Passover: It’s a day God commands us to observe each year by commemorating the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life and paid the ultimate price on our behalf. When we get baptized, we are committing our lives to God, and Passover is when we renew that commitment.
Let’s count down the 10 days leading up to Passover by reading what Jesus did on those days in the final Passover of His life; the 10 days leading up to His death. Some details can’t be pinned down exactly to specific days for certain, but with each day, we can draw still draw lessons to meditate on as we prepare to take part in the Passover ceremony.
Let’s begin with some context to set the scene for the final 10 days of Christ’s life. In John 11 is the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. He became sick, and his sisters Mary and Martha called for Jesus to come heal him. But Christ stayed away purposefully so that He could do an amazing miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead, which He did (John 11:43-44 John 11:43-44 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.
American King James Version×). News of this spread far and wide, giving Jesus more credibility, and thereby threatening the authority of the religious leaders of the day. So from then on, they began plotting to kill Him (John 11:53 John 11:53Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
American King James Version×), and Jesus left and went to Ephraim, a town many miles away to hide out (John 11:54 John 11:54Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went there to a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.
American King James Version×). He knew His time was drawing near, so no doubt He wanted to make sure they didn’t get ahold of Him and kill Him too early.
From Ephraim, where it’s uncertain how long He stayed, Jesus left with His 12 disciples to go to Jerusalem for the upcoming Passover (Matthew 20:17 Matthew 20:17And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said to them,
American King James Version×). At a certain point along the way, the mother of James and John kneeled down in front of Jesus and said, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom” (Matthew 20:21 Matthew 20:21And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.
American King James Version×).
Jesus’ response is the point to meditate on for today:
“But Jesus answered and said, 'You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?' They said to Him, 'We are able.' So He said to them, 'You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.' And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many'” (Matthew 20:22-28 Matthew 20:22-28 22 But Jesus answered and said, You know not what you ask. Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say to him, We are able. 23 And he said to them, You shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not my to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to him, and said, You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority on them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
American King James Version×).
Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve. That’s the lesson to think about today. In your different roles—at work, at school, at home, in your family—do you take on the role of a servant? Sometimes serving others can be small gestures, like opening the door for someone on your way inside; or it can be larger, like sacrificing something you really want in order to do something better for someone you love. In every role you have, in every corner of your life, in every moment of every day, keep in mind to be a servant; to be someone who sacrifices your own time and needs to help others and lift them up.
Today’s point for meditation: Matthew 20:26 Matthew 20:26But it shall not be so among you: but whoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
American King James Version×-“Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant.”