Summary: The events of Holy Week from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday didn't happen by chance. Jesus planned meticulously
The Student Cross Leicester Leg 2019 (from Leicester to Walsingham)
Today we find ourselves in Holy Week and today is the day we know as Spy Wednesday
It is the day we focus of the betrayal of Jesus by his friend Judas Iscariot
It is the day just before Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper.
The actual day on which the Last Supper was held is disputed but that could be put down to the writers of the Synoptic Gospels and John using different calendars.
But, I am not concentrating on that this afternoon.
Rather I would like to give you this thought.“Holy Week was not a series of unfortunate chance events.
Rather I would like to suggest to you that at least Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday was well planned by Jesus.
Last Sunday, I told my congregation I don’t believe that the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem simply HAPPENED.
I think it was well planned. Why?
Well it is a small detail about the donkey.
In Luke 19 we read that Jesus told his disciples to go into the next village, Bethphage and find a small donkey that was tied up – and that they brought it back to Jesus.
We read in Lk 19:33
33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
Note: The donkey had owners (plural), and so the owners they had to be poor.
And given that they were poor, the donkey would have had to be a sizeable investment for each owner.
So have you ever wondered WHY the owners would have parted with the donkey to complete strangers - the disciples.
The disciples would have had to be strangers to the donkey’s owners – otherwise Jesus would have simply told them to go and get the donkey from “Judah ben Jacob” and his partner.
There has to be a clue in what the disciples are told to say to get the donkey: “The Lord needs it."
Not “Jesus Ben Joseph the teacher from Nazareth needs it” but “the Lord needs it.”
The owners could easily have answered – who is “the Lord” but there is no record of them doing so.
Rather the disciples are allowed to take the donkey.
Following the maxim attributed to Sherlock Holmes
"eliminate the obvious and whatever remains, however improbable, must be the answer."
(The Supreme Court and Constitutional Theory by Ronald Kahn. 1994.)
it seems to me that the most likely explanation has to be that it was a pre-arranged code word.
Why – because Judas was still with them.
Had Judas betrayed Jesus intention to go into Jerusalem riding a donkey Jesus enemies would have realised that so Jesus was planning to fulfil the Messianic prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 given 900 years earlier.
And if Jesus’ enemies had found out – and there were plenty of people around Jesus and no doubt some spies of the Sanhedrin - then they would have stopped him getting the donkey or might have even killed it.
Now we see the same meticulous planning on Spy Wednesday in preparation for the Last Supper
Again remember Judas Iscariot who was to betray Jesus was still with them and Satan has entered his heart by this time
Luke records Jesus sending Peter and John to make preparations for the Passover and he says this :
“Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.
Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to 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 room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Again Jesus does not tell Peter and John: “Go to Mary the mother of St Mark’s house and prepare the Passover there”, because Judas was still among the disciples
I think Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot would betray him at both events: The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and The Last Supper, - if he knew where the donkey was and where the house - in which the Last Supper was to be held -was.
If Judas knew where the events were to be held, he could simply go to the High Priest and have had Jesus arrested in secret at the Last Supper.
Yet this potential disruption was not in Jesus’ plans and so he sets up this clandestine op.
So why was the Last Supper so important to Jesus that he kept its venue hidden from Judas?