On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?” And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him; and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. Mark 14:12-16
This is the week leading up to the crucifixion. Jesus had been telling the disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to die and then rise again. They really did not comprehend this knowledge and seemed to always change the subject. Don’t we all do that at times? The Lord is speaking to us about something and if it is too hard to understand at the time, we change the topic, or just ignore Him. The mercy and patience of the Lord is everlasting and His love so deep that He never chides us or leaves us in our fumbling.
The entire chapter before this Jesus shared with them (at their request) what the signs were of His coming again and the end of the age. I can only imagine they were frightened by what He told them, and very uncertain about the future. In that context, they were all focused on being in Jerusalem. They had all grown up celebrating Passover and Unleavened Bread so it was a normal question to ask Jesus as to where to have this celebration. The disciples are just like us in that they focused on doing something practical, perhaps to avoid thinking about what they just heard about the end times. They wanted to know how they could prepare for Him to eat. I think deep down they did have some surface understanding of what was coming. How kind of them to want to minister to His needs and celebrate the Passover.
This incident is very similar to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey/colt that was provided for in almost the same manner as here. I wonder if it was the same 2 disciples that were sent ahead like finding the donkey/colt. “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him.” Who was this man? No one knows. He may have been a servant if he was carrying water. But it made me think of Jesus calling out in a loud voice in the Temple – “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'” (John 7:37-38). Jesus wanted the 2 disciples to follow him. I think this detail we are given is of utmost importance. Water means life, especially in an arid climate. Even this close to His death, Jesus is thinking of the life that His death will bring to those who want it.
Jesus had already gone before these 2 disciples and even though we don’t know if He had arranged things Himself, it really doesn’t matter. The fact is, God always goes before us to prepare all that we’ll need for any given situation. “And he himself (the owner of the house) will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” If the disciples had taken it upon themselves to prepare, they may have done it very differently and it may not have turned out very well. I take from this incident that it’s always wise to just allow God room and time to prepare things for us. This room was furnished and ready for use. There wasn’t anything they had to do but just follow the man with the pitcher into the house and then prepare the food. We tend to make things way more complicated than God desires because we want to do something either to help, to show that we are smart and able, or to show off our skills in some way. But if God does it all then doesn’t it seem to reason that He gets all the glory? Deep down I think most of us want some little slice of the glory only He deserves.
When God does it, “The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them.” God’s word never returns void and we can count on it every single day. The remarkable thing is that a lot of times Jesus told the twelve things that they did not understand at the time it was said. That can make many uncomfortable and the uncertainty can drive us to doing things He doesn’t want us to do. I imagine this situation was the same for them. If the Lord tells you about something and you can’t see how it could possibly come true, just trust that He knows how to bring it about for your good. Trust in what He tells you even if you don’t see the next step or understand why He is telling it to you. We don’t need to know the reason for many things ahead of time. If we did, we may run in the opposite direction. Just rest in His provision, His timing, His Word for you and His love. He is for you and not against you. Receive His provision even if you don’t see it right now. He loves you and will not leave you stranded. He has gone before you in everything you can possibly encounter in this life.