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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER

Matt 26:17-19 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. (Also See Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13)

Since the beginning of His earthly ministry, which started with His attendance at the wedding in Cana, this event represents the fourth, and final, Passover celebrated by our Savior with His disciples. The lesson text, found in Matthew, with corresponding accounts in Mark, and Luke, begins on the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, more commonly referred to as the feast of the Passover. It should be noted here that the term Passover, refers, not only to the eight-day celebration of this holy period, but it also means the lamb that is slain and eaten on this occasion. As Jesus and His disciples came together, they asked Him, Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover, that is, the symbolic sacrificial lamb? Although there were severe threatenings on the life of Jesus by the Jewish leaders, yet, He, as well as His disciples, were determined to celebrate this event as required by God's law as it was given to them through His messenger, Moses. Knowing that Jesus had no other place to do so, His obedient servants asked a very appropriate question: Where are we to prepare for this feast? Considering this, it is good to know that, according to biblical historians, the Jews did not take advantage of their numerous brethren that completely filled the city of Jerusalem on these feast days. They did not command exorbitant rental fees for these occasions, but rather, if individuals and families had rooms available, they would allow out-of-town guests to use them without any cost.

In answer to His disciples question on where to prepare the Passover meal, Jesus told them to 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. Mark says that Jesus sent forth two of His disciples, and the man they were to meet would be bearing a pitcher of water (Vs. 13). They were to follow him, and at the home he entered, they were to ask to use the guest chamber in which to celebrate this religious feast. Luke adds one additional bit of information to that which Matthew and Mark recorded. He wrote that the two disciples that Jesus sent were His apostles, Peter and John (Vs. 8). The message they were to give to the owner of the house was that their Master saith, My time is at hand. Unknown to the master of the house and vaguely understood by His disciples, this "time," Jesus referred to was the same as "the hour" and "His hour" as recorded in John 8:20; 13:1, which meant the hour of His God-appointed sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary. Some say that the goodman of the house, when approached by Peter and John, knew "The Master" they referred to as desiring to use a room in his home in which to eat the Passover, was Jesus. Such speculation is meaningless, however we do note that the homeowner immediately granted permission to do so without any questions, and showed them a large upper room furnished and prepared (See Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12).

There in the holy city of Jerusalem, in the home of this hospitable man, and in a large upper room, Jesus' disciples, possibly Peter and John, made ready the Passover. Instructions for this preparation and eating of the Passover meal initially established by God through His servant Moses, and are found in Exodus 12:4-11. There we find that a one-year-old male lamb, without any blemishes is to be taken from the flock. Initially the lamb was to be slain and its blood was to be sprinkled on the lentils and doorposts of the home, but after the exodus from Egypt, it was to be sprinkled on the sanctuary altar. The entire carcass was then roasted and eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

In New Testament Christianity, the blood shed by Christ Jesus on the cross of Calvary typifies the Passover sacrifice. John the Baptist identified Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29), and the apostle Peter tells us that God's children have been redeemed by His precious blood like a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Pet. 1:18-19). Indeed, every Christian that has been baptized for the remission of sins has been redeemed from sin and death through the power of the blood of Christ Jesus, the Lamb.