Posted in Lent devotions

Stirring things up

“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Thursday, February 18, 2021. Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

“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, for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people” (Mark 14:1-2).

The Jewish historian Josephus estimated that two million people were in Jerusalem for Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread at the time of Jesus, more than three times the usual population of the city. I picture something like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Times Square on New Year’s Eve, or Bike Week in Daytona Beach, FL.

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Posted in Lent devotions

Sounds like a plan

“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.

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