The Purpose of the Table
Luke has just introduced us to the forces behind the Betrayal of Jesus Christ, now Luke continues to move us through not only the events that lead up to the betrayal but also the private moments of Jesus and His disciples. In this very private moment Jesus wants His disciples to go and prepare the Passover meal so they can eat it together. Luke begins by telling us it is the first day of Unleavened Bread so it is the beginning of the Passover, when the lamb was to be sacrificed. These events tie Jesus to the sacrificial lamb because He is the Perfect Sacrificial Lamb who is to be sacrificed not only for the nation of Israel but for all of mankind. This preperation is not just for this meal they are about to have together. This preperation has a much deeper meaning. For the disciples it was a Passover meal but for Jesus this was a preperation of a much greater Passover and the symbol that will come out of this preperation will reflect what Jesus is going to do in the next 24 hours.
Let's go ahead and look at our text in Luke 22:7-13,
As we look at this text we will be looking at the Preparing of Table.
Preparing the Table
Preparing the Table
Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.” They said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?” And He said to them, “When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. “And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ “And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.” And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
Now as we look at the Preperation of the Table the first element in this preperation is the Innocence of the Lamb.
Innocence of the Lamb
Innocence of the Lamb
We see this in verse 7, Luke continues his gospel and writes, "Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed." As we looked last week at the forces behind the Betrayal of Jesus Christ, we learned that the feast of Unleavened Bread was approaching. The reason why it is called the feast of Unleavened Bread as you might recall is because it is a feast or feastival that commemorates the deliverance of the nation of Israel out of slavery to the Egyptians. This is found in Exodus 12. They were to bake bread without leaven and in fact before the feast of Unleavened Bread they had to remove all the leaven in their homes.
This feast lasted 7 days and the very first day of the Feast was the day the Isrealites would sacrifice the lamb. This was no ordinary lamb. It was a one year old lamb without defect. The lamb was taken to the priest to be sacrificed for the family. This was as a reminder of the night God came to take the lives of the first born of the nation of Egypt. Once they killed the lamb they were to take its blood and paint it on the lentals and door posts. This was the sign that when the Angel of death came to take the lives of the first born Egyptians He would pass over the houses which had the blood painted on the door posts and lentals.
The lamb that was slain was an innocent lamb, even in the days of Jesus when they celebrated the Passover the lamb was innocent. It had to be a pure lamb, no spot or blemish, no defect what so ever. In fact the sacrifice of the lamb was on the 14 of Nisan. The selection and the presentation of the lamb was on the 10 of Nisan. The lamb had to be inspected to be sure there was no defect at all.
This parallels Jesus. The Apostel John says this in his gospel of the life of Jesus Christ;
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
So you see here Jesus is called the Lamb of God. Jesus is the perfect spotless lamb who has come to take away the sins of the world. He is God's Lamb that would be offered for all of manking not only for the Isrealite community. Being called the Lamb of God would have a powerful meaning. Lambs were sacrificed not only at Passover in commemoration of the flight from Egypt but they would be sacrificed daily for sin offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of all these sacrifices, once for all. He is the substitue whose blood cleanses us so we can be redeemed and can come before God.
Paul also tells the Corinthians this in 1 Corinthians 5:7
Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.
Jesus came in to the world as the Lamb who was to be slain and He bacame the Passover Lamb. Jesus is the only perfect and innocent sacrifice who is the only One God would accept as a sutible substitue for all of mankind. Now in order for Jesus to be a sutible substitue He had to be completly obedient to God and to the Law which God gave to the Israelites. That means even fulfilling this celebrations which God ordained. Jesus had to commemorate this Feast and He wanted to commemorate this feast with His disciples.
The centerpiece of the table in this time is the lamb the innocnent Lamb and what the lamb symbolizes which is deliverance. Jesus is the fulfillment and He is the innocent lamb who is to be slain for the deliverance of all mankind He is also the centerpiece of all that God has done is doing and will do. Jesus is not only the innocent lamb but He is also the administrator of the table. The first element in preparing the table is the innocence of the lamb, the second element is the administrator of the table.
Administrated by the Lamb
Administrated by the Lamb
We see this in verses 8-12. As we look at verse 8 we see Jesus takes the initiative here. He calls two of His disciples and Luke provides us with the names of His discipels, Peter and John. These two are His most trusted. He selects them and tells them to go and prepare the passover for them to eat. Now you have to keep in mind these men are in Jerusalem and they city is filled with people who have come to celebrate the passover. There are thousands of people in Jerusalem. These men have no idea where they are to go and prepare for the passover. So we find in verse 9 that they asked for specific instruction. Verse 9 says, "They said to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare it?" For appropriate question. They are not in their home town they are miles away in the city of Jerusalem which is overrun by Israelites who have come to celebrate. So where are they to prepare it.
Notice here in Jesus Administration of this event He asks and the discipels also recognize Jesus has the control over the event. They may not know how Jesus knows but they do know Jesus has in mind where they are to eat the Passover together. They are right to know this and Jesus answers them. We find the insructions in verses 10 and 12, "And He said to them, 'When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him inot the house that he enters. 11 And you shall say to the owner of the house, "The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?" 12 And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there."'
Here we see Jesus control over this entire event. A few things need to be pointed out here in Jesus adminitration of this. First of all Jesus sends the two. There is no discussion here with the other disciples about where to go, who to meet and Jesus doesn't go Himself. It is actually very secret preparation and location. Remember there is usually a crowd following after Jesus so Jesus can't go and prepare the Passover table, to many eyes and to many people watching what He is doing. In particular the religious leaders who are plotting to kill Jesus. So Jesus sends His two closesest and most trusted disciples.
Second He sends only two without the others knowing where they are going because remember there is a traitor in His midst. Eventhough Jesus knows who he is the others don't and He didn't want Judas to know the location. During the passover meal Jesus was volnurable and the religious leaders could have come in and arrested Him. But this couldn't have happened because Jesus had to have the passover meal with His disciples and Jesus controls this entire event. It is not the religious leaders who picked the time to go and arrest Jesus but it is Jesus who picked His proper time to be arrested. Jesus is in control.
Thirdly Jesus need to have the Passover meal with His discipels He even says in verse 15 "I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer." Why because at this table where they are commerating the exodus from Egypt, the deliverance of the nation of Israel, Jesus know inaugrates His new covenant. The table had to happen, the shift from the commeration of the delvierance from Egypt now becomes a commemoration of the deliverance of all mankind because of the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. This table had to happen.
That is why Jesus dosne't provide an actual address or a discription of the house it had to be secret. All of the elements in His directions to the disciples point to thish fact. A man carrying a pitcher of water. It dosen't seem strange to us but in the ancient Israelite culture this task was reserved for the women. So a man carrying a pitcher of water was unique. This man was also a disciple of Jesus, we know this because is the instruction Jesus provides He tells them to tell the owner of the house, "The Teacher says to you." Those who followed Jesus would have called Him teacher. So he is a disciple.
We find this man has already prepared his guest room and furnished it for the passover. This wouldn't have been uncommon. In Jerusalem at this time all houses would have been prepared for the passover and they had to allow others to use their homes to becuase of the amount of people there in Jerusalem. So the furniture was prepared. This means the they had couches or pillows set so they could recline while eating.
Now the two discipels went out and prepared all the food that was needed. During the Passover they would have bitter herbs, salt water, wine, and apple and potato mix along with unleavened bread and the lamb. So Peter and John after they found the place to have the Passover also aquired all they needed to eat the Passover.
All of this adminstrated by the Lamb Himself. Another note that needs to be brought out. Jesus being the Our Sacrificial Substitutionary Lamb had to die on the cross at the same time the priests where slaughtering the lambs in the temple. Which as we know was not this day but about twenty four hours after they ater together. So how did they have the Passover meal and Jesus be Sacrificed during the sacrifices, well that all deals with how the Israelites marked their days.
You see the Israelites from the north marked their days from sunrise to sunrise. Jesus His twelve apostels being from the north followed this disignation. Now those from the south disignated a day from sundown to sundown. Jerusalem is in the south and the priest of the temple would follow this designation. This is how Jesus is able to have the passover with His disciples and still be sacrificed during the time all the lambs would be sacrificed. Again Jesus has complete and total control of the entire event. The One who administrates the table and even His own sacrifice.
Jesus is the Innocent Lamb who is the fulfillment of the orignal passover, and the passover was administered by Him. Now we see it is arranged for the Lamb.
Arranged for the Lamb
Arranged for the Lamb
In verse 13 we read, "And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover." As usual the disciples would follow Jesus word. They left on a mission of faith because think about they instructions sound a little strange. You'll meet a man with a water pitcher, follow him to his house and you'll find a large furnished room. This is a mission of faith and it is not just to eat with Jesus but it is a preperation of Jesus. The arranged it all for Him without even realizing how crucial this table would be. They arranged it as a symbol of the past without realizing how this perticular table and meal would fulfill exactly what the message of the original passover. Jesus was incontrol of this entire event and it was all for Him and His disciples followed His instruction exactly.
The seder I went to last year never really came back to how Jesus fulfilled and I have no problem with observing the seder as long as the message of Jesus Christ fulfilling it at the cross is the center piece. The seder so focused on the exodus from Egypt that it never rightfully pictured the fulfillment in Christ. The Passover was orchestrated by God for the purpose of sheding innocent blood to cleans the sins of mankind and it was all arranged for Jesus Christ.