Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it.” They asked him, “Where do you want us to make preparations for it?” “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 and 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?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there.” So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.
Jesus is ready.
His knowledge of the available guest room and the man carrying water is not, as is sometimes suggested, a display of supernatural knowledge. Rather, he has planned this meal, this time with his disciples, in advance. And so he sends his disciples ahead to set in motion the plans he has made.
That should not surprise us. The Passover is the central celebration of the Jewish faith, the festival that anchors them in their identity as God’s beloved people, reminds them of what it was like to be slaves that they may treat others well, and roots them in God’s promise of deliverance. Passover reminds the Israelites of who they are by reminding them of whose they are. And so Jesus has planned the Passover meal he will share with his disciples with care.
This may seem like a small thing. But if Jesus has taken such care with these details, one has to wonder what else Jesus was prepared for. As we read further, we’ll discover it’s actually quite a bit. Jesus will anticipate Judas’ betrayal, make himself available to arrest by meeting in a familiar spot, give himself over to those who want to take him away. In all these ways, Jesus is ready.
He is ready for his arrest, torture, crucifixion, and death.
Why? Because this is his destiny. He has come to proclaim a kingdom and order and way of being in the world that is foreign, even opposed, to the kingdom and order of the world as it is. And he knows that the price of inviting this new order is his life, given in innocence to betray the depravity of the world of violence and power with a demonstration of selfless love.
Yes, Jesus is ready. Are we?
Prayer: Dear God, prepare us to be overwhelmed by what we see: the courage, compassion, and love Jesus demonstrates for his disciples, for the world, and for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.