In our last lesson, we finished up looking at the events that happened on Jesus’ last Tuesday before He would put to death. The majority of our lesson came from John 12:20-50 in which Jesus makes His final appeal to unbelievers. We also learned how Judas made an arrangement to betray Jesus for 30 silver coins. Very little, if any, is said about Wednesday, so we move on to the events of Thursday. Now I am going to do something a bit different with the event we are going to look at is recorded in Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16; Lk. 22:7. Each of these accounts gives a little more information than the other, so I am going to blend them together to give us the complete picture. I will make Matthew’s words look normal, Marks’s words, will be underlined, and Luke’s will be in italics.


Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb,  the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat. And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters.  11 "Then you shall say to the master of the house,`The Teacher says to you, "My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."' "Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"  "Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us."  16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city as Jesus had directed them, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.  (Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16; Lk. 22:7)


The Feast of Unleavened bread and the Passover had become synonymous terms because these events are closely observed together. The Passover was a one-night event followed up by 7 days when no unleavened bread was eaten. All faithful Jews would keep both of these because this one of those required events that all male Jews were required to attend in Jerusalem. Since this was an important event for the Jews, I want spend some time talking about the Passover. 


So, we must go back to the time of Moses when he began to unleash the 10 plagues on the Egyptians, just before the 10th plague, God instructs Moses in Exodus 12 about the Passover and what the His people need to do. So, let’s see what was involved with the first Passover by reading in Exodus 12:1


Exodus 12:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,  2 "This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.  3 "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: 'On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.  4 'And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man's need you shall make your count for the lamb.  5 'Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.  6 'Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.  7 'And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.


Not only was God instituting the Passover, He was making this a new year and a new beginning for the Children of Israel. It is believed that this was around March or April that this new year began. On the 10th day of this new year, a goat or a lamb was to be selected. This was a family event and every household was to participate. We learn that God would allow 2 smaller families to share a goat or lamb.


Now this could not just be any lamb or goat, it had to be carefully chosen because they had to make sure that did not have any blemishes. This would be a healthy animal and one of your best. The second provision was that had to be a male and it had to be within its first year. Then on the 14th day, the animals were to be killed at twilight, which is just as the sun sets. Some of the animal’s blood was to be put on the two door posts and the lintel, which is the top part of the door.


Exodus 12:8'Then they shall eat the flesh on that night; roasted in fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.


Here we see three main ingredients, roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. The bitter herbs were to remind the children of Israel of the bitter experience they had in Egypt.


 9 'Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire -- its head with its legs and its entrails.  10 'You shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire.


The lamb had to be roasted and could not be eaten raw or boiled and everything was to be eaten from head to his feet before morning came. If there was anything left, it was to be burned. Now historical tradition says that each person’s portion wasn’t very big and could be as small as the size of an olive. Obviously, the more people sharing that one lamb, the smaller the portion. 


  11 'And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD's Passover. 


This shows us that the children of Israel were to be ready to leave in a moment’s notice and we can see why, because later they would not have time to prepare much food before the Pharaoh ran them out of his kingdom. We also learn from this verse that this was the Lord’s Passover.


12 'For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.  13 'Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  14 'So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.


God gave them clear instructions for the purpose of the Passover meal. It was to be observed as a memorial for how God passed over the children of Israel and how that night led to their salvation from Egyptian bondage.


Exodus 12: 15 'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  16 'On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat -- that only may be prepared by you.  17 'So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an everlasting ordinance.  18 'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.  19 'For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a stranger or a native of the land.  20 'You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.' "


Here we learn about the feast of the unleavened bread, which also represents what God did for the children of Israel. God was very serious about them not having leaven because if someone was caught eating food that was leavened, they would be cut of or kicked out of the congregation of Israel. The feast was to begin after the Passover lamb was slain on the 14th day of the evening and lasted for 7 days until the 21st. This was to be observed once a year.


Now Moses takes what God has told him and he tells it to the Children of Israel, but notice what he says to them.


Exodus 12:25 "It will come to pass when you come to the land which the LORD will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service.  26 "And it shall be, when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'  27 "that you shall say, 'It is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our households.' " So the people bowed their heads and worshiped.


Children are always watching and learning from you. It’s only natural for them to ask questions about things they do not understand, and God knows this. He knew that their children would ask them, “why are we killing a lamb, and why are we going 7 days without eating anything with leaven?” This would give them the opportunity to teach them about God.


I would also like to mention that in Numbers 9, there was a provision made for those who were unclean or had no way of being able to observe the Passover. In fact, let me just read this because God’s Word explains it better anyways:


Numbers 9:6 Now there were certain men who were defiled by a human corpse, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day; and they came before Moses and Aaron that day.  7 And those men said to him, "We became defiled by a human corpse. Why are we kept from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the children of Israel?"  8 And Moses said to them, "Stand still, that I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you."  9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  10 "Speak to the children of Israel, saying: 'If anyone of you or your posterity is unclean because of a corpse, or is far away on a journey, he may still keep the LORD's Passover.  11 'On the fourteenth day of the second month, at twilight, they may keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  12 'They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.  13 'But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and ceases to keep the Passover, that same person shall be cut off from among his people, because he did not bring the offering of the LORD at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.  14 'And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the LORD's Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.' " 


There are some other traditions that would develop over time that were integrated into the observance of the Passover such as outlined by Don Walker:


1.      A prayer of thanksgiving by the head of the house; drinking the first cup of (diluted) wine.

2.      The eating of the bitter herbs, as a reminder of the bitter slavery in Egypt.

3.      The son’s inquiry, “Why is this night distinguished from all other nights?” and the father’s appropriate reply either narrated or read.

4.      The singing of the first part of the Hallel (Ps. 113-114) and the washing of hands. The second cup. The lamb was eaten in commemoration of what the ancestors had been commanded to do in the night when the Lord smote all the first-born of Egypt and delivered his people  (Exo. 12-13). The unleavened bread was eaten in commemoration of the “the bread of haste” eaten by the ancestors.

5.      Continuation of the meal, each easting as much as he liked, but always eating the last of the lamb. The third cup.

6.      Singing of the last part of the Hallel (Psa. 115-118).

The Schertz Lectures in Luke p. 346

One last thing I want to share with comes from the TRUTH FOR TODAY COMMENTARY:

By New Testament times, Passover lambs were sacrificed between the ninth and eleventh hours (3:00 and 5:00 p.m.). Since thousands of pilgrims came to Jerusalem for the feast, the slaughtering of the Passover lambs was done at the temple in three massive shifts. The people were responsible for killing their own animals. They would hang them on hooks mounted to the walls or to columns in order to flay them. The priest stood in rows and passed bowls full of blood that had been drained from the lambs. The priest closest to the alter would pour out the blood on the base of the alter. The people removed the sacrificial portions of the animals and gave them to the priests who, in turn, burned them on the alter. The rest of the lamb was taken home; the meat would be roasted on a wooden skewer in a clay oven and then eaten in the Passover meal.

I think everything I have shared with you gives you good idea about what the Passover and Feast of the Unleavened bread is about and all that involved in preparing for it and some of the traditions that were done while partaking of it. So, now let’s go back to our text that I put together from the three accounts:

Now on the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb,  the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" And He sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat. And He said to them, "Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters.  11 "Then you shall say to the master of the house,`The Teacher says to you, "My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."' "Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"  "Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us."  16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city as Jesus had directed them, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.  (Mt. 26:17-19; Mk. 14:12-16; Lk. 22:7)


Jesus’ disciples want to know where they are to prepare the Passover meal for them to eat. Jesus tells them exactly what to do, but He only sends Peter and John to do it. They are to go into the city and find a man carrying a pitcher of water. Now we might think that would be a common thing, but according to historians, it would not because usually only women would be carrying pitchers of water. So, a man doing this would stick out like a sore thumb.


They are to follow this man to his master house, then they are told to tell the master the teacher has said, My time is at hand, which refers to Jesus’ death. He wants this man to allow them to keep the Passover at his house in the guest room. This upper room will be furnished and prepared for them, but Peter and John finished making the preparation for the Passover. Tradition says that this is the same upper room that disciples gathered together in in Acts 1. One thing that is implied by our verses is that the master of this house was a disciple of Jesus because when they start talking to him, they say that the teacher said. The only reason they would use the word teacher is if this man was a student.


Some have speculated that Jesus had made a prior arrangement with this man, but personally I think Jesus used His ability to look into the future to know that all these things would take place from the man having the pitcher of water to this master of the house having a room available for Him and disciples. Certainly, we know that Jesus could know such things and, if it were true that Jesus made the arrangement beforehand, the master of the house gives no indication that he already knew about the arrangement. About the only hint of him knowing anything is that he had room that furnished and prepared, but this was a guest room, so it would not be uncommon for to always be furnished and prepared for guests.


I want to make a speculation about Judas. We know that Judas was looking for a good time to take Jesus down, but Judas would not be able to make the Passover meal the time Jesus would be taken. While he would have heard the specific directions Peter and John were to follow, he would not have known the location until later.


Now this next section we are going to look at is not in perfect order, because as we will see, Jesus and His disciples come together in the evening to eat the Passover meal, but during this meal at some point we have the account of Jesus washing His disciple’s feet. So, we are going to look at this event first and then, next time, we will look at the details before and after this foot washing. John is the one that covers this event.


John 13:1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.  2 And supper being ended1, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him,


In verse 1, Jesus knew His death was getting closer, and John expressed how Jesus loved His disciples until the end. Verse 2 teaches us that the devil had already put the temptation to betray Jesus in Judas’ heart while they were eating. This does not mean Judas had no choice in the matter because he did. He simply chose to indulge in this temptation because he had a free will. It is important to remember that a temptation does not become a sin until we yield to the temptation (Jas. 1:13-15). The KJV and NKJV gives us the idea that the supper had already ended in verse 2, but when we look at other versions and the original Greek, we find out the meal was still being served.  For example, consider these three versions:


Jn. 13:2 ASV  John 13:2 And during supper

Jn. 13:2 ESV  John 13:2 During supper

Jn. 13:2 NIV  John 13:2 The evening meal was in progress,


This is why it is important to compare other versions and then dig deeper to find out which is correct.


John 13:3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God,  4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.  5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.


Jesus was fully aware of His Deity and what was going to happen to Him, and He was about to teach His disciples about humility and servitude. Before people ate during the first century, a servant would clean the feet of the guest, which was necessary because the people wore open sandals and their feet were always getting dirty. Foot washing was an act of kindness, and it made the guests more comfortable as they ate.


However, this act of kindness had been neglected, so Jesus got up from the supper and removed His outer garment, which would allow Him to perform the foot washing. He then girded Himself with the towel taking the position of a hired servant. He put water in a basin and started washing His disciples’ feet and wiping them with the towel He girded Himself with.


John 13:6 Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?"  7 Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."  8 Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me."  9 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!"  10 Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you."  11 For He knew who would betray Him; therefore He said, "You are not all clean."


Peter could not understand why Jesus wanted to wash his feet because it was unheard of for the master to wash his servants’ feet. Peter or one of the other apostles should have done this service, but they had not. They may of have thought they were too important to serve each other this way because Luke’s account notes that they were disputing among themselves that night who should be the greatest (Lk. 22:24). Sometimes, Jesus’ disciples were more concerned about their position in Jesus’ kingdom than seeing the truth. Without saying a single word, Jesus humbled His disciples by washing their feet. He wanted them to understand that it was more important to serve others than to be served. 


Peter was so shocked by what Jesus was doing that he told Him that He was never going to wash his feet. But Jesus told him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Jesus was teaching more than just about washing feet. He was teaching them a spiritual message because only Jesus can wash us and make us clean with His blood. When Peter realized that He must be washed by Jesus, he goes to the extreme and wanted Jesus to wash his hands and his head.


Jesus’ response in verse 10 refers to the physical and the spiritual. He is saying if a person took a bath then all he needs to be physically clean is to have his feet washed. If a person is spiritually clean and his feet are dirty, he is still spiritually clean. However, not all His disciples were spiritually clean, namely Judas. Even though Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, He washed his feet as well.


John 13:12 So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you?  13 "You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.  14 "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.  15 "For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.  16 "Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.  17 "If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them. 


When Jesus finished washing their feet, He took His outer garments and sat down. While His disciples thought about what Jesus did for them, He wants to know if they understood what He had done to them. He continued to expound on what He wanted them to understand. They knew He was their Teacher and Lord, and if He was humble enough to serve His disciples by washing their feet, then they should be willing to do the same.


Some teach that verse 15 is commanding us to practice foot washing, but they have missed Jesus’ point. He was not telling them or us that we should practice foot washing, but that we should be willing to serve one another in humility because we are not better than each other; we are equal in the site of God. To prove that Jesus was not specifically talking about foot washing, one cannot find foot washing being commanded anywhere in the New Testament as being part of our worship to God. The only other place foot washing is mentioned after Jesus’ death is found in:


1 Timothy 5:9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man,  10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 


This passage is talking about the qualification of a righteous widow. One of the good works she could possess was being hospitable and washing the saints’ feet. Again, this was done in her home and it was the custom for the host to wash the guests’ feet.


As Lipscomb noted:


There is nothing in this that could indicate a special ordinance or formal observance to be perpetuated in the church. The foot washing of both the Old Testament and the New Testament was an act of helpful kindness when needed” (David Lipscomb, A Commentary on the Gospel of John (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1960), p. 210).


Jesus wanted His disciples to follow His example in serving others. If they are willing to humble themselves as Jesus did, they will be blessed. We must learn from this example and realize we are not better than our brothers or sisters in Christ, and we should be willing to serve one another. As Paul said to the Galatians: For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). 


John 13:18 "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'  19 "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.  20 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."


The one person He was excluding was Judas because Judas was not clean, and he would not learn to serve others. Instead, his actions would fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 41:9. Jesus foretold His disciples about this betrayal, so when it happened, it would prove once again that He is the Son of God.


Verse 20 is teaching that whoever receives those whom Jesus has sent by His authority is the same as receiving Him. When someone receives Jesus, he receives the Father as well. When someone goes out to preach the gospel, he is doing so by the authority of Jesus. When someone receives that person into his home, it is just like he has received Jesus into his home because that evangelist is representing Jesus. In fact, all Christians need to remind themselves that they are supposed to be an example of Christ in everything they do. When we live our lives for Christ, whatever is done to us is just like it is done to Christ.


Well, there is much more for us to examine, but we will have to pick this study back up next week. I hope you have learned something or have at least had your memory refreshed about the meaning of the Passover and the Feast of the Unleavened and some of the events that happened that evening while they were eating the Passover meal.