Last night I sat here in front of the computer, all ready to start. And felt… I dunno… tired. My heart was most definitely not “in it”. I thought about a couple of weekends ago when I missed the deadline, so there was a precedent. I tried to talk myself into writing just a quick blog. But in the end I sadly failed. I even got an email from You Version telling me I had slipped behind my target! The Bible was telling me to read! So here I am, suitably told off. I’ll write two tonight and then I’ll be back on track.
Looking for those phrases and lines which resonate with me and what’s happening in my life and the world.
Exodus 12 and the Lord is instructing Moses on what the Israelites must do. Following the Passover is the Festival of Unleavened Bread. All bread must be made without yeast. Now this reminds me of a few days ago when Jesus was explaining to his disciples that the Pharisees were like yeast. Yeast is seen here as a bad thing.
I used to work in the baking industry and I once worked with a man called Ian who ate some raw yeast as a bet. He won his bet, but I dread to think what his digestive system did later. Raw yeast is nasty stuff, strange and alien in texture and smell. It takes time to work on the dough, and that’s why the Israelites had to make bread without it. They had to leave Egypt in a hurry.
And so we move to Exodus 13 and finally, Moses and his people (like an army) are allowed to leave. The Passover and Unleavened Bread instructions are repeated. Once again, the importance of not using yeast is emphasised. And after seven days have passed, the Israelites are instructed to present all first born sons and male animals to the Lord. Donkeys (a useful animal for the travelling Israelites) can be substituted for goats or lambs. The firstborn sons are always bought back. “Bought”, note: not brought.
Now this part struck a chord. Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son. He was presented to the Lord in the Temple when he was a toddler. And later, when he was crucified, he paid a price. He bought our eternal life.
Matthew 20 concludes with a very short reading. Two blind beggars are told to shut up by the crowd. But, once again, Jesus shows mercy and cures them. The crowd were wrong.
But we quickly move onto Matthew 21 and the well known chapter about the entry into Jerusalem. Yes, we’re here already and the storm clouds are looming. First, Jesus tells his disciples to bring a young donkey from the town for him to ride on. All this takes place just before Passover. So, therefore, this young donkey (possibly a firstborn male) would have been destined to be sacrificed. But he is saved by Jesus, who by riding on him, fulfills another prophesy: (21:5) “Your King is coming… riding on a donkey.”
In Jerusalem, Jesus gets angry with the money changers and the traders in the temple. He tips the tables over and soon even the children are shouting: “Praise God for the Son of David.” The priests and teachers are furious, of course.
Next day, travelling back into Jerusalem, Jesus says: (21:22) “You can pray for anything and if you have faith, you will receive it.”
Psalm 25 continues with a plea for aid. A prayer for help! (See above)
And Proverbs 6 reassures us with these words: (6:15) “[Wicked people] … will be destroyed suddenly, broken in an instant beyond all hope of healing.”
And so to the second of tonight’s blogs…