On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?” So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: “As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.
I wonder who the man thought he had prepared a room for, had God told him to do this for Jesus? If not I wonder why he had done it and who he thought was going to use it? Jesus knew all the things this man had already done! He knows what you have done today, the normal things and the things that are strange! He knows us completely: the good and the bad.
As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, “This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many. I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”
As Jesus shared the bread and the wine with His closest friends He explained more about His death to them. Breaking the bread, which He used as a picture of His body, showed them that His body was going to be broken: it was going to be hurt and it was going to die. As He shared the cup of wine with them He explained that it was like a picture of His blood which He was about to spill as He became a sacrifice for many people. The Jews would have understood the whole image that Jesus was referring to was that of the Passover lamb. At the first Passover (which is what Jesus was in the middle of celebrating with His disciples) a lamb was killed and it’s blood used to mark which houses God would “pass-over” and not punish. Jesus explained that His death and blood would enable us to escape being punished for the things we have done wrong. Jesus’ sacrifice would enable us to be forgiven and go free.
Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives. On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, “God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.” But after I am raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.” Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter – this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
Jesus called Himself the shepherd and us His sheep. A shepherd used to be someone that went in front of the sheep and led them where he wanted them to go; a shepherd was there to care for the sheep and protect them. Jesus also explained that, after dying, He would be raised from the dead, but the disciples were too offended and upset to notice! Maybe they just thought He meant that His spirit would go to Heaven and live on? But Jesus actually said He would come back to life and would meet them in Galilee, a real, town in Israel. Jesus wanted them to know that He was going to come alive again in a real physical way: as a real person, not a ghost! Jesus was also letting His followers know that even if they ran away from Him, when trouble came along, He would not give up on them and would meet up with them later. Jesus understands that we are often weak and let Him down; but He doesn’t stop loving us and caring about us.
- Ask Jesus to help you to understand how much He loves you – enough to suffer and die for you
- Thank Jesus that even if we have run away from Him, He wants us to come back close to Him
- Ask Jesus to help you to think of Him more today than ever before, to be aware that He is close by and not a distant God