Lesson 105: Passover Meal Prepared

Matt 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17, Luke 22:7-13, 24-30

A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. This is lesson # 105. Welcome! It was said in our last lesson that nothing is recorded concerning Wednesday. We learned that the passover was Friday. But, when sundown came on Thursday evening it was reckoned as Friday. Jesus looked forward to eating this last passover feast with his apostles. He sent two of his apostles to prepare the feast in Jerusalem some time on Thursday; he himself and the others stayed at Bethany until late on Thursday. Late in the evening, he and the others came into the city; arriving undoubtedly near sundown. Immediately after sundown or as soon as the time changed from Thursday to Friday, they began to observe the passover feast. Twenty four hours later, on Friday evening at sundown, Jesus was crucified and in the tomb. So, this is the last time that Jesus came into the city and the last time he ate a meal, the passover feast.
We'll start with Luke's account, then read Mark and Matthew in that order. We'll begin in Luke 22:7 in just a moment. These writers give us a LITTLE about the preparation. Then they touched very briefly on what happened during the passover meal. John gives us about four chapters of conversation and dialogue that took place during the meal and immediately following. That's going to take us several lessons to cover. Jesus's arrest took place that night after the passover; possibly between 11 PM and midnight, I'm estimating. Our task in THIS LESSON is to try to bring together the details of Thursday and what little is known about the preparation of the passover meal during the hours that preceded the meal itself.
Before we read, let's review just a moment the history and significance of the passover. The feast of unleavened bread, or the passover as it was called, was established BEFORE the giving of the law of Moses, BEFORE the children of Israel left Egypt. This occasion grew out of the last of the ten plagues that God brought upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Moses had been sent to his brethren to deliver them, shortly before that; but, the beginning of the passover seems to be the official beginning or God's reckoning of the forming of the Israelite nation. You may need to go back to Exodus and read the first 20 chapters in that book to get a clear perspective; if you're not familiar with that. I'm going to read about two or three verses, beginning in Exodus 12:40. If you can hold your finger in Luke, please turn and read those verses with me. Beginning in Ex. 12:40, "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the host of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations." Then in the next verse, v.43, it says, "And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover...". and God's instructions are recorded there. Then in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, Moses received and gave more instruction about feast days. In Deut. 16:16, all adult male Jews were required to attend the feast. At the time of Jesus this feast had been kept about 1500 years. It commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage and the sparing of the first-born when the destroying angel smote the first-born in all Egypt that night. Now, the occasion that we're talking about, Thursday night, the 21st of Nisan, (which was called Abib, A-B-I-B, back in Ex. 13:4); but, we're talking about AD 33; was the last scriptural official observance of that occasion of the passover. Now, I said, scriptural official observance. The following year, AD 34, the kingdom, or the church, was in existence. Jesus' law, i.e. the Christian era, or the new covenant, was in force. The ten commandment law and the prophets were fulfilled. Do you remember Matt. 5:17-18? Isaiah had prophesied this, Isa. 2:1-5. Daniel had prophesied this, Dan. 2:44. Jeremiah had prophesied this, Jer. 31:31-34. The writer of the Hebrew letter in the N.T. quoted that Jeremiah scripture in Heb. 8:8-12 and made the same argument we are here discussing, i.e. a new covenant. And, of course, there are hundreds of other references in the O.T. Now, I said this was the last scriptural official observance of the passover. You understand, of course, Jesus told the Jews in Matt. 23:38, "your house is left unto you desolate." That is, God's name was removed from that place; but, the scribes and Pharisees, and Sadducees and the Jews that did not espouse Christianity continued in THEIR religion, so-to-speak. And although the temple was destroyed in AD 70 and was never rebuilt or replaced; some claim to be keeping that religion even today.
Now, while we're on the subject, let me toss in here this thought, just in case it hasn't occurred to you; Christ is said to be a type, or a figure, or a spiritual symbol of the passover. For example, in I Cor. 5:7 the apostle Paul said, "even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us...". In Hebrews ch. 9, and various other places in the N.T. such scriptural references can be found. Jesus is spoken of as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world. Christ as the Lamb idea, [capital "L"] comes from the passover lamb idea that was sacrificed in the institution of the passover. This is interwoven so deeply into the N.T. that we couldn't possibly do it justice here in a few sentences. So, let's get back to Luke.

We're going to read Luke 22:7-13. Have you got your finger on that? Let's read beginning in Luke 22:7. "Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover." Alright, that's a quick discussion of this; but, Peter and John, the two fishermen from Galilee, took on a lot of work that Thursday afternoon. Jesus sent them from Bethany into Jerusalem to make ready. Where they got the lamb to be prepared; we're not told. Did they go down to the sheep market and purchase a lamb? Did someone bring it to than from Galilee in a pre-arranged way? Well, your guess is as good as mine. They had to take it to the temple; have it killed, roasted and prepared according to the instructions given back there in Ex. 12:8, that we talked about earlier. Besides the lamb thus prepared; they were to use bitter herbs, unleavened bread, wine, etc. Of course, Peter and John knew what to do, they had been to Jerusalem every year of their life since they were about 12 years of age and observed this passover feast. It was customary for the people who lived in Jerusalem to open their houses to the visiting and traveling Jews for this occasion. According to the commentators, the Jews showed their hospitality by providing rooms for guests in this way and would not accept rent or hire. The connection of Jesus to the person providing that large upper room for him and his apostles is not explained. It was probably some friend of Jesus and likely a disciple; we are not told the connection. However, it is not necessary to suppose that Jesus had to make prior arrangements when you take into consideration the hospitality view, I just mentioned. Notice in v.11, Peter and John were to simply ask about the GUEST CHAMBER. Nevertheless, I tend to think the goodman of the house was likely a disciple; because, this may very well be the same upper room that the disciple used in the following weeks. (See Acts. 1:13). By "upper room" it singly means the room was upstairs, i.e. not on the street level. It's interesting how Jesus gave the address of the location to Peter and John for them to locate the place. Jesus showed his divine nature by telling the two disciples what the goodman of the house would do. And you might take note of that phrase "goodman of the house" as that term was used in a parable bade in Matt. 20:11. It may be that Jesus did not reveal this location where he would eat the passover to the apostles until the last moment; because of Judas and his deal with the Jewish leaders, i.e. assuring that the supper would not be interrupted, you see. So, v.13, "they made ready the passover."

O.K., let's back up to Mark ch. 14 and begin reading in v.12. We're going to read down through Mark 14:17. Please turn there. Are you ready? Let's read, beginning in Mark 14:12, "And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And who will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve." O.K. the room was furnished and prepared, i.e. undoubtedly the utensils, etc., were prepared. Peter and John got everything ready and Jesus came with the other ten apostles, arriving after sundown, and they went into the guest chamber where the passover feast was ready. There were thirteen persons in all, Jesus plus twelve apostles.
Let's read Matthew! It starts in Matt. 26:17 and we'll read down through v. 20. Are you ready? Beginning in Matt. 26:17, let's read. "Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the -passover? And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve."

Now, take just a minute and try to visualize this occasion. The sun had just sunk behind the mountain as Jesus and the others arrived from Bethany and entered the city. In the twilight of evening, thirteen men ascend some type of stairway to enter the second level where was a "large upper room." That room was furnished and the feast was prepared. The aroma of food must have greeted them as they entered that large upper room. Peter and John were undoubtedly tired from the work of preparation; but, it was prepared. All these men were from Galilee, with the possible exception of Judas Iscariot; we're not sure about Judas. These men had been together for at least two years. They had heard the parables of Jesus as he taught them and as he taught the crowds over Galilee. They had been closer to Jesus than any other disciples. They had received limited powers and went two by two over Galilee, healing and teaching as Jesus had sent them out on the limited commission. They had seen Jesus calm the storm, walk on the sea of Galilee, and feed thousands. They had participated in the same kind of a canvassing program over central Judea in the recent months. They had seen Jesus raise the widow's son at Nain, Jairus1 daughter restored to life, and they had seen Lazarus come forth from the grave after four days in the tomb. These twelve apostles must have grown to be good friends; yet, every man was individualistic, every man was human. Every man had his short comings. We would like to think that, the twelve men Jesus selected to perpetuate his work and to give the keys of the kingdom, were by that time, after two or three years, approaching perfection. But, Luke wants us to see that is not the case. I'm going to get a little out of sequence here; but I would like for us to jump down and read Luke 22:24-30. Please find that! Luke 22:24-30. We're going to begin reading in Luke 22:24. Are you ready? "And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel." It was then less than 24 hours before Jesus would die on the cross outside the city. Yet, there was STRIFE among these twelve men. Immediately, you think of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, with their mother and all their ambitions to sit the one on the right hand and one of the left in the kingdom of heaven (back in Matt. 20:20). Such ambitions were widely scattered among them. "Strife", i.e. competition, one among the other for recognition and vain glory. That kingdom that Jesus had preached over and over as being at hand, as they went over Galilee and the regions of Judea; they had pictured in their mind as going to be some great earthly kingdom in the which THEY, the apostles, were going to be officers. Each in their own human and temporal way were vying and competing against one another to get ahead of each other. Just plain politics; we would call it. Isn't that just about as human, and just about as temporal and mortal and worldly as we are today? We are made to see that they did not understand the nature of the kingdom, even in those last few hours with Jesus. How many people understand the spiritual nature of the church or kingdom today? We find competition today between preachers, elders, and members. How many of us want to be servants? Jesus told them in v.25, they had a Gentile concept. But, in the church, v.26, with the disciples it "shall NOT be so." Jesus "came to seek and save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10). They were missing the point and the mission of the kingdom. Thus, Jesus in the last few hours, with the great burden of death hanging over his head; tried to SERVE the apostles. He tried to strengthen them. He tried to enlighten them and he tried to inform them; so that, even after Jesus' death they would finally get it all together in proper perspective. There was going to be a kingdom, (v.29). They would eat and drink at Jesus' table in that kingdom. They would received the keys of the kingdom, (Matt. 16:19). They would judge the twelve tribes of Israel in a sense. Go back and read Matt. 19:28. We discussed this point there. Until our next lesson, have a good day.

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