devotion 4-29-15

Good Morning – we needed this rain!

Luke 22:7-13

7Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” 9They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” 10“Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11and say to the owner of the house, ‘The teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 12He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” 13So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

The day of the Passover feast came – during the day all the preparations would be made. But where were the disciples to prepare the traditional feast for Jesus and his followers? Just as on Palm Sunday Jesus had sent disciples to find a donkey whose owners simply let them take it, so now, Jesus sends Peter and John into the city to prepare for the dinner. They are to find a man carrying water – this might sound absurd, didn’t everyone have to carry water in those days before running water in homes? But, a man carrying water would have been unusual, because this was “women’s work”; men did not carry water. Why is this detail included? Perhaps Jesus had made arrangements before-hand with this man; but, what Luke wants us to know from this is that Jesus knew what was happening. It is his prophetic ability that is evident here, just as it was in the previous passage; we are to understand that Jesus knew that the plot against him was thickening, the traitor had already sold him out, his time was short – he was moving towards the crucifixion. He would not be a victim, caught unawares – he moved, fully aware, towards his purpose.

Peter and John went into the city, and did find the large upper room as it had been described. What preparations did they need to make? The room was furnished, but they needed the elements for the meal. They had to purchase unleavened bread, bitter herbs, wine, and a lamb that had been approved by a priest as unblemished and properly slain. They had to roast the lamb whole, and it must be entirely consumed that evening. The Passover feast would begin at sunset, and preparations must be complete before then. The Passover was, and is, an important feast to the Jewish people, symbolizing their liberation from slavery in Egypt, when they ate the first Passover lamb, and its blood on the door-post protected them from the angel of death. Unleavened bread symbolized their hurry in leaving Egypt, having no time for bread to rise; bitter herbs symbolized their struggle for freedom in the journey through the desert.

It is significant, as the story unfolds, that this was the night of the Passover. For a lamb without blemish was to be slain the next day – not for the freedom of just the Jews, but for the freedom of all human beings.

the building pictured is holy to Christians, Muslims, and Jews – it is built on the site said to be the site of the Upper Room. To Jews it is over the tomb of David, and an associated synagogue. To Muslims, the building itself was once a mosque, and is, therefore, holy. It stands, open to all, as a symbol of interfaith cooperation, often tentative in Jerusalem.

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