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A Day of Preparation

"1) Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 2) The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. 3) And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4) And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. 5) They were glad and agreed to give him money. 6) So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd."
Luke 22:1-6, NASB

14) Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15) and said, "What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?" And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. 16) From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
Matthew 26:14-16, NASB

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, is a very important feast on the Jewish calendar. During this feast (14 Nisan on the Jewish calendar- the corresponding month on our calendar would be March-April) all Jewish men were expected to travel to Jerusalem to celebrated and remember the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity (Exodus 11-12).

There were specific steps that were to be taken in preparing for the Passover Feast. For seven days the members of the home were to only eat unleavened bread. On the first day of the seven day period all leaven was to be completely removed from the home (Exodus 12:14-22). Leaven, known to us as yeast, changed the original form of the bread dough; it added additional ingredients making it impure. For the Passover Feast the bread was to be in it's purest form, that being without the leaven. This was to be a reminder to the people that their ancestors had fled Egypt in haste and were left to eat only unleavened bread.

Keeping in mind that leaven alters the original state of bread, Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the "leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees...the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matthew 16:11 & 12). Jesus didn't mean for them not to eat the physical, tangible bread of these religious leaders, but rather to be on guard against their teachings. The Pharisees and Sadducees had added their own set of rules and regulations, and thoughts and ideas to the Scriptures instead of teaching it exactly as it was; they had altered the true meaning of God's Word.

What was overflowing into the attitudes and actions of these religious leaders was a corrupted heart; a heart that had been tainted with evil. The Pharisees and Sadducees had done a good job preparing their homes for the Passover and getting things ready in the temple, but they had forgotten about the most important aspect, their hearts (Matthew 23:25-28). For a while now they had greatly desired to arrest Jesus and get Him out of the picture but had been unable to do so for fear of retaliation from the people. Judas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, would be their answer.

Judas, a man with a tainted heart himself, would betray Christ for a mere thirty pieces of silver. This small sum of money was mere change in comparison to the enormity of the actual price Jesus would later pay. Thirty pieces of silver was the price paid for a slave (Exodus 21:32). Seems rather ironic to me that Jesus, the one who would free us from the bondage of sin, was handed over for the price of a slave.

The plan of the religious leaders was in place. They would pay Judas to deliver Jesus to them and then take His life. But, their time of scheming and preparation would not prepare them for what was to come.

What is the condition of your heart today? Is it tainted with evil like the hearts of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Judas? Are you handing over your time with the Lord for mere change? Are you giving in to the "pleasures" of this world?


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