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Readings

Reading:  Matthew 26:17-19

Supplementary Reading: Psalm 31

Devotional

The day that all Jerusalem was waiting for had arrived, the 14th of Nisan signalled the start of The Passover. The month of Nisan equates to our western calendar as March to April. However, ever since God’s direction to Moses & Aaron before the exodus from Egypt, it signalled the start of the new year. Growing up in Scotland, Hogmanay was a special time of celebration as a new year dawned and perhaps gives a small indication of what Passover time was like. The shops closed for 4 full days so of course preparations were made upfront and the supermarket shelves were bare long before closing time on the 31st December. Think toilet roll in a pandemic. We would gather in church to ‘bring in the New Year’ then start the ritual of ‘First Footing’. We would spend the whole night going from house to house eating and drinking. Then on New Year’s Day we would have a huge family meal, then as good Christians, sleep-deprived and stuffed with food we went to the church ‘convention’. Two services with two preachers in each. I seem to remember falling asleep often! Then we would repeat the whole thing again the next night and day. Reading about Passover it would seem to be this multiplied by a factor of four. Seven days of preparation and seven days of celebration.

We are not told what Jesus and his followers did on the Wednesday. But as the long-anticipated day arrived, maybe the disciples were starting to think, we are going to miss Passover so prompt Jesus with a question. Jesus, Jerusalem is full to overflowing and where on earth are we going to celebrate the meal together? We have a shopping list as long as your arm, including bread, wine, herbs. The Lamb needs cooking. Have we left this too late? The disciples were flustered but Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit had been given a plan. We learn from Dr Luke that he sent Peter & John ahead to get everything prepared, prophesying to them what they should do. Go to this street and there you will see a man carrying a pitcher of water. Ordinarily, in this culture and time, it would be a woman who would be carrying the water not a man. So, it seems the disciples would have no difficulty spotting this conspicuous man with a water jug on his head amongst all the women. Follow the guy till he gets to a house and that is where we are going to have the meal. Following his instructions, Peter & John find the guy, follow him to the house and are shown a second-floor room swept clean and ready for Jesus and the team. We don’t know whose house it is but tradition arose in the church that it belonged to the Father of John Mark and the water carrying man was John Mark himself but the truth is we don’t’ know. It was generally understood in that culture, especially at Passover, if anyone had space available in their home it must be given free of charge to whoever wanted to make sacred use of it.

In giving instructions to his two disciples Jesus uses the words ‘my time is near’. In the past, Jesus has often said the opposite. At a family wedding, he tells his mother ‘my hour has not yet come’ (John 2:4). Twice he tells his brothers ‘my time has not yet come’. (John 7:6 & 8) In one of his infamous spats with religious leaders, his friend John reminds us that ‘his hour had not yet come’. (John 8:20) Even a few days earlier when sought out by Greeks he said, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’. (John 12:23). But now Christ is conscious of the fact that he was accomplishing the work the Father had given him. Every detail was set out in a timeless divine pronouncement. When his time had come, Jesus obeyed his Father in every aspect, even to death on a cross becoming the sacrifice for our sin.

Like Jesus, it is decisively imperative that we learn to rely on God’s timing rather than our own. In the middle of a crisis with ‘terror on every side’ King David wrote a song declaring, ‘But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand’.(Psalms 31:14-15)

Prayer

I want to thank you Jesus for trusting in your fathers timing and obeying His voice at all times, even to the point where you submitted to His will enduring torture and a cruel death on a cross. Your obedience to the fathers plan and timing won salvation for me and the world. Holy Spirit I ask you to strengthen me to trust in God the Fathers timing and to submit obediently to His plan for my life. Amen!

Based on today's reading, what is one thing God is saying to you?

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