7 Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.” 9 They said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?” 10 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. 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.” 13 And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
I wonder if the disciples just sort of shrugged by now whenever Jesus would give them ‘unique’ instructions like this:
Go into town. You’ll find a guy with a pitcher of water (unusual because this was typically a woman’s job in that culture.) Follow him back to his house and tell the owner that we’ll be using his guest room to have Passover dinner there.
It’s a demonstration again of how Jesus is in control of things. As the week speeds by and His death approaches, as priests and errant disciples plot against Him, as everything seems to be spiraling quickly out of control, Jesus issues some simple commands that show that, no, everything is going according to His plan. He’s got this.
One of the more challenging, frustrating, and infuriating things about life is how little we know about the future and how little we can control. There are a million dangers out there surrounding us. A billion fears that plague us and keep us up at night. Maybe I’m worse at this than most people, but my mind loves to go down through each and every worst case scenario possible for a given situation. And when things go horribly awry, and we cry out to God, a great deal of our pain is the recognition that we’re trapped in circumstances that are beyond our control. We seem blasted about by cruel fates and silence seems to be the only reply from the heavens.
I can’t exactly say that everything is going according to God’s plan, because there is free will and there is the consequences of living in an imperfect world that can affect us all. But ultimately, God is the one in control. And He loves us. So I think I can say that God can bring us through it, and if we die, that He can give us peace and new life. And I think I can say that God can bring good things out of the evils that are dealt to us: Easter Sunday follows close on the heels of Good Friday, after all.
I realize that’s probably not much comfort to the folks currently carrying a cross that feels as if they are going to die. Even the Lord would scream out “Why have You forsaken Me?” during that time. But He would go on to commend His spirit to God knowing that God was able to bring good out of the pain mankind inflicted upon Him.
In this little moment of the calm before the storm, as Jesus planned a final meal before His death with His closest friends, He demonstrates to them (and us) again that nothing surprises Him and He retains sovereignty in the midst of the chaos of this life.