Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present. Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ ‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked. He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks: where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.’ They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Jesus knows His followers well; Judas has already determined on the course of action which will play its part in sending Jesus to the Cross. When the preparations are to be made for the Passover Judas is listening for the “where” so that Satan might have that opportune time he has been awaiting since Jesus baptism (Luke 4:13). Jesus cannot be tempted away from submission to God’s will, but Judas (and we) can be. But the time is not yet, and Jesus delays (though will not avoid) His betrayal by giving the mysterious directions recorded here. The two disciples are to trust Jesus instructions and to follow the man with the water jar – a slave of a disciple of Jesus? The master of the house himself? A disciple willing to undertake an unusual task? – into the house and up to the room where Jesus will eat His last meal with the Twelve. This is the seventh such meal in Luke’s Gospel – the Sabbath of the Kingdom which has come in Jesus, and just as He keeps the command to remember the Passover, so we are commanded to keep the new tradition which He gives to His friends – this feast which tells Jesus’ story and equips us to follow Him.
“Lead us not into temptation”
Lord, though we condemn Judas, we so easily betray our calling to follow you, trusting in our own thoughts and plans. We fail to do your bidding when we do not fully understand what you are asking of us, rather than trusting in your guidance for our living. We forget your promises to those who are your disciples. As during this time of Lent, as we examine ourselves and rediscover our relationship with you, forgive our sins and failings and help us to walk the way of the Cross with you, in expectation of the joy of Resurrection to come. Amen.
Marion Tugwood is the minister of Macclesfield and Bollington URC
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