14 This will be a day for you to always remember. I want you and all generations after you to commemorate this day with a festival to Me. Celebrate this feast as a perpetual ordinance, a permanent part of your life together. 15 You are to eat bread made without yeast for seven days. On the first day get rid of any yeast you find in your house. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast during the seven festival days must be cut off from the rest of Israel. 16 On the first day of the festival and again on the seventh, gather the community together for a time of sacred worship. No one may work on those two days except to prepare what every person needs to eat. 17 Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread because it commemorates the day that I led your forces out of Egypt. Honor and celebrate this day throughout all your generations as a perpetual ordinance, a permanent part of your life together. 18 From the evening of the fourteenth day of that first month to the evening of the twenty-first day of that month, eat bread made without yeast. 19-20 No yeast is to be found in any of your houses during the seven festival days. Whoever eats anything that has yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. It doesn’t matter whether he is a foreigner or a native; the same standards apply. During the seven festival days, do not eat anything made with yeast; wherever you live and gather together, be sure you eat only unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses called all of Israel’s elders together and gave them instructions.
Moses: Go and pick out lambs for each of your families, and then slaughter your family’s Passover lamb. 22 Take a handful of hyssop branches, dip them down into the bowl of blood you drained from the sacrifice, and mark the top of the doorway and the two doorposts with blood from the bowl. After you do this, no one should go out that door until the next morning.
23 The Eternal will pass through the land during the night and bring death to the Egyptians. But when He sees the blood-markings across the tops of your doorways and down your two doorposts, He will pass over your houses and not allow His messenger of death to enter into your houses and strike you down. 24 You and all your descendants are obligated to keep these instructions for all time. 25 Even after you arrive in the land the Eternal has promised you—the land flowing with milk and honey—you must keep these instructions and perform this ritual. 26 When your children ask you, “What does this ritual mean to you?” 27 you will answer them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Eternal, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites when we were slaves in Egypt. And although He struck the Egyptians, He spared our lives and our houses.”
The name of this festival, “Passover,” comes from the fact that God “passes over” those houses where the Israelites gather and eat the sacrifice.
When Moses finished these instructions, the people bowed down and worshiped.
28 The Israelites went and did as they were instructed; they were obedient to what the Eternal had commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 Now this is what happened: at midnight, He struck down all the firstborn sons in Egypt—from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on his throne, to the firstborn son of the prisoners locked in the dungeon, and even the firstborn of all the livestock in the land. 30 Pharaoh woke up during the night. He wasn’t the only one. His servants, as well as all of the Egyptians in the land, had awoken. A great scream shattered the night in Egypt, for there was not a single Egyptian house where someone was not dead.
31 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron before the night was over.
Pharaoh (to Moses and Aaron): Get up and get out. Leave my people right now—you and all the rest of the Israelites. Go and worship this god of yours, the Eternal One, just as you have said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds as well with you—just as you said—and go! But bless me on your way out!
Pharaoh hates to admit he has been beaten by Moses and his God. After losing his firstborn son—destined to be the next Pharaoh—he has little choice.
33 The Egyptians frantically urged the people of Israel to hurry and leave their land.
Egyptians (imploring): If you do not leave soon, we will all be dead.
34 So the Israelites hurried. They took their bread dough before any yeast had been added, packed up their kneading bowls, wrapped them in some of their clothing, and carried them on their shoulders.
35 The people of Israel also did what Moses had told them to do; they asked the Egyptians for items made of silver and gold, and they asked for extra clothing as well. 36 The Eternal caused the Egyptians to have a favorable attitude toward His people, so the Egyptians fulfilled these requests and gave the people what they asked for. This is how the Israelites stripped the Egyptians of their valued possessions.
For many years the Egyptians stripped the people of Israel of their lives, labor, and dignity. God’s justice demands that Israel be paid for all they lost.
37 The Israelites left and traveled from Rameses to Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. 38 Another crowd, made up of various and sundry peoples, accompanied them, as well as herds, flocks, and a great number of livestock. 39 They baked flat bread along the way from the dough without yeast which they carried with them from Egypt. The dough had no yeast because the people had been rushed out of Egypt, and they did not have enough time to gather food supplies for themselves.
40-41 The Israelites had lived in the land of Egypt for a total of 430 years. On the last day of their 430th year, all the forces belonging to the Eternal left the land of Egypt. 42 This was the night when the Eternal kept watch over His people and brought them safely out of the land of Egypt; now this night is to be kept by His people, to be celebrated by all of the people of Israel throughout all generations.
Eternal One (to Moses and Aaron): 43 This is the requirement for Passover: no foreigner or outsider should eat this meal. 44 But every slave bought with money may participate in this celebration if he has been initiated into the community by circumcision. 45 No temporary residents or paid servants may share in it. 46 The meal must be eaten in only one house. Don’t take any of the meat outside. Not one of the lamb’s bones shall be broken.[a] 47 The entire community of Israel must celebrate it. 48 If you have outsiders living among you and they want to celebrate the Passover to the Eternal with you, then all the men must agree to be circumcised. Only after circumcision may they join in and celebrate with you; then you must treat them as if they were native-born. But make sure no uncircumcised male eats any part of the sacred meal. 49 The same instruction applies to everyone equally—without distinction—the native as well as the outsider who is living among you.
50 Then all of the Israelites did exactly as the Eternal had instructed Moses and Aaron to do. 51 On that same day, He led the Israelites as they marched out of the land of Egypt like an army.
This night is still remembered by Jewish people each year during the festival called Passover. The exodus—God’s liberation of the Hebrew slaves from Egypt—is one of the most important events in all Scripture. For over 400 years, God’s covenant people lived as outsiders in Egypt. For as long as that last generation could remember, they had been slaves living embittered lives under a cruel regime. But God heard their cries and acted finally and decisively to rescue them. Now it is time to go home, to a land they have never seen, a land of promise and prosperity. They return not as slaves but as free people, a powerful force for God in the world. The exodus leaves a permanent mark on the people of Israel. It is celebrated in song, recorded in Scripture, and commemorated in a festival; the prophets even see a day when a new exodus is coming.
13 Eternal One (to Moses): 1-2 Set apart all of the firstborn and dedicate them to Me. The first male offspring—both human and animal—that opens the womb among the people of Israel belongs to me.
Moses (to the people): 3 Remember this day, the day when you departed from Egypt and left behind lives of slavery. For the strong hand of the Eternal has freed you from Pharaoh and his Egypt. In observing this day, be careful not to eat any food containing yeast. 4 You are leaving today in the month of Abib. 5 When He leads you into the land which He promised your ancestors He would give to you—a wide, open space flowing with milk and honey, a land currently inhabited by the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Amorites, and Jebusites—I want you to observe the following festival during this month: 6 For seven days, you are to eat only bread made without yeast. On the seventh day, celebrate a feast in honor of the Eternal. 7 Remember the directive: only bread made without yeast can be eaten during the seven festival days. Don’t keep any bread with yeast around; in fact, get rid of all yeast anywhere in your territory during those days. 8 You are to explain to your children on that day, “We observe this feast because of what the Eternal did for me when I came out of Egypt.” 9 This festival will be a sign to you—like a mark stamped on the back of your hand or a reminder written across your forehead—so that the Eternal’s instruction will never be far from your lips. For He led you out of Egypt with a strong hand. 10 Observe what I have decreed at the designated time every year.
11 The Eternal will lead you into the land He promised you and your ancestors—the land where the Canaanites are now living. 12 You are to dedicate to Him every offspring that opens the womb—your firstborn sons and the firstborn male of all your livestock—for they belong to Him. 13 You may redeem every firstborn of a donkey by sacrificing a lamb in its place. If you choose not to redeem it, then you must break its neck. But you must redeem all of your firstborn sons and not sacrifice them.
14 There will come a time when your children ask you, “What is this thing we are doing?” You will say, “With a strong hand the Eternal led us out of Egypt and freed us from lives of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh’s heart was as hard as stone, and he refused to release us, the Eternal killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt (both humans and animals). That is why I sacrifice the firstborn male of all our livestock to Him, but then I redeem every firstborn son by sacrificing a substitute.”
16 These practices will be like a mark stamped on the back of your hand and a reminder written across your forehead, a constant reminder that the Eternal led us out of Egypt with a strong hand.
29 So finally Jesus and His disciples left Jericho and headed for Jerusalem; and, of course, a large crowd followed them. 30 Two blind men, sitting on the roadside, heard the crowd approaching with Jesus.
Two Blind Men: Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!
31 The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted louder.
Two Blind Men: Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!
Jesus (taking the two blind men aside): 32 What is it that you want, brothers?
Two Blind Men: 33 Lord, we want to see.
34 Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they could see, and so they followed Him.
After a great parade, Jesus and His disciples walk into the temple area, and what He sees enrages Him. He sees moneychangers, buying and selling. He sees men sitting on benches, hawking doves to those who have come from the countryside to make a sacrifice. He sees that the salesmen and teachers have turned a sanctuary of worship into a place of spiritual prostitution. This is the place where Jesus came as a boy to sit with the great teachers. It is the place where His Father receives the offerings of His people. It is more than Jesus can take.
Can anyone be surprised at this other side to Jesus? He has turned out to be not just a kindly teacher; instead, He is the Anointed One, not to be taken lightly. In the midst of this scene filled with joy and chaos, there are extremes. Some are beginning to understand who this man from Galilee is—the Anointed—but the rulers are having great difficulty with the disruption to their orderly world.
21 Jesus, the disciples, and the great crowds were heading toward Jerusalem when they came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus stopped and beckoned to two of the disciples.
Jesus: 2 Go to the village over there. There you’ll find a donkey tied to a post and a foal beside it. Untie them and bring them to Me. 3 If anyone tries to stop you, then tell him, “The Master needs these,” and he will send the donkey and foal immediately.
4 He sent the disciples on ahead so His entry into Jerusalem could fulfill what the prophet Zechariah had long since foretold:
5 Tell this to Zion’s daughter,
“Look—your King is approaching,
seated humbly on a donkey,
a young foal, a beast of burden.”[a]
6 So the disciples went off and followed Jesus’ instructions. 7 They brought the donkey and foal to Jesus, they spread their cloaks on the animals, and Jesus sat down on them. 8 The great crowd followed suit, laying their cloaks on the road. Others cut leafy branches from the trees and scattered those before Jesus. 9 And the crowds went before Jesus, walked alongside Him, and processed behind—all singing.
Crowd: Hosanna, praises to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Eternal One! Hosanna in the highest![b]
The way Jesus enters the city on a lowly donkey, with crowds surrounding Him singing praises, surprises many within Jerusalem.
10 And that is how Jesus came into Jerusalem. The people noticed this strange parade. They wondered who this could be, this humble bearded man on a donkey who incited such songs.
Crowd: 11 This is Jesus, the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.
12 Jesus came to the temple. He drove out all those who were buying and selling. He upended the moneychangers’ tables and the dove-sellers’ benches.
Jesus: 13 It is written, “My house will be a house of prayer for all people,” but you have turned this house of prayer into a den of robbers.[c]
14 Then the blind and the lame came to the temple, and Jesus healed them. 15 Rings of children circled round and sang, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” But the priests and scribes didn’t understand. When they saw the upturned tables, the walking paralytics, and the singing children, they were shocked, indignant, and angry, and they did not understand.
Priests and Scribes: 16 Do you hear what these children are saying?
Jesus: Yes. Haven’t you read your own psalter? “From the mouths and souls of infants and toddlers, the most innocent, You have decreed praises for Yourself.”[d]
17 At that, Jesus left Jerusalem. He went to Bethany, where He spent the night.
18 The next morning, Jesus went back to the city. It was early and He was wanting breakfast, so 19 He stopped at a lone fig tree by the road. The fig tree, disappointingly, had no figs, only leaves.
Jesus: May you never bear fruit again!
Immediately the tree shriveled up. 20 The disciples were amazed.
Disciples: How did that fig tree wither so quickly?
Jesus: 21 I tell you this: if you have faith and do not doubt, then you will be able to wither a fig tree with one glance. You will be able to tell mountains to throw themselves into the ocean, and they will obey.
As Jesus says this, one or two disciples probably glance around the shadows of the early morning, confused and afraid. Jesus has just paraded into Jerusalem and upset the vendors and leaders with His bold talk. Now He is challenging His disciples to expect the physical creation to respond to their commands and faith. But Jesus isn’t finished.
Jesus: 22 If you believe, whatever you ask for in prayer will be granted.
16 QUIETLY turn Your eyes to me and be compassionate toward me
because I am lonely and persecuted.
17 RAPIDLY my heart beats as troubles build on the horizon.
Come relieve me from these threats.
18 SEE my troubles and my misery,
and forgive all my sins.
19 TAKE notice of my enemies.
See how there are so many of them
who hate me and would seek my violent destruction.
20 Watch over my soul,
and let me face shame and defeat
UNASHAMED because You are my refuge.
21 May honor and strong character keep me safe.
VIGILANTLY I wait for You, hoping, trusting.
22 Save Israel from all its troubles,
O True God.
Laziness is not just a bad habit; it’s a threat—a clear and present danger. Since the beginning, God has made us in His image to create and tend His good creation. In other words, God has made us to work. It is in our spiritual DNA. We must do it in order to be who God made us and to fight off the threats of poverty and want. God has also created the Sabbath as a space for us to rest, of course, just as He rested on the seventh day.
12 Someone who struts around taking advantage of unsuspecting souls
and deceiving others is to be avoided.
13 With a wink of his eye, a quick shuffle of his feet,
and a slight gesture with his hand, he signals his roguish treachery.
14 With a warped mind and twisted heart, he constantly looks for his own gain at others’ expense,
causing friction everywhere he goes.
15 But you watch: his actions will bring sudden disaster!
In an instant, his life will be shattered,
and there will be nothing to save him.