I have been familiar with the Easter story all of my life it seems. Yet, only recently I have realized the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ taking place during the actual time of the Passover (Matthew 26-27). An important detail to be sure. One I never pondered.
Matthew 26:2-5 says, “ ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away – and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.’ Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill Him. ‘But not during the festival,’ they said, ‘or there may be a riot among the people.’ ”
In the Matthew passage, I see that the religious leaders had decided to avoid condemning and killing Jesus during the actual Passover. An important detail. They were afraid that riots would occur. They wanted to keep the matter “hush hush.” Meanwhile, I wonder if they were also trying to suppress their lingering doubts concerning the Truth of the Son of God? Did their consciences bother them? Did they want to keep everything quiet in case they were found to be wrong in condemning to death an innocent man?
There was nothing about Jesus that was going to remain a secret. Evil human planning and plotting at this Passover time in history was going to be exposed by eyewitnesses and Gospel writers. The story of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead would be a resounding story heard around the world for generation after generation. God’s timing would prevail. The story of the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer. An unstoppable Truth. A continuing decision demander. An ultimate confrontation for every human being on earth.
Knowing that God overruled especially the timing of the religious leaders and that His plan would prevail despite any human manipulations is quite encouraging and comforting. That Jesus would be arrested at the very time that God foreordained, exactly during the Passover commemoration in Jerusalem, and that His sacrifice would fulfill everything that the Passover symbolized – these things have God’s amazing imprint on them. Timing belongs to God alone.
It’s true. God’s Word is new and fresh to me every time I read it, and especially with a story with which I am familiar. The prevalence of God’s sovereign plans and purposes supersedes all human opposition and attempts to determine all outcomes. It is all really up to Him and, as every detail of prophecy is fulfilled, it is difficult to comprehend how anyone cannot believe in Jesus Christ, the true Son of God. But, it also tells me that God’s purposes cannot be thwarted by anything that happens here on earth. We are responsible to hear and take in the Truth and make a decision about it.
This Easter I am pondering God’s sovereignty over timing. He foreordained, before the foundation of the earth, that there would be a Redemption Plan that would be so perfectly fulfilled during an actual Passover observance over 2,000 years ago. I don’t want to miss one important detail in scripture anymore. The Passover symbolism is not lost on me. The Precious Lamb who takes away the sin of the world — Jesus. God’s timing for Him and for us was perfect.