Read: Luke 22:1-13
Luke 22 opens with the “Feast of Unleavened Bread,” that is, the feast of Passover drew near. Passover celebrated God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This was one of the three times a year that the city of Jerusalem swelled as Jews from all over came to celebrate Passover. Homes were opened and people filled ever corner of the ancient city.
Luke records that the religious leaders sought to kill Jesus and “Satan entered into Judas Iscariot,” providing that avenue they needed. In the chaos of an overcrowded city, Judas had the opportunity to meet with these leaders, but only one of his close association with Jesus would know “when the crowds weren’t around.”
Verses 7–13 don’t strike most modern readers as especially odd. Jesus told Peter and John, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” In our minds we think, He’s the boss, surely, he made these kinds of statements all the time. Therefore, when they respond, “Where will you have us prepare it?” we think they’re asking about location.
Jesus was not asking, “Hey, where y'all wanna eat tonight?” with everyone busting out their Yelp apps or Google Maps to see what is around. When Peter and John ask their question they’re not asking about location, they’re asking about opportunity. They’re asking, “What do you mean Jesus, don’t you know everywhere is booked? Did you not make a reservation?”
Jesus responds in a weird way, “Look here” (that’s a Kentucky translation of idou meaning “behold”), when y'all get in the city there will be a man holding a big pink Chanel purse. Follow him until he gets where he’s going, then go in and tell them you want the upper room.” Ok, so now replace the purse with a “water jug on his head” and you’ll get my meaning. Men did not tote water jugs—that would have stood out.
Jesus could have chosen any time to offer himself up as a sacrifice—he chose Passover as his last meal. Preparing Passover required going to the Temple and sacrificing an unblemished Lamb. Imagine sacrificing 250,000 lambs in the span of about 2–3 hours. The Priests did not have time to kill the animals, each family was responsible. All those people were jammed in the Temple courts and did the sacrifices in waves. The priests caught the blood and threw it on the altar. They took the fat and threw it on the altar. Levites stood around the courtyard singing worship (halal) psalms. There was a cacophony of bleeding Lambs over which praise to God was sung. The smell must have been terrible and the bloody mess unimaginable.
Everything about the events of this day either fulfilled existing prophecy, or was imparted with new meaning. The Passion of Jesus was the culmination of human history—a turning point. Passover had been practiced for 1,500 years before Christ lived. Ultimately, each symbol of Passover points to the Christ, whose body would be broken and whose blood would be shed. This same ceremony is still practiced almost exactly as it was 2,000 years since Christ had his Last Supper.
Because Passover is so important to Jesus’ final days, it may be worth our time to learn a little about it. If you have time, watch this video of Christ in the Passover. It is from a chapel I attended while a seminary student. I think you’ll be encouraged.
Thank you Tyler for sharing this video. This brings back wonderful memories of participating in the complete seder back in 1987 at my first church ministry at Luther Rice Seminary in Florida with Jews for Jesus.
Awesome. Yeah, Erin and I went to the Seder that this guy hosted that year. It was incredible.
This is a comforting/encouraging reminder that even when everything’s NOT perfectly planned out, and even when we have NOT managed to get all the ducks in a row (ours & everybody else’s) ... God might have everything worked out perfectly after all! In His own mysterious way, with His own purposes, for His own glory and for our good.