The Feast of the Unleavened Bread was week long immediately after Passover, but not treated as seriously. The Passover was a major festival and ranked with Pentecost and the Feast of Tabernacles as the three great occasions and it was compulsory for every adult male Jew who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem to attend. It was the ambition of all Jews including women to eat at least one Passover in Jerusalem in their lives. It is very difficult for us living in a secular country to understand what it was like to live in a country dedicated to Jehovah God. The contemporary Jewish historian Josephus calculated that there were near to three million pilgrims in Jerusalem at the time of Passover. When we know these details we can more greatly understand the issue for the Jewish religious leaders in their desire to kill Jesus. Passover commemorated the time when Israel was freed from slavery in Egypt due to the miraculous intervention of Jehovah and hopes were always raised over this time that this would happen again and the Jews freed from Roman oppression. Think of the numbers of people, the crowds and the fervent expectation! The Jewish religious leaders may not have all been in league with the Romans, but their status depended not only on the respect of the people, it also was dependent on the goodwill of the occupying army. If there was a riot, then that would not be helpful to them! The last act of the life of Jesus was to be played out in a city crammed with Jews who had come from the ends of the known world-remember Acts 2-to remind themselves of the event where their nation was delivered from slavery and this was the time that God's deliverer of all humanity was to be crucified upon a cross! Wisdom unsearchable, God the invisible, Love indestructible In frailty appears. Lord of infinity, Stooping so tenderly, Lifts our humanity To the heights of His throne.
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