MUSING – November 30, 2018
AN ANGUISH SO GREAT
Killing the Passover lamb was customary on the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The disciples asked Jesus, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” He sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the city. You will meet a man carrying a jug of water. Follow him. When he goes into a house, tell the owner that the teacher asks, ‘Where is my room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs and show you a large room. The room will be completely furnished. Get everything ready for us there.” The disciples left. They went into the city and found everything as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. When evening came, Jesus arrived with the twelve apostles.
“You will meet a man carrying a jug of water.” With these words Jesus sent two of his disciples into the city to find a place to prepare the Passover feast. A man carrying water would most likely be a servant bringing water to ritually clean the space in which the feast could be prepared. At this late day for preparation it would most likely be a room for rent to the many coming to Jerusalem for the holy days.
Several questions come to my mind here. First among them is, why go to a stranger’s house for the feast of unleavened bread? He had friends and followers in Jerusalem (Mark 11:8-10*) why not feast with them? Perhaps it was because he knew that his enemies would be watching those places and didn’t want to further endanger them. Maybe it was because he desired to spend this holy day with his closest friends.
We just recently celebrated Thanksgiving and most of us gathered with those closest to us. It is a very human thing to do. And Jesus was very human at this point in time. He knew that very shortly he would be beaten nearly too death an then would be publicly executed in a horrendous manner. In Matthew 26:38-39 we read as he confessed to his friends, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake with me.” After walking a little farther, he quickly bowed with his face to the ground and prayed, “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine.” Is it any wonder that he desired to eat this meal with them? He said in Luke 22:15, “I’ve had a deep desire to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” And he then instituted what we now call Holy Communion.
Remember the next time you partake of the grape and the grain how much this meal meant to him want was about to die for us.
Many spread their coats on the road. Others cut leafy branches in the fields and spread them on the road. Those who went ahead and those who followed him were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is our ancestor David’s kingdom that is coming! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
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