Passover: Prelude on the Mountain

More than three years had passed since Yeshua of Nazareth, the rabbi from Galilee, began to travel and teach about the imminent appearance of the Kingdom of Heaven. His message of repentance, faith in him, and charity to the downtrodden did not sit well with the political and religious figures he encountered. The Sadducees feared his messianic proclamations would gain strength and cause Rome to marshall its soldiers and place Judaea under even stricter control than the status quo. Some of the Pharisees felt threatened that his teachings were popular among so many, that they would lose their authority and influence over the masses of the people. The Zealots had no time for his pacifist approach to Roman domination. At every turn he was rejected by those who were his kinsmen. Even members of his own family doubted his message and feared for his sanity.

He and his disciples travelled many dusty roads in those years. Now, knowing that his time was nearing an end, he took Peter, James and John with him to a high mountain. Once at the summit, there Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Yeshua. These figures stand for the Law and Prophet who testified about him (John 5:39). “They spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). We have no way of knowing the specific counsel they offered or Yeshua’s words to them, but after the encounter Yeshua set his face firmly toward Jerusalem and began his last pilgrimage to the city. His disciples were afraid, but he comforted them.

These were the days before the Passover. From Galilee to Jerusalem is over one-hundred miles and the route passed through Jericho. The journey would have taken at least ten days. Allowing time for pilgrims to undergo the purification requirements for entry into the Temple, it is likely that this journey began two or more weeks before the festival. As they progressed, they would have been joined by others going to Jerusalem from their villages. Little did the others know that the Lamb of God walked in their midst. Even his disciples seemed not to understand that this journey would end with their Master dead, their lives in jeopardy, and their expectations of an imminent messianic kingdom crushed.

But even now, Yeshua found time to reach out, to heal, to proffer hope to people who were disregarded or disdained by those who should have been their shepherds and protectors. He healed a young boy afflicted by demons, gave sight to the blind, and instructed a rich young man about entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. Wherever he went, Yeshua sought to bring peace and wholeness to those around him. This concept of peace and wholeness is at the root of the Hebrew word shalom. It shares that root with another word, shelem, the Peace Offering.

Despite the impending darkness of his betrayal and execution, Yeshua, our Messiah, thought only of those in need, of bringing comfort to the afflicted. He had surrendered his will to the Father and became the manifestation of the love of God poured out upon many.

More Messianic Passover Teachings

Want more about Passover from a Messianic Jewish perspective? Check out our Passover page!

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