Summary: Jesus celebrated the Passover meal, it was very important to them... WHY? Let's look at why the Passover was such an important event for the Jews of Jesus' day AND why it is still such an important and sacred celebration for Jews today.
Set the stage:
Ok we have a bit of review to go over since it has been seven weeks since our last venture into the story from Luke. We have studied how Jesus entered the city to great fanfare and accolades of being the Messiah. He accepted these accolades and was chastised and criticized by the religious leaders.
Jesus infuriates them even more by driving out the money changers from the Temple and then He takes up teaching the people in the very space the money changers had been driven from… Something has to happen… something has to give… the religious leaders were losing control of their power, and Jesus’ popularity was growing exponentially by the day… they had to act…and they did!
They entered into an agreement with Judas Iscariot… for Judas to betray Jesus to them. They struck a bargain with Judas for 30 pieces of silver, and the plan was set… it was now Thursday evening and it was time for those with Jesus to sit down and partake of the Passover meal together. I believe this is most significant for our story, and I believe that many people discount the meaning of this event…
Let’s read our passage of Scripture tonight and see what we can learn from God’s word!
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it." 9 They said to him, "Where will you have us prepare it?" 10 He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters 11 and tell the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' 12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there." 13 And they went and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
The Passover meal represented several things for the Hebrew nation. First and foremost it was a reminder to all of Israel of where they had come from… their nation had once been a nation bound in slavery! This was a solemn reminder to them to remember that time in their history.
When we look at the history of the nation of Israel we know that it traces back to one family, the family of Abraham, who was the father of Isaac, who was the father of Jacob, who wrestled with the angel and who’s name was changed from Jacob to Israel.
Jacob/Israel had 12 sons, 10 of them, out of jealousy, conspired against another son named Joseph and sold him into slavery into Egypt. God’s hand was on Joseph and Joseph became the 2nd most high leader in all of Egypt. God warned Joseph about a famine coming in the land and how to avoid starvation. Joseph implemented that plan and saved not only the nation of Egypt, but his brother showed up for food and it ultimately resulted in a great family reunion.
As a result of this family reunion, Israel and his family moved to Egypt and began to live, and multiply as a people. Many yrs later the Pharaoh of Egypt decided to subjugate the Israelites as servants for his pleasure, and for 400 yrs they were held captive until God sent Moses to deliver them…
On the night of their deliverance, the Lord sent the angel of death into the land, and all who were prepared… were passed over and the lives of their 1st born children were spared. This Passover celebration was first and foremost a reminder of that history, and that night! In Exodus 12:14 we read where God established this as the reminder for the nation: “This day shall be for you, a memorial [reminder] day, and you shall keep it as a feast, to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast…”
2nd the Passover reminded the Jews of their deliverance from that slavery by God. And since that time God had delivered them time and time again… Later in their history Israel was taken captive by Babylon and held captive for 70 yrs, but then God delivered them in a much different way!
God actually sent another nation into conquer the nation hold Israel captive. The conquering nation did not free Israel immediately, but through the faithfulness of Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, the nation was eventually set free to return to its homeland, and once again… God not only provided freedom, but delivered them with benefits as the king helped them to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.