For you who are planners and love to be properly prepared for things then do appreciate the example of Jesus! We read in an earlier chapter of His planned ride into Jerusalem and in verses 1-6 of chapter 11 the reader is informed that Jesus had prepared for the trip and here we can note that Jesus had long before arranged with the owner of the upper room to use it at Passover. This room would have been accessed by an outside stair and would have been regularly used by Rabbis and their disciples. It is hard for us to fully comprehend that Jesus acted and taught in many ways just like a typical Jewish Rabbi! Again, we should remind ourselves that the new day for Jews began at 6 pm. In other words, the Friday of Passover began at 6 pm on Thursday! The Jews had many rituals to undertake at the Passover feast. Fi and I led a typical Jewish Passover Feast at Bearfield a few years ago. It is a blend of the intimate, the informal mixed with essential rituals and formality. Before the meal the lamb would have been taken to the Temple and slain. Josephus, the contemporary historian, reckoned there were over a quarter of a million lambs slain at Passover: imagine the scenes at the altar and in the Temple courts! Certain things were a vital part of the meal: the lamb was there to remind them of how their houses had been protected in Egypt by its blood; the unleavened bread reminded them of the bread they had eaten in haste when they escaped from slavery; the bowl of salt water to remind them of the tears they had shed in their suffering in Egypt and of the waters of the Red Sea which they had miraculously crossed to safety from the pursuing army; the collection of bitter herbs-horseradish, chicory, endive and lettuce; a paste called 'charosheth, which was a mixture of apples, dates, pomegranates and nuts to remind them of the clay with which they had to make bricks for the homes of their Egyptian masters; and the four cups of wine to remind them of the four promises of God recorded in Exodus 6 v 6, 7. It was at this meal that He who was to liberate the world sat with His disciples. God had freed the Israelites; Jesus was to give an opportunity for liberation to every human alive!
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