A story I’ve never explored and five encouraging facts to embrace

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A story I’ve never explored and five encouraging facts to embrace

March 19, 2024 -

Symbolizing the Passover meal that Jesus took at the Last Supper, a chalice filled with wine and Passover bread sits atop a table. By udra11/stock.adobe.com.

Symbolizing the Passover meal that Jesus took at the Last Supper, a chalice filled with wine and Passover bread sits atop a table. By udra11/stock.adobe.com.

Symbolizing the Passover meal that Jesus took at the Last Supper, a chalice filled with wine and Passover bread sits atop a table. By udra11/stock.adobe.com.

One of the ways we can know God’s word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) is by experiencing familiar texts in new ways. This happened to me recently, sparking a study I felt prompted to share with you.

As Holy Week approaches, I have been reading various accounts of these pivotal days in my personal Bible study. In so doing, I was drawn to a story I had never considered in depth before. Upon reflection, I found it deeply encouraging in these chaotic days. In a time when 80 percent of pastors feel discouraged in their roles and 50 percent say they would leave the ministry if they had another way to make a living, we can all use some hope.

Let’s walk through this narrative together and discover life principles that assure us of God’s providence, provision, and redemptive grace in our lives and work today.

“He will show you a large upper room”

As Maundy Thursday drew near, Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare the Passover for their group (Luke 22:8). Their response, “Where will you have us prepare it?” (v. 9), indicates that they expected their Lord to have such specific direction for them.

Indeed he did:

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 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?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there” (vv. 10–12).

Luke reports: “And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover” (v. 13).

Why is this event recorded in Scripture, not just here but in Mark’s gospel as well (Mark 14:12–16)? Nothing about these preparations is essential to understanding what comes next as Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper with his disciples. And yet, we know that every word of Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and has abiding value for all generations.

For example, Paul’s letter to the Laodiceans was not preserved in the Bible (cf. Colossians 4:16), presumably because it was relevant to them but not to others. John tells us that if everything Jesus did had been written, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

So, why is this story relevant for all people across all time, including us?

Four facts to embrace

The narrative is surprising on the cultural merits alone:

  • “A man carrying a jar of water” would be unexpected in a day when only women performed such tasks.
  • The fact that he would “meet” Peter and John indicates that he somehow expected their arrival.
  • Their words to him would clearly constitute a kind of code or indicator that they represented Jesus.
  • And the fact that his “large upper room” was available at this late notice for a Passover meal could indicate previous preparations or arrangements.

Even more surprising is the fact that Jesus could give such instructions to his disciples from this distance of time and geography. How was he able to do so?

My answer centers on two ways to understand the narrative.

One is that Jesus made these preparations before approaching Jerusalem with his disciples. If so, he must have done this in a way that was not apparent at the time to Peter and John, his two lead disciples. Thus, he would likely have done so privately during a previous time in the city. Such preparation would be a clear indication of his omniscient foreknowledge as he prepared so wisely and practically for the future.

The other explanation is that Jesus’ directions for the man and his disciples were a revelatory miracle. The Holy Spirit supernaturally prepared this man for this encounter; Jesus had supernatural knowledge to convey to his disciples regarding him. The entire narrative is an example of God’s omniscient omnipotence.

Either way, the text encourages us to embrace four facts:

  • Jesus cares for every detail of our lives.
  • He knows the present and the future with intimate omniscience.
  • Everything he asks us to do possesses significance by virtue of his call, from preparing a room to carrying water to conveying instructions.
  • Present obedience leads to future consequences we cannot imagine today. Peter and John at this moment had no way to know that they were playing a role in instituting the Supper now observed by billions of people across Christian history.

“We all have to find our niche in life”

One last observation: our narrative illustrates the importance of doing the one thing Jesus calls us to do, to the exclusion of all else.

Oswald Chambers observed:

Have I received a ministry from the Lord? If so, I have to be loyal to it, to count my life precious only for the fulfilling of this ministry. . . . We all have to find our niche in life, and spiritually we find it when we receive our ministry from the Lord.

Chambers therefore encourages us to choose “loyalty to what you discern when you are in closest contact with God.” And he adds:

The need is never the call; the need is the opportunity. The call is loyalty to the ministry you received when you were in real touch with him.

What is your “niche in life”?

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If what you’ve just read inspired, challenged, or encouraged you today, or if you have further questions or general feedback, please share your thoughts with us.

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