Another observation jumps out at me as I look at the next few verses that describe Jesus’ instructions to the disciples about what to expect when they enter Jerusalem. Again, it’s easy to overlook these things, but let’s look closer.
The first thing the disciples were instructed to look for was a man carrying a jar of water. Um, okay… so what, you say. Here’s the funny thing. This is not a normal thing. Men didn’t carry jars of water around in the street. According to the best evidence we have, carrying water jars was a domestic duty that was for women, not men. That’s just the way things were.
The disciples might have picked up on this; in fact, they probably did. And it reminds me that sometimes we decide beforehand what form God’s leading should take or shouldn’t take. we decide beforehand what is possible and what is not possible. The reality is that God knows what can happen, what will happen. We don’t. To their credit, the disciples didn’t seem to challenge this statement from Jesus.
Then, when this mysterious man led them to the house that was their destination, they were to inquire of the owner of the house about where the Teacher might eat the Passover with his disciples. If you look in the Gospels at the ways people addressed Jesus, you’ll realize that Jesus followers called him master; those who were not his followers called him teacher or rabbi. So what Jesus is saying is that the disciples are going to go talk to a stranger who is not a follower of Jesus and ask that person for a place to celebrate the Passover. And, that stranger is going to accommodate them by leading them to a furnished room. Wow.
Did Jesus work a miracle, or simply make preparations in advance? It really doesn’t matter. The point is that what Jesus said would happen did happen. And oh, there’s a lot more going on here than we can ever know. The bottom line is this. Jesus knows what’s going on. He tells his disciples what they need to know, but he doesn’t tell them everything, and they wouldn’t understand even if he did. Their job is not to understand and evaluate Jesus’ plan, it is to follow it. And, Jesus’ plan is always reliable.
In the next few verses, we read that Jesus says but he will not eat or drink the Passover meal until after he suffers, until the Passover meal “finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God.” And he will not drink the fruit of the Vine until the kingdom of God comes.
Jesus has an interesting habit of inviting his followers into an experience, but not really explaining what the experience means beforehand. It’s only after the fact that the disciples come to realize what was happening, and allow the understanding to shape them as followers of Jesus. Now, it’s not that the meaning was unimportant, or unavailable at the time of The Last Supper. And it’s not that no one knew what Jesus was doing or who Jesus was.
There were people who appreciated Jesus’ identity and Ministry. Think about people like Simeon and Anna, who recognized who Jesus was and what his birth meant even when others had no idea. It wasn’t that people like Simeon and Anna knew more than others. It was that what they knew they knew by faith, and that made the difference for how they responded to what they saw. they didn’t need answers beforehand to enable them to believe. They had faith that gave them inside, both in the moment and afterward.