“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
“It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest [Jesus] by stealth and kill him” (Mark 14:1).
In the recent ABC TV series “How to get away with Murder,” a criminal defense professor and some of her law students get mixed up in an elaborate murder plot. The classroom lectures and discussions are no longer theoretical, but real life drama.
The bible is littered with real life murder, too. Joseph’s brothers want to kill him and dispose of his body in a pit. Daniel’s coworkers carefully plan his death by lions, using his prayer life against him. In the book of Esther, Haman plans to kill Mordecai by exterminating every one of the Jews in exile.
So maybe you aren’t surprised to read about a plot to arrest and kill Jesus. But maybe you are. The chief priests and scribes aren’t bad guys are they? These descendants of Aaron offered up sacrifices at the temple, made atonement for those seeking to be clean, kept the incense and lamps burning in the temple, presided over the Day of Atonement, and taught God’s Word. They were an important part of the worship life of God’s people, the glue that had held this nation together.
It turns out that the God you worship from a distance is much different than an incarnate God, up close and in person. Jesus didn’t turn out to be the Messiah they expected. In their opinion, he wasn’t kosher enough. He healed on the Sabbath. He was friends with tax collectors, sinners and questionable women. He a supported Rome (“Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”). He disrupted business in the temple. He told stories and asked questions that made them look bad. But worst of all, Jesus was popular. Either Jesus had to go, or they might all feel the hurt when Rome clamped down on a Jewish Messiah.
The plan to kill Jesus is actually God’s plan. The unblemished animals from the herds and flocks of Israel, offered up as offerings and sacrifices were shadows of what God’s own son would come to be and do. The plan to kill the Savior was a plan to save God’s people from their sins, a plan set in motion when Adam and Eve awkwardly tried to cover up their naked bodies in the Garden of Eden.
That plan of a crucified Christ is His plan for us, too. It’s for us when we awkwardly try to conceal our failures. Or when we don’t see eye to eye with everything Jesus says. Or when his words make us look bad.
The plan of a crucified Christ is indeed his plan for us. It’s his plan to free us from sin, take away the sting of death, and assure us of his love.
Sounds like a plan.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your plans of forgiveness, life and salvation for me in the death and resurrection of your son Jesus Christ. Amen.