January 23, 2022
He Came To My House
Mark 14:12-26 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?
13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.
14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”
19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me?”
20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.
21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.”
23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
24 “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
25 “Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
24 hours that would forever change the world.
No war or time of peace, no government or nation, no army or ruler has or ever will impact the course of human history in the profound manner in which that one day did.
From sundown to sundown it was by far the worst and best day the world has ever known.
Your Bible doesn’t give me a name. But this story really isn’t about me.
It’s about a man and a meal.
I lived in what you now know as the first century in the city of Jerusalem.
It wasn’t a bad time to live in Jerusalem.
Apart from the Roman occupation, the city was thriving like never before.
Herod the great had transformed this city as no one since the great Solomon had.
He’d built palaces and citadels, a theater and an amphitheater, and bridges and monuments.
While all of it had been done to increase his capital’s importance in the eyes of Rome, we the citizens of Jerusalem didn’t fair too badly.
Granted, there were people in the city who were more financially set than I was, but my family and I were doing just fine.
We lived in the southwest corner of the city, a neighborhood known for its limestone one and two story houses that sat almost on top of each other and for its winding dirt streets and alleys.
While it wasn’t the richest part of town, the great thing about our neighborhood is that I was able to work where I lived and live where I worked.
In fact one of the unique characteristics of our community is that we lived with those with whom we worked.
We built houses together and even had our own synagogues where we would go to hear the Scriptures read and taught.
Our neighborhood was what you might call today a “blue-collar” community.
We were weavers, dyers, potters, bakers, tailors, carpenters, metal workers, and olive grove farmers.
And we had plenty of work to do especially during the great feasts.
You see three times a year our city would grow from its normal population of 25,000 to well over 100,000 for an entire week.
From all over, my fellow Jews who lived outside of Jerusalem would come to town.
They had no choice.
Jerusalem wasn’t just a thriving center of commerce but it was the heart of the entire Jewish world.
If you had visited my city for the first time and made the difficult ascent from Jericho, as you rounded the Mount of Olives you would have been dazzled by the sight of one of the most glorious structures ever erected – the Temple.
That gold and gleaming structure was the heart of the city – for that matter it was the heart of God’s world – because it was God’s dwelling place.
And three times a year these other Jews who didn’t live there had to make a pilgrimage home to worship and celebrate there in God’s city during one of our religious feasts.
It was Spring time.
And one of the most important feasts of our faith was about to get underway.
If you know much about my people you’re aware of our history with the Pharaoh and Moses and our Exodus from Egypt.
You may also be aware of the night when God dealt the final blow that would cause Pharaoh to let us go.
God was going to send the angel of death to kill every first-born son throughout the land of Egypt.
But He told us that if we would slaughter a lamb and take its blood and mark our doorposts we would be spared from this horror.
That night after God carried out his terrible sentence, Pharaoh was so upset that he demanded that we leave.
And we left so fast that we didn’t even have time to let our bread rise.
Every year thereafter we’ve celebrated those events and remembered God’s mercy and deliverance by again telling that story and participating in those same actions of slaughtering a lamb and making bread without leaven.
It’s become a feast, the Passover Feast, or the Feast of the Unleavened Bread as it’s some times called and is one of the most important feasts to our people.
That year was no different than any other.
There was an enormous amount of preparation to be done.
No other festival requires the kind of work that Passover does.
The first thing we had take care of was to make sure there wasn’t even the tiniest amount of leaven in our home.
The house had to be turned upside down and cleaned extensively (a practice which interestingly enough would later become known as Spring Cleaning).
Because our utensils, crockery and cutlery had been used during the year and had come in contact with leaven we either had to have a separate set of dishes kept just for this feast or our utensils and cookware had to be koshered (rendered fit) by dipping them into boiling water.
The night before the feast one last thorough search of the house was done and any food with leaven that was found was burned the next morning.
The house was ready.
I don’t know whether you stay up late the night before a holiday getting ready or not, but we had been up late, trying to make all our final preparations.
The lamb was to be purchased the next day and we had already calculated the exact amount we needed for our family – for our Jewish Law mandated that the lamb that day not be wasted or left over – it all had to be eaten.
We’d been up only a few hours the next morning when two men began approaching our home with one of our servants who had gone to retrieve water.
They looked familiar.
Then it hit me!
I had seen them just a few days earlier in the Temple Court.
I had gone up to worship and pray as I did on a regular basis, when all of a sudden this guy comes up out of nowhere and starts flipping over the tables of the guys who were there selling doves for sacrifices and exchanging currency.
As some scurried after all the loose coins I couldn’t take my eyes off this guy.
There was something different about him.
He began teaching and I was amazed.
His message was one I had never heard before.
And these guys, the ones coming up to my house, they were there, by his side – I know it was them!
As they stepped up to the door, they said to me, “The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”
“He, your teacher, wants to have the Passover in my house?”
I was speechless for a moment.
And a bit confused.
I’d never actually met him.
How did he know I had been so amazed at the Temple?
Was my reaction that obvious?
Had he had someone follow me to find out where I lived?
No, that didn’t seem possible. But how had these guys known to follow my servant wasn’t with me that day?
This whole thing was spooky.
I’m not even sure what I said, but the next thing I knew I was walking them through the house showing them the room that we had already set up for our family for the evening meal.
When I finally got up the nerve to ask these guys (who introduced themselves as Peter and John) how this had all come to be, they said Jesus did this kind of thing all the time.
He had this knowledge about people and he could see things and know things not to mention do things that no one else could.
They hadn’t even figured him out yet.
After they had gone out and purchased enough lamb for their party we moved on with the preparations for the day.
I wish I had more time to tell you about these guys – whoa!
Talk about characters! But that’s another story.
We were just finishing putting the meal on the table when my son came running up stairs to tell me they were here.
I’d been preparing for this moment all day long.
I can’t tell you how glad I was we had thoroughly cleaned house when he showed up.
From the moment he walked in the door it was as if this purity and holiness filled our home.
It’s hard to put into words – but in some strange way I was warm on the inside and yet had the goose bumps at the same time.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I knew when he greeted me that there was something different about this man.
I showed him to the upper room where he and his disciples could eat and as I started leaving he called me by name.
“I want you and your family to join us.”
He didn’t have to ask twice.
Eat with him, I couldn’t be more honored.
I went down stairs and got the kids and my wife and we went up and reclined for the meal.
I was accustomed to leading the ceremony and readings for the feast, but not that night.
I wanted him to have that honor.
After he began the feast when it came time when a child typically asked questions about the meaning of the meal, as had been the custom for centuries, he turned and looked across the room at my son with love in his eyes.
His disciples seemed a bit shocked and they all grew silent when he with a loving nod signaled to my boy to proceed with the traditional questions.
My son, with a confidence that I at the moment would not have possessed asked the questions that had been asked for centuries.
I had never seen a teacher of his caliber treat a child with such love and dignity.
The festivities of the evening continued.
The conversation around the table was lively.
The appetizers and wine had been served and the main course was now on the table.
He hadn’t said much throughout the evening, in fact on a few occasions I was certain I saw him wipe a tears from the corners of his eyes.
In a brief moment of silence while everyone’s mouths were full he spoke.
“I tell you the truth” he said, looking around at the twelve who were gathered around him, “one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.”
You could hear a pin drop.
Suddenly everything came to a screeching halt and one by one his disciples inquired, “It isn’t I is it?”
“It’s one of the twelve who dips bread into the bowl with me.”
They all had been dipping their bread into the bowl.
It was a bowl of stewed fruit in the center of the table and it was typical to dip your bread and even your meat into it.
They all stopped dipping and eating as he continued.
“The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”
Go. You just got here!
You just showed up in Jerusalem.
There are so many people here who need to hear your teachings.
We don’t have any other teachers like you.
And I need you!
You saw things about me.
You knew where I lived.
You used my house and made my family part of yours for the evening.
I want to get to know you better.
And one of your twelve will betray you?
Point him out! Who’s the traitor? Let me at him!
By that point I was confused.
I was angry.
I didn’t know what to think.
And I’d lost my appetite.
For a few minutes the disciples went back to eating but this time in silence.
I don’t think they knew what to say after what they had just heard.
But then he broke the silence again.
He took some of the matsah, the bread that we had prepared that day without leaven to symbolize our hasty flight from Egypt, he gave thanks to God and broke it and said, “Take it; eat it; this is my body.”
What do you mean your body?
I had no idea what he was talking about, and judging from the expression on the faces of his disciples, I don’t think they did either.
When the food was gone and it was time for the third of four glasses of wine to be served in this Feast, he took the cup of wine again prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and gave it to his disciples and they drank from it.
“This is my blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many.”
I know the sound of having drunk blood is strange, but that’s not what I was thinking of at that moment.
He said, his blood was BEING shed for many.
I wasn’t hearing things.
That was actually the way he phrased it.
Not something in the past or something in the future, but something in the present.
As if he knew something was already in the works.
Like this traitor who he had spoken of was already up to no good and plans for his death were already underway.
Like he was already dying.
And shed for many?
What did he mean?
It wouldn’t all come together for me for another 24 hours.
He thanked me as they left my house that evening.
I walked back up stairs and sat down across from where he had been sitting, the place of honor at the table where I normally sat.
It was a place I never would sit in again.
It would always be his.
There in front of me were the bread and the wine, or in his words, his body and blood.
What had just happened?
Who was this Jesus?
And why had he seen fit to have the Passover in my house?
In the weeks following that 24 hour period I spent many hours in that upper room.
It all came together for me.
His body and his blood were about to be given for all of mankind.
They had been provided much as the Passover lamb and the bread for our people’s freedom had been given so many centuries before.
What he had done at my table was a way of pointing to the sacrifice he was about to make.
Passover was never again the same for our family.
It couldn’t be after what we had witnessed that evening.
And to think, I was there.
I witnessed the whole thing.
I never would have dreamt that God would use my house and my life for such an extraordinary moment in time.
I’m so glad I gave up my seat at the table.
I’m so glad I didn’t close the door when Jesus wanted to come to my house.
3 POINTS FROM THE STORY
1) JESUS WANTS TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE…
2) REMOVE THE LEAVEN - “Leaven” represents sin. (REPENT)
I Corinthians 11:28 “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.”
3) THERE WAS ENOUGH LAMB FOR ALL.
Jesus said, “Come…”
“Come, and I will give you rest…”
“Bring your burdens to me…”
So now we come to the time of serving the Lord Supper.
Following after the pattern in which the Apostles followed we will look to I Corinthians 11.
I Corinthians 1124 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.
30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.