Matthew 26:1-5 (ESV)
1 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
Jesus finished the Olivet Discourse and let his disciples in on what was going to happen next. He reminded them that the Passover was coming in two days. Passover always began on a Friday after sunset, so Jesus probably spoke these words on a Wednesday. The Passover was celebrated annually in remembrance of God’s people being delivered from bondage in Egypt. At the temple, a male lamb was sacrificed, and its blood was thrown on the altar. This act commemorated the blood that God’s people painted on the doorposts of their homes, the night of the first Passover, while they were still enslaved. When the angel of death came that evening to kill the first-born of the Egyptians, the blood on a home’s doorposts signaled to the angel to “pass over” that house. After the lamb was sacrificed, it was taken home and eaten together by a family or a group. Although the religious leaders planned to kill Jesus, with all the activity going on in Jerusalem, they definitely didn’t want his arrest and execution to happen during the Passover. Worshippers were literally everywhere preparing for and participating in this great feast. It was certainly not the right time for a crucifixion. The chief priests and elders were willing to wait until the celebration was finished. But God had other plans. Jesus was killed during the feast, because God predetermined all the details surrounding his death.
The Passover was a memorial feast, which celebrated both the freedom of God’s people and their deliverance from the angel of death. At the same time, the Passover pointed to the crucifixion, where Jesus would become the last sacrifice for sin. The payment he made on the cross would provide for the believer’s pardon. Men may plot and scheme, but in the end God is in the details of life. The religious leaders said they wouldn’t kill Jesus during the Passover, but Jesus knew his death would occur in two days. Man cannot thwart God’s plans and purposes. There are instances when we want to get our “agenda” done at a certain time or in a certain way. We should always keep in mind that God may have something totally different prepared. Let’s remember this short passage as we deal with the schedules we create. Keep your hands open before God today, trusting that in the end his plans are far better than ours.