Continuing a study of the passages from Luke’s Gospel which have been omitted from the three-year Lectionary for public worship, today’s post is part of my ongoing series Forbidden Bible Verses, also essential to understanding Scripture.
The following Bible passages have been excluded from the three-year Lectionary used by many Catholic and Protestant churches around the world.
Do some clergy using the Lectionary really want us understand Holy Scripture in its entirety? I wonder.
The Passover with the Disciples
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus[a] 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.
It is apposite, yet entirely coincidental, that this study of Luke’s Gospel brings us to the Last Supper during Lent 2015.
My longstanding readers might recall the corresponding account from Mark 14:12-16, which I wrote about at this time in 2013:
The Passover with the Disciples
12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
Matthew 26:17-19 — the three-year Lectionary reading for Wednesday of Holy Week — has a shorter account but with one important statement the other two Synoptic Gospels do not have (emphases mine below):
The Passover with the Disciples
17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
Because our Lord’s time was at hand, the Last Supper had to take place according to God’s plan. Hence Jesus’s discretion in sending only His most trusted apostles John and Peter to arrange it (verse 8). Recall that Judas had already arranged the betrayal with the chief priests. Jesus, being all human and all divine, would have known what was happening in the background.
Jesus preserved discretion and secrecy by instructing the two to look for a man carrying water who would meet them (verse 10). They were to follow him as his house would be the venue.
With the Jews coming to Jerusalem for Passover, the city was crowded, with more than two million people at this time. However, John MacArthur tells us that only women carried water. A man would not have done so. Therefore, the two apostles would have been on the lookout for a rare sight.
Jesus told Peter and John to ask the man for use of his guest room on behalf of their Teacher (verse 11). We ask ourselves what might have happened if the man had said, ‘What teacher?’ However, all this was divinely ordained. The man knew of whom the two spoke. MacArthur thinks the man might have been a recent convert. We do not know. However, we can safely assume that Jesus knew.
As Jesus said, the man showed them the upper room of the house (verse 12) and the two apostles prepared the Passover meal (verse 13).
Matthew Henry has this observation:
Christ could have described the house to them probably it was a house they knew, and he might have said no more than, Go to such a one’s house, or to a house in such a street, with such a sign, &c. But he directed them thus, to teach them to depend upon the conduct of Providence, and to follow that, step by step. They went, not knowing whither they went, nor whom they followed … they need not fear a disappointment who go upon Christ’s word according to the orders given them, they got every thing in readiness for the passover, Luke 22:11.
Peter and John would have been busy for the rest of the day. As we know, the Passover menu is a complex one with several elements. As they were staying with Jesus on the Mount of Olives, they would not have had any of these on hand. They had to purchase unleavened bread, the lamb, the wine, the requisite herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and so on — all of which recalled the hurried Exodus from Egypt centuries before.
MacArthur posits another reason why Jesus sent only two apostles to arrange this meal. Only two men ever brought one lamb for slaughter; otherwise, the slaughter area would be too crowded with bystanders.
In closing, some people might wonder why, if Passover (and Jewish Sabbath) dinners are always on a Friday, how it happened that the Last Supper took place on a Thursday. MacArthur explains:
Study Josephus. Study the Mishnah, the codification of Jewish law and other historical sources. You find that the Jews in the north and the Jewish people in the south, the Galileans say as opposed to the Judeans, had different ways of calculating their days. These chronological aspects have been a wonderful study in anybody’s…anybody who makes an effort to studying this in the New Testament is greatly enriched by it. But in the north, they calculated days from sunrise to sunrise…sunrise to sunrise. That was a day. Whereas in the south, they calculated the day from sunset to sunset. So that’s a very clear distinction. In Galilee, where Jesus and all the disciples except Judas, had grown up, they calculated days from sunrise to sunrise. So the fourteenth of Nissan was sunrise on Thursday to sunrise on Friday. That puts the Passover Thursday night. For the Jews in the south, it was sunset to sunset, so that puts it in late Friday for the southern Jews. Same day calculated two different ways. And that worked well for the Jews.
By the way, the Pharisees tended to go with the northern approach. The Sadducees who were all around Jerusalem tended to go, of course, with the southern approach. What that did was solve a couple of problems. It split the number of animals to be killed into two different periods, Thursday night and Friday night. It also reduced what were called regional clashes cause the southern people didn’t think too highly of the northern people. So it just was easier to have them separated.
So Jesus is celebrating a Galilean Passover Thursday evening, and that is Friday, the beginning of Friday, sunset, for the Jews who celebrate it late the next day. The timetable is perfect. The Lord can celebrate the Passover, fulfill all righteousness with His disciples on Thursday and it’s a true Passover, the lambs were slain. And He can still die on the Passover the next night because there are two times when the Passover lamb is slain.
Next time: Luke 22:31-34