And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, [Jesus’] disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. (Mark 14:12-16)
“Let’s go get something to eat.” “Okay. Where do you want to go?”
At any given moment, countless friends, couples and families are having that discussion. Do you prefer fast food, a favorite restaurant, down by the beach, take-out to bring home, an all-you-can-eat-buffet, or somewhere you can watch the game? The choices seem endless.
On the first day of Unleavened Bread, just about everyone in Jerusalem is on the same page. “Where are we going to eat the Passover?” The disciples and Jesus have been observing this festival their whole lives. Having just arrived in Jerusalem a few days ago, it’s time to get ready for this year’s meal.
Jesus is already on top of this. Apparently, he’s already booked a large, furnished upper room. A man with a jar of water is waiting to meet them and take them there to prepare. I wonder if the disciples were surprised by this. After all, he’s the master, they are the disciples. They should be the ones taking care of the arrangements. But in Luke’s gospel, Jesus asks, “Who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves” (Luke 22:27). Jesus has to remind his disciples again and again, “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
Those of you who have a daughter (or daughters!) have had or will have the incredible experience of their wedding day. You will most likely be surprised at the incredible cost of that day. The biggest cost will probably be the reception. Gone are the days of coffee and cake in the church basement. Destination packages will take you to museums, zoos, barns, arboretums, historic buildings or an island beach. A simple menu of appetizers, entrees, desserts and drinks adds up very quickly. But it’s a day and a moment you’ll never forget.
God likes to use that wedding and banquet imagery to illustrate our relationship with him. He writes the check, redemption by the blood of Christ. The venue is like no other, the kingdom of heaven. His bride, the church, is both splendid and loved, for Christ loved her and gave himself up for her.
We often commemorate that Passover, in that upper room, when we gather at the altar for the sacrament. We do that to remember that day. We do that so we never forget who he is, who we are, and how much he loves us.
Heavenly Father, don’t ever let me forget that your son Jesus came to serve and give up his life for me. Amen.