17 On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare the Passover so You may eat it?” 18 “Go into the city to a certain man,” He said, “and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time is near; I am celebrating the Passover at your place with My disciples.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, His disciples asked Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare the Passover so You may eat it?” 13 So He sent two of His disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him. 14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room for Me to eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” 16 So the disciples went out, entered the city, and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
7 Then the Day of Unleavened Bread came when the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover meal for us, so we can eat it.” 9 “Where do You want us to prepare it?” they asked Him. 10 “Listen,” He said to them, “when you’ve entered the city, a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him into the house he enters. 11 Tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, “Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished room upstairs. Make the preparations there.” 13 So they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”…And the Disciples went out, and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
—Mark 14:12b, 16
As we read these three passages, it is obvious that the events swirling around Jesus and His disciples are escalating to a point of crisis. There is an aggressive, determined plot underway by the chief priests and scribes to seize and kill Jesus. He simply has become too much of a threat to their leadership and authority among the Jews. His teachings and miraculous acts of healing are raising questions that they are unable to answer.
Jesus has just been anointed in a most unusual way while attending a dinner at Simon’s house. An entire vial of very costly ointment has been lavishly poured on His head. Missing the point of the gift entirely, those present only complained about the cost and how the ointment might have been used to better advantage, though Jesus Himself acknowledged its meaning. It was, He said, an unrecognized, misunderstood act of preparation for His burial.
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve and lured by financial gain, has conspired with the chief priests in order to betray Him. It seems unthinkable that one who had been so close to Him, one who had seen His miracles of healing and had been present as He taught with such authority and compassion could be guilty of such treachery. We are saddened to see that the evil one still uses the same tactics to lure unbelievers away from Him, and toward the same horrible outcome.
By contrast, Jesus proceeds intentionally, determinedly down the path that will lead Him to a cross on a hillside. And so we have the stage set for the last Passover He will celebrate with the twelve. It was on the first day of Unleavened Bread when His disciples said, “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” Though they knew something of the events just described, their conversation at the Supper reveals just how little they understood about what was to follow—or how unwilling they were to accept the reality of what was certain to happen.
We can’t really be critical of the disciples. When confronted with reality in our own lives, far too often we deceive ourselves by attributing outcomes to something other than the obvious root cause. The fact that Jesus, the Son of God had to die to pay our sin debt was simply beyond their ability to grasp.
In asking the question, “Where do you want us to go…” the disciples acknowledged Jesus as the source for direction. He remains the source for direction. When they followed the instructions He gave, miraculously a man met them just as Jesus said he would. The man carrying the jar of water sent them to the place already selected for their Passover meal. Everything was just as He said; their only work was to follow His instructions. The results were predictable.
You know the rest of the story—how they learned about a betrayal by one of them, and reacted to this news. He shared the bread; He shared the cup and instructed them to continue to do so as a memorial supper, remembering Him. He predicted that all would desert and deny Him when trouble came, and when trouble came, they fled.
What can we take away from this account of real events, experienced by real people in a setting that we can scarcely imagine? “Where do You want us to go?” Isn’t this the question we must ask Him? Where do you want me to go? There is tremendous wisdom in asking that question which assumes that He knows, that He has a plan for our going. Better still, there is a predictable outcome when we obediently trust Him to show us the way as the disciples did.
We live in a culture that loves options—“have it your way” the advertisers tell us. But in the real world, the choices are hard and sometimes there are too many options! Should I take this job? Should our family relocate? What about this girl—is she the right one for me? Is this the right church? Where should I invest this money? Which college or career is right for me?
“Where do You want me to go?” There is ample evidence in Scripture to illustrate that He not only knows what is right, but what is best for each of us at any given decision point. Not only does He know where we should go, He knows what will happen when we step forward in obedience to go there. Just as the choice of the Upper Room had already been made before the question was asked, Jesus still knows the way and the outcome is predictably good. The outcome is good, because He is good and is continually working on our behalf. Do we really believe that? The picture of Him on the cross is proof enough. Good doesn’t mean easy. It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges, obstacles or even hardships. It is good, as in “well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master.”1
1 Matthew 25:23
- The disciples asked “where do you want us to go” in what appears to be a relatively unimportant detail, the choice of place to eat the Passover—or was it unimportant?
- Can we really be sure that He knows the outcome every time we ask for direction? What is the proof of that?
- Do you think Jesus viewed the Passover meal (or what we call ‘the last supper’) as a celebration of life service? What verses in the larger passages point you to that conclusion?