We are less than 24 hours from Jesus’ arrest. It is time prepare for the Passover meal. This will be Jesus’ last Passover supper with His disciples and He wants it to be special. But there are still some matters that need attending to during this dinner.
As expected, Matthew shared this story too. We looked at it in our blog titled Dinner is Served. Feel free to pop back over and review our discussion.
One topic I kept getting side tracked with was exactly when the Passover lamb was killed and did Jesus’ death coincide with that sacrifice. In Mark’s telling of this account he states specifically that “on the first day of Unleavened Bread … they sacrificed the Passover lamb” (verse 12). I guess that answers my question from the last time we talked about this scene.
Mark also gives us a little more description of the process of getting to the room where Jesus and His disciples ate their final meal together. I believe it was a miracle orchestrated by God just for Jesus. It reminds me of another father taking care of his son. The story of how Abraham secured a wife for Isaac. God Himself intervened in that event too. Check out God’s fingers in action in Genesis 24.
After being asked where to prepare the meal by His disciples, Jesus describes in detail where they should go and what they should look for. His directions show direct foreknowledge of things to come. He did this same thing with the donkey He rode in on in the beginning of the week. But this time the person who would provide for Jesus’ needs had to do a little work beforehand. He had to prepare the room himself. He had to clean it, furnish it, set it up, and gather everything Jesus’ disciples would need for their Passover celebration. I truly believe God orchestrated this in advance as a love gift for His Son. I wouldn’t be surprised if God spoke to this man in a dream and told him exactly what needed to be done. I don’t think Jesus made arrangements beforehand, because then His disciples who were with Him nearly constantly would have known and simply went to the place already agreed upon. I love how God cared for Jesus in all the little ways He could, without being an overbearing Parent.
I want to throw out a question here. What were Jesus and the rest of the disciples doing while the meal was being prepared? Mark tells us that Jesus and the rest of the twelve came in the evening. He was probably out ministering to people, but we are not told about it. I would like to meet some of the last people to receive from Jesus during that week. The LAST person would be the thief from the cross. I really want to meet him.
Unfortunately, our reading today also includes some unpleasant business, but also another God prepared moment. Not that God forced or damned Judas to this role, but that God knew who, what, and when all this was going to take place. Jesus also shared fully in that knowledge. This was part of the ugly section of God’s plan.
During dinner, Jesus gets a serious look on His face. John, who is right next to Him notices it. “What’s wrong Master?”
Jesus looks around the room and then calmly announces, “One of you is going to betray me.”
The room grows deathly silent. Peter nearly chokes on a piece of bread. Matthew’s head snaps around to look directly at Jesus. James drops his utensils on the table. Judas swallows hard and wonders how much Jesus really knows. Thomas gets a questioning look on his face. Everyone’s minds are racing. What does He mean? How will He be betrayed? Who would do such a thing? Could it possibly be something I do?
Peter finally breaks the silence. With tears in his eyes he asks, “Is it me?” Each of His other disciples ask this same question, all fearing He will answer that it is indeed them. Jesus doesn’t answer any of them directly but instead tells them all that the one who dips their bread into the dish with him is the one. Were they all sharing the dipping bowl? How many of them dipped with Him before this statement? How many dipped afterwards? Were they each afraid to after that point? Was Judas’ hand currently in the bowl with Jesus’ when He made that statement? Talk about an all eyes on the “prize” moment.
What was running through Judas’ mind during this confrontation? Was he afraid of being caught or found out by the rest of the disciples? Did he really believe Jesus knew he was going to betray him to the religious leaders? Did he think Jesus was alluding to a different type of betrayal, like Judas’ taking advantage of the money bag? “What does He know” must surely have been ringing in Judas’ head.
Jesus’ next statement, how did it hit Judas? Jesus said that it was necessary that He be betrayed. Ok. That let Judas off the hook a little. Jesus needed him to betray him for some part of His “ultimate plan.” But Jesus didn’t stop there. He said that the one who betrays Him, it would be better off for him if he had never been born! Did this make Judas angry, or scared?
“What do You mean better off if I had never been born? What does He plan to do? Surely He doesn’t mean that literally. He is always talking in parables. Besides that, I’m going to be rich. What could be better than that? Who does He think He is anyway? That seals it for me. I’m out of here at the first possible moment.” All this runs through Judas’ head while he tries to maintain his look of innocence.
Father God, I love reading about how You prepared everything in advance for Jesus. You made this most difficult week of Jesus’ life just a little bit easier. It didn’t lessen the pain to come but it did demonstrate Your love for Your Son in tangible ways. Thank You that You show me Your love in tangible ways too. You open doors that I would never have known about if not for Your intervention. You lead me to places of refreshing when I’m tired. You hold me when I’m hurting. Thank You for each and every one of those times.
Thank You too for preparing Jesus ahead of time for what was to come. For His knowledge that one of His own would betray Him. I believe He knew from the very beginning when You, He, and Your Holy Spirit laid out the plan in the first place. Did You see Judas’ face at that moment? Being time has no power over You, You could have, but did You? Judas’ actions, even though Jesus knew about them beforehand, must still have hurt. To know it was going to happen, then to see it actually take place. “Just as expected” or “I wish he would have listened to My warning.” Which was it that day?
Do I bring You to moments like these? Do You shake Your head at the things I do? I’m sure You do at some of them. Do I listen to Your warnings or do I pretend You’re talking to someone else? Probably both and different times. Thank You for Your warnings, even when I don’t heed them. The times I have listened have been a great blessing. One in particular was when I learned the benefit of “fighting with a cool head” instead of reacting out of emotions. That one time changed my life. Thank You for warning me then and reminding me now. I guess sometimes I do listen. Please help me listen more often.