Chapter 32.1 “Prepare the Passover Supper”
Thursday of Passion Week to Thursday night,
Passover meal in upper room, Jerusalem A.D. 30
John Mark, author of Gospel of Mark, composite digital image by L. Lovett, June 2007
John Mark, author of Gospel of Mark, composite digital image by L. Lovett, June 2007
(CLICK on the image above for a LARGER version)

Everything was in place for God’s redemption plan to be carried out. Passover Season combined Passover with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, and it lasted a total of eight days, with Passover beginning on 14th Nisan, Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning on 15th, and both ending on 2lst (our April).

It was now Thursday morning of Passion Week, 14th Nisan, Passover when the paschal lamb was sacrificed. Jesus’ day of rest at Bethany was ended.

After the early meal and when the eating of leaven had ceased, he began making preparations for the slaying of the paschal lamb and festive supper. Neither the house where the Passover was to be kept nor its owner was named beforehand within the hearing of Judas. That last meal with its institution of the Holy Supper was not to be interrupted, nor their last retreat betrayed, until all had been said and done—even to the last prayer of agony in the garden.

The betrayer was gone at the moment and Jesus told Peter and John, “Go prepare the Passover meal so we can eat it together.”

“Where do you want us to go?” they asked.

He gave these instructions: “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a young man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. When he enters the house 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 the place. Go ahead and prepare our supper there.”

Directions the Lord gave them showed his divine foreknowledge. John and Peter went off to the city and found everything just as Christ had said. In Israel, only women were water carriers, so the unusual sight of a man carrying a pitcher of water would be a signal that his disciples would not miss. They met the young man with the water jar and followed him to place where they would celebrate the Passover. The young man was John Mark, author of the Gospel of Mark. He was eyewitness to many events in Jesus’ life, and later companion of Peter and Paul.

When they arrived, they were shocked at its location! The home of Aaron and Mary, Mark’s parents, was located in a wealthy area of Mount Zion in the southwest part of the city. Not far from it, just up the street north toward the Temple, was the house of Caiaphas. Farther north on the highest point of Zion was the former palace of Herod the Great, where Roman Governor Pilate was staying with his wife during the feast. No wonder it must be kept secret!

Peter and John went into Mark’s home and delivered their message. The young man’s parents were expecting them and the large upper room was already furnished and ready. The disciples found wine and cups, cakes of unleavened bread, sauce with bitter herbs, and all that was needed for the supper. Wine was the ordinary one of the country, only red; it was mixed with water, generally in the proportion of one part wine to two part water.

With all things ready in the furnished upper room, only one thing remained—for the two apostles to sacrifice the paschal lamb on the Temple altar. It had been purchased on the previous afternoon by Judas. After the lamb’s sacrifice, Peter carried it on his great shoulders as they walked back to the home of Mark. Though they wondered at the supper’s location, once more they saw evidence of how the Master knew the future in all its details, including his impending crucifixion which they now realized must be true.

Late in the day, Jesus and the ten apostles left Bethany and descended over the Mount of Olives toward the Holy City. All around, families in the city and on the hillsides were celebrating Passover. The setting sun lit up the Temple and very soon it would set on the Old Testament form of worship.

The small group skirted the city and went south along the Jericho Road until another road split off to the right, following along the Kidron Valley. Upon reaching the corner of Jerusalem’s wall, they turned west along the Hinnom Valley to enter from the southwest Essene Gate.

Stars began to appear and the moon peeked above the eastern horizon. Once inside the city it was a short walk through the streets to Aaron and Mary’s home on Mount Zion. Silently passing by windows of festive lit houses, Christ could see families eating the sacrificial lamb at their paschal supper. He was going forward to accomplish his death in Jerusalem and fulfill prophecy as the true Passover Lamb “who takes away the sin of the world.”

Under the cover of approaching darkness, Mark saw their guests coming, and he called to Peter and John, who quickly took them up the stairway to the upper room where the meal had been prepared. No one noticed their arrival.

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