John 19:16-42; 2 Chronicles 30; Psalm 86
It was a most peculiar celebration of the Passover. It was a month late because they needed to make sure they had enough priests consecrated. Hezekiah sent messengers from all over the area seeking to call the sons of Israel to meet together in Jerusalem for this Passover. Many who came were from the lands overrun by the Assyrians; and they didn’t follow all the directions. “Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God–the LORD, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.’ And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.” (2 Chronicles 30:18-21)
Yes, it was a most peculiar celebration of the Passover. What we see that is most amazing is that the grace of God was revealed in this Passover celebration. Like the younger sons, those sons of Israel came and joined in the party seeking the forgiveness of God. The king prayed for them and God granted that prayer.
Today’s reading includes a second Passover story: the crucifixion of Jesus. In this story, the religious leaders sought hard to purify themselves as they forced Pilate’s hand. As Jesus was led to the cross, these religious leaders observed the Passover – pure in their own eyes. In the story of the Passover celebration during Hezekiah’s time, the sons of Israel who returned were purified not by their own actions, but by the grace of God. In the crucifixion, God make it possible for all of us to be seen pure in His eyes – not by our own ability, but by His grace.
Lord God, no matter how hard I try to make myself good enough for You, I fail in the attempt. I thank You that Your grace brings forgiveness and allows me to be pure in Your eyes.