s passage, the feast would begin with Satan entering Judas and conferring with the chief priests on how to betray Jesus, and it would end with the resurrection of Christ. The removal of leaven from a household signified the removal of sin from our lives. Just as Moses led Israel out of slavery from Egypt so Jesus has led us out of slavery from sin and just as Israel passed through the Red Sea so we have passed through the waters of baptism.
God said to Moses that this feast shall be observed as a statute forever. Does this mean the church should still be celebrating it? We do every time we gather at the communion table. This feast is also called the Passover feast, and the unleavened bread which is broken and given to the meal guests is a type and shadow of the body of Christ which was broken for our sins. The cup of blessing is a type and shadow of the shed blood of Christ which was poured out for our sins.
Let us think about these things as we prepare our hearts for Holy Week.
Dear heavenly father, we thank You that all of history points to the life, death and resurrection of our Lord. Help us to prepare for the coming week. Renew us in our faith and lead us to walk in Your ways as Your free people. Amen.