English Standard Version (ESV)
The Passover with the Disciples7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.” 9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?” 10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.” 13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: God's Preparation for the Final Passover
Accompanying Dave Bruskas (Mars Hill) sermon: Jesus and the Last Supper
Today we see continuing evidence of God's absolute sovereignty.
MacArthur: The Father had designed the plan. The Spirit empowered the plan. And Jesus enacted the plan, doing only what the Father willed Him to do when the Father willed Him to do it. He was on a divine schedule and He controlled every detail.
I love that. The knowledge of God's absolute sovereignty is just thrilling to me!
The time is drawing near for Jesus to be betrayed and become our Passover lamb, but it can't happen before the celebration of the final passover, and the beginning of the celebration of communion. I'm sure Judas thought this would be the perfect opportunity to betray Jesus and for the Jewish leaders to arrest Him, because they would be in a fixed location in a private home with no crowds around to interfere. Easy betrayal. Of course, Jesus knows this and He knows this is not the divine timetable. Jesus still needs to institute the Lord's Table and He still has a lengthy teaching session coming up with the disciples (John 13-17). And He needs to be sacrificed during the slaughter of the Passover lambs.
Immediately, I had a question, and, not surprisingly MacArthur had the answer.
How could Jesus celebrate the Passover Thursday night, and be crucified during the Passover Friday afternoon? How could there be two Passover nights?
The answer is surprisingly simple. The Jews in the north (Galileans) and the Jews in the south (Judeans) calculated time differently from one another. In the north, a day was calculated from sunrise to sunrise. In the south, a day was calculated from sunset to sunset. So, for the Galileans (Jesus and His disciples) the 14th day of Nissan was sunrise Thursday to sunrise Friday which means the Passover lambs were slaughtered Thursday afternoon and the Passover supper was eaten Thursday evening. But, for the Judeans (including Jerusalem) the 14th day of Nissan was sunset Thursday to sunset Friday which meant that the lambs were slaughtered Friday afternoon and the supper was eaten Friday evening. This both minimized crowds and the number of animals to be sacrificed at a given time, and separated the two peoples which minimized conflict. So, Jesus celebrates the Judean Passover on Thursday night, and then becomes our Passover lamb on Friday.
Back to the whole clandestine Passover celebration. Jesus sent only 2 disciples (Peter and John) likely because tradition said that only 2 men were to bring the Passover lamb to be sacrificed in order to minimize the crowds.
The two disciples had a lot of work to do to prepare for this meal. They had to obtain and have slaughtered the lamb. They had to find unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs (to symbolize the bitterness of their time in Egypt), a dip called kereseth which was made up of apples, dates, pomegranates, and nuts all ground up into a brown paste (to symbolize the bricks they had to make out of the mud), cinnamon sticks (to symbolize the straw sticks they used to make the bricks), a bowl of salt water (to remind them of the tears they shed while in Egypt as well as the salt waters of the Red Sea through which God delivered them). That's a lot to get ready.
And they have no idea where they're going. Jesus doesn't want Judas to know, so one of the disciples can know - they have no reason to distrust Judas at this point, and Jesus can't have one of them telling Judas. So there's a bit of a cloak and dagger scene going on here - follow the man with the pitcher... :)
We don't know if Jesus prearranged this, or if He simply made it happen supernaturally. Either way, it wouldn't have been an issue for Him. The point is, secrecy was the key in order for the Passover celebration to happen the way it needed to, in order for Jesus to fulfill everything that needed to be done before His betrayal and subsequent death and resurrection.
Isn't amazing how God oversees every single detail?
He does that in our lives as well. I know there are some people that think God is not concerned about the details of our lives, the He doesn't micromanage us (for lack of a better term), but I think He does. He knows us intimately, He loves us, He is in control of absolutely every single thing that is going on in the entire universe at any given time. That can make us feel small and insignificant - and in many ways it should, it should absolutely humble us. But it should also make us feel loved - yes, He is in control of the entire universe - but He IS interested and active in the details too. What an amazing God we serve!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 22:14-20
Sunday's passage: Ezekiel 47-48
Monday's passage: 1 John 5, Daniel 1-2
Excellent post, Tammy. Thanks for the information on the two days of Passover. Very interesting! And I agree with your final paragraph. An amazing God indead.
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