The high point of the Jewish calendar was the Passover. It was, for the Jews, one of the holiest times of the year. However, while Jesus is encouraging and preparing His disciples for what is to happen, the religious leaders are engaged in a very different activity.
“After two days was the feast of the Passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.” – Mark 14:1-2
This passage presents us with a bizarre contradiction. On the one hand, we are coming up to the holiest time of the Jewish year, in which the Passover festival is observed, representing salvation and life.
On the other hand, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, who are responsible for being the spiritual leaders of the people in this observance, are plotting to kill the Son of God.
This passage highlights the evil and self-delusional nature of religious hypocrisy. In the end, the plans of the chief priests and the teachers of the law came to nothing. They ended up arresting Jesus on the eve of the Passover and murdering him during the Passover itself. And in the end, Jesus returned from the grave anyway.
These religious leaders who thought they were so carefully manipulating everything eventually lost it all in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
There is a vital lesson here for us. The chief priests and the teachers of the law ended up in this situation of gross hypocrisy because they were intent on protecting their interests first.
If we claim to be followers of Jesus, we must put Jesus first in every aspect of our lives; otherwise, we will even unknowingly slide into hypocrisy. Is it time to examine our priorities?