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God’s Word for You

Luke 22:8-13 The table of the Lord is set

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, March 18, 2019

8 So he sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us to eat.” 9 They asked him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” 10 He answered, “Watch as you enter the city. A man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he enters,  11 and tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  12 He will show you a large upper room that is furnished. Make preparations there.”  13 They went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

Jesus sent Peter and John to take care of the preparations. The two of them needed to find a suitable place for them all to be able to eat together. Jesus handles this (somewhat difficult) detail by instructing them to look for a man (perhaps a slave?) carrying a clay jar (κεράμιον) of water. It is often said that this would be an unusual sight, since women usually carried water (Genesis 24:14; 1 Kings 17:10; John 4:28). This man would lead Peter and John to the right house. After they got permission to use the upper room, they would need to sweep out the room to be certain that there was no yeast, and then procure lamps. After this, they would have to go to the shops to buy the various bitter herbs and the other items for the meal, and especially unleavened bread and plenty of wine (the Passover liturgy required cups of wine to be drunk by everyone present several times). Most important of all, they would need to buy a lamb suitable for sacrifice. These would have been for sale in the city at this time in large numbers. They were probably bred for this purpose in nearby Tekoa (Amos 7:14) and other villages (Ezra 8:32-35), and even from as far away as Bashan in Galilee (Ezekiel 39:18).

Taking the lamb up to the temple, Peter and John would have presented it to a priest there, in accord with the Law of Moses: “Sacrifice as the Passover to the LORD your God an animal from your flock or herd at the place the LORD will choose as a dwelling for his Name… You must not sacrifice the Passover in (just) any town the LORD your God gives you, except in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name. There you must sacrifice the Passover in the evening, when the sun goes down” (Deuteronomy 16:2,5-6). After the slaughter of the lamb, they would be able to remove it from the temple and return to the house, where they would roast it and prepare the herbs and vegetables. The process would have taken the two disciples most of Thursday afternoon.

Would Jesus himself have eaten the lamb, the sacrifice? This is sometimes asked, but it’s clear from verse 11 that Jesus fully intended to eat the meal, and in verse 20 we will see the phrase “after the supper,” without anything at all to indicate that something unusual had taken place. It would have been quite unusual for Jesus to have abstained from a meal he planned to eat and for which he remained until “after the supper.” Perhaps some people are confused about whether or not Jesus Christ would have eaten the flesh of an animal, but he also ate fish on many occasions (Matthew 14:20, 15:37) including after his resurrection from the dead (Luke 24:42-43; John 21:12-15). Or perhaps they are troubled that the Sacrifice for all mankind would partake of the sacrifice of the Passover? Yet Jesus ate the bread and drank the cup of the Lord’s Supper, which were and still are also his very own body and blood, and we don’t find this unusual. But we will talk about this more as this wonderful chapter unfolds, and the Lord’s Supper will be spread out before us verse by verse, truth by truth, and doctrine by doctrine.

I close today with the words we use as the invitation to the Lord’s Supper (based on Luke 14:17): “The table of the Lord has been set. Come, for all things are now ready.”

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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