By Dan Johnson
Trinity UMC, Gainesville, FL
First, read Luke 22:1-6
Passover - that powerful day of remembering God's mighty acts of deliverance - from Pharaoh's hand, from slavery, into freedom and new life. And being able to celebrate this holy day in Jerusalem was of greatest joy, which meant that enormously large crowds would be gathering.
That fateful year it also meant that the crowds around the country who had heard of, been blessed by, healed by, and welcomed by this itinerate rabbi named Jesus, and now who many claimed to be the long awaited Messiah would be in Jerusalem too.
The religious leaders needed to act fast, lest this whole thing get out of control, their control. They must get rid of Jesus before He unravels "our way of life and the things we hold dear."
And so they found their man - Judas - and put their plan in motion; destroy one man to save many. The cross on calvary would not be far behind.
And I hear the echoes of Joseph about his brothers actions against him: "They meant it for evil, but God used it for good." (Genesis 50:20), for indeed, God used this rejection as a way to absorb into God's own self our rejection, our sin, our brokenness in order that our Passover memory might become one of deliverance from our slavery to whatever holds/held us, into freedom and new life.
Prayer: Dear God, even as you took the evil intent of others and turned them into the greatest good - the saving of the world(!), help me to give over to you every dark and hurtful thing of my past, and then trust you to "use it for good." Amen.
- Why do you think the leaders wanted to get rid of Jesus?
- Can you think of one or two situations where something bad happened and God used it for good?
- Think of a memory in your spiritual journey where at first you only saw darkness, and then eventually you saw the hand of God and light breaking through.