Still life oil painting by Vincent Van Gogh

Today: Psalms 21:1-7; Matthew 27:11-44; Exodus 11 & 12

Psalms 21

David is talking about himself in the third person in Psalms 21. He is the king who rejoices in God’s salvation. God has blessed him with good things, given him his heart’s desire, set a crown of pure gold on his head (really), and made him most blessed forever. David is joyful with the joy of God’s presence. He trusts in the LORD because the LORD is faithful! Praise and joy just drip deliciously from this passage.

I love that David uses the word “salvation” twice in this short passage, alluding to the coming Christ. I always am amazed at how perfectly all three passages correlate in these daily readings. There is always an obvious singular theme that threads through all three of the readings every day.

Look at today’s readings: today’s Psalm foreshadows Christ’s salvation through his death on the cross. In our New Testament passage today we read about Christ’s crucifixion in Matthew. It was no accident that Jesus was crucified on Passover weekend. Jews had been observing their Passover celebration since Moses’ days. Jesus was our final Passover sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb whose shed blood provided our salvation. And in our Old Testament passage we read about that very first Passover event 1400 years before.

This is no coincidence. God’s holy book is alive and magical!

Painting by Mary Iselin

Matthew 27 – The Crucifixion
Exodus 11 & 12 – The First Passover

The four days that I read about Jesus’ death as I read through the Bible every year are always somber. It affects me deeply.

Don’t miss the significance of this being the weekend of the Passover feast. Jesus is, of course, the final Passover lamb who takes away our sins forever. Jews had been celebrating the Passover feast ever since God commanded it when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt 1400 years earlier. The symbolism of it all is so compelling.

The stubborn Pharaoh refused to free the Israelites through all the terrible plagues, until the last one when the LORD Himself travels through Egypt and kills all the Egyptians’ first born sons. God had instructed all the Israelites to paint their doorframes with the blood of a spotless male lamb so that the LORD would pass over their houses and spare them on this night of death. What a perfect picture of Jesus, whose blood would allow the curse of death to passover and spare us for eternity.

We see this reflected again in the Jewish custom of releasing a prisoner during Passover feast, just as the Israelites had been released from their slavery to the Egyptians. Barabbas, the actual criminal, was released. And Jesus, who was innocent, is executed instead. Every single one of us is that Barabbas, the one released from our bondage by Jesus taking our place.

I am usually moved to tears as I read how Jesus was beaten, mocked, and tortured. Remember he had told his disciples that at any moment he could ask God and twelve legions of angels would be sent to save Him. Jesus could have ended that torture at any moment. But He chose to stay there for me and you. He had wrestled with his flesh and resolutely completed His dreadful holy mission to save us. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus!