We all had an awkward adolescence…even George Clooney. Yikes! In today’s reading, we find the only story in the Bible about Jesus’ adolescence. Don’t get too nervous about the ending. No surprise, he finds himself in church.
- The Israelites were meticulous with their record keeping.
- 41-45 – The pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Passover would have been a journey of several days and whole extended families and friends would travel together. It is not unusual that Mary and Joseph would assume that Jesus was somewhere in the group. But can you imagine the panic they must have felt when they thought they had lost the Son of God?
- 51 – This verse is placed here to assure the reader/hearer that Jesus wasn’t unkind or disrespectful of his parents. He was simply engaged in his long-term call.
- This passage is the only canonical recording of Jesus’ childhood or adolescence.
- This is warning not to make promises you can’t keep and specifically not to promise something that someone else is intended to keep because you can never guarantee it.
It’s easy to forget that Jesus was a man with feelings. It’s also easy to forget that the disciples were his friends – those he had spent all his time with teaching and training them. And one of them turns him over to be killed. Can you imagine the hurt you would feel if you were Jesus?
- At this time the priesthood was passed down generation to generation. Priests came from the tribe of Levi.
- We are in the middle of a series of very detailed descriptions. These are actually great blessings because we want to be able to worship God in a way that is honoring and pleasing to him. Detailed instructions make that much more likely.
- 1-10 – God begins to instruct the priests on how they should intercede for the people and lead worship and sacrifices.
- It’s sad that Judas wasn’t coerced or forced into betraying Jesus. He sought the opportunity out himself.
- 20 – People literally reclined for meals. The original Passover was in a rush and people were not to recline or get comfortable as normal.
- 26-28 – Our practice of communion relates back to the last supper, which relates back to Passover.
- 39 – People often wonder how to pray for the things they want. We can ask for anything we want or need, but it is healthiest when we pray for these things while surrendering to God’s will first.
We require clear instructions. Otherwise, we tend to find ways to mess up. Though they may seem tedious, God gives the Israelites very specific instructions on how to construct the Tabernacle. This was basically a portable temple, or place of worship, that they could pack up and move whenever they needed to wander to a new location in the desert.
- 15 – Feast of Unleavened Bread is Passover
- 1-7 – These were special offerings requested so the Israelites could build a tabernacle for God.
- 8-9 – The Tabernacle was God’s mobile house. The Israelites couldn’t build a temple yet because they were still nomadic.
- 9-40 – Like with Noah, when building his ark, God gives Moses very specific construction instructions.
- 34 – This tends to be problematic for people because clearly all the people in that generation have since died. Some people interpret it to mean that the Jews will still be in existence until the second coming. Others believe that fulfillment simply requires the beginning of the age and not the full second coming. Of course, no one knows for sure.
- 40-42 – verses like these are where ideas for things like the “Left Behind” series come from
- 44 – Jesus’ warning is for those of us who know the truths of Jesus. He warns us not to neglect those truths but be faithful even as we wait and don’t know how long we’ll be waiting.
- 5 – Encouragement that trouble is always temporary
- 11-12 – Beautiful imagery of God’s restoration through our trials. What if we all were so aware of God’s part in our getting through difficult times?
This week, it all comes full circle. Last week, in Exodus, we read about God releasing the Israelites from slavery and saving their first-born children through the Passover. This week, we’ll read about the Last Supper, which Jesus offered to his closest companions, the disciples, just before his arrest and death.
Do you see the connection? Is it starting to become clear just how carefully the story of God’s love and redemption for humanity has been in the works over time?
In Exodus the Israelites experience the first Passover and make unleavened bread so they can leave quickly if needed. In Matthew, Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples. In Exodus a flawless lamb’s blood could save you from the death of your first-born. In Matthew, Jesus offers up his own blood to save us all. In Exodus God makes a way for his people to receive freedom. In Matthew, he does the same.
The first Passover directly connects to the Last Supper and Jesus’ death, which directly connects to our experiencing Holy Communion on Sundays. This is not just a series of unrelated stories, but one centuries long story of God continually working to achieve our redemption.
Don’t get bogged down in the details of how to build the tabernacle – they can get tedious. Think of the tabernacle as a traveling temple. The Israelites wanted a home for God that they could pack up and move as they wandered. The tabernacle was the solution. Practical, eh?
In today’s reading, we see Jesus get angry and act out in anger flipping the tables of those selling birds for sinners to purchase and sacrifice. Sometimes it’s hard to see Jesus as a human because we focus on him as God and Savior. Today, don’t sugarcoat his anger. It was real just like the deep anguish he felt when his friend Lazarus died. If we can’t see Jesus as a human who felt like any other human does, we cannot fully comprehend the sacrifice he made on the cross.
- 14-17 – Passover – feast of unleavened bread – used as a remembrance of the good God had done in saving the Israelites’ first borns and leading them out of Egypt.
- 18-20 – Bread is unleavened because the Israelites had to get out of Egypt quickly and there wasn’t time for bread to rise
- 25 – God tells them about the Promised Land (land of milk and honey) but does not tell them it will take 40 years of wandering in order to get there
- 1-2 – Our offering to God should come off the top – firstborn
- 29 – Jericho – the oldest continually lasting city – over 10,000 years old
- 1 – Many times heading towards Jerusalem has been referenced thus far in Matthew, now they are finally arriving. This is done to show that getting to Jerusalem was a purposeful, planned event. Jesus was not surprised by what was to come.
- 7 – Some ancient Jews believed the Messiah would come as a military hero, yet he arrived on a borrowed donkey
- 9 – Hosanna means “Save us!”
- 12 – is often referenced when confirming that Jesus had human emotions
- 12 – Pigeons were being sold so people could use them to sacrifice. The religious authorities were trying to profit off of the sinfulness of their constituents.
- David not only asks for God’s protection and provision, but he also commits to integrity, uprightness, and waiting on the Lord to hold up his end of the bargain
The Passover is brutal. First borns of every creature die and you save your own family from this destruction by slaughtering a flawless lamb and wiping its blood above your door. But Passover is an expression of mercy and justice still celebrated today. The Passover and final plague bring the story of the enslaved Israelites in Egypt full circle. In Exodus chapter 1 we read of the Pharaoh exterminating every male Israelite born. At The Passover, the Egyptians felt the consequences of their sins.
- God continues to call Moses to enact the plagues, “lift your hand, etc.” God does not need us but calls us and uses us for his purposes
- 24 – Pharaoh sends Moses away but God doesn’t seem to be convinced he will actually let him go
- 11:7 – God makes it clear that Israel, not Egypt, is his chosen nation
- 11 – Eating normally happened in a relaxed, reclined position – fast food was not a thing
- 1-13 – The Passover becomes an annual celebration – it is the festival Jesus was celebrating when he was arrested and crucified – he became the sacrificial lamb like each household needed. This is why some people say phrases like “covered by the blood of the lamb”
- A parable aimed at those who have been faithful over time and those who come to faith in the last hour – both receive salvation – do we begrudge those who came to faith at the last hour and receive the same reward?
- Jesus predicted his death multiple times but no one believed him
- 26-28 – we want status and acknowledgement, Jesus calls us to humble ourselves instead
- Continue to work for the things that are important. When you stop doing those things, you’ll be left behind.