Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
In the Jewish calendar the Passover was immediately followed by the 7-day feast of unleavened bread; that is why the two are often referred to together. The Passover lamb had to be killed at twilight on the first day (Thursday, in this instance) (Exodus 12:6), and then eaten that night. The disciples would need to get a lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine for the meal, and prepare everything for “Jesus, party of thirteen”.
As Jesus had previously told the disciples to get a colt upon which he would ride, and simply say that the Lord needed it, so he tells them to get a room in which they can eat, and simply say that the Teacher asks for it. A man carrying water in a jar would be easy to spot, since carrying water in a jar was something that women did, not men. The owner of the house was perhaps a follower of Jesus, and thus eager to serve him. In any case, the disciples found everything “just as Jesus had told them”.
Why are we focusing on such a simple incident? Because it shows us how, despite the hatred and murderous intentions of the Jewish leaders, Jesus would celebrate the Passover as scheduled. Jesus knew everything that was about to happen and was in full command of his and others’ activities. And Jesus would offer himself as the true and final Passover lamb (I Corinthians 5:7) at exactly the right time. Even as the disciples were preparing the room for the Passover, Jesus was preparing himself for the sacrifice.
Yes, Jesus is the true paschal (Passover) lamb, who saves us from death and brings us out of slavery to sin into the freedom of the children of God. Praise Him for his great love and sacrifice on our behalf!
Where the paschal blood is poured,
death’s dark angel sheathes his sword;
Israel’s hosts triumphant go
through the wave that drowns the foe.
Praise we Christ, whose blood was shed,
paschal victim, paschal bread;
with sincerity and love
eat we manna from above. (Latin hymn)