Jesus’ Preparations for the Last Supper

Idea for the week: Jesus may have made arrangements ahead of time for His Last Supper with the disciples in the upper room.

When Jesus instructs Peter and John to go prepare the upper room for the Last Supper, the way it’s written in Mark 14 really seems like Jesus had planned this out and arranged it ahead of time with the owner of the house they’re using. Jesus told Peter and John,

“Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you [by the way, the reason that’s the sign is because men didn’t fetch water from the well—women did that]; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘the teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare it there for us.”

We often tend to attribute this knowledge of what would happen to the fact that Jesus was God—he’s just exercising His omniscience. He’s all-knowing; of course he could tell them what they would find. But, that’s not how Jesus lived; he didn’t walk around constantly exercising his omniscience. That also doesn’t account for the oddities in this particular scenario. A man would be carrying a water pail; the man would meet them—it doesn’t say they’ll happen to see him, but that he would meet them; they would follow him into the house he goes into, then when they deliver the message to the master of the house, he would take them to the guest room which was already furnished and ready for them to set the table and bring the food for the Passover.

It seems that Jesus had gone and made these arrangements beforehand. Remember that He, on the one hand, had a difficult time avoiding the crowds, and would’ve liked to keep the location of His supper with the twelve disciples a secret. But, additionally, He still had a price on His head, and the Sanhedrin and scribes were even more furious and determined to arrest and kill Jesus after he spent Monday and Tuesday publicly embarrassing them in the Temple complex. So, Jesus carefully arranged for Himself and His disciples to be able to use someone’s upper room (which was a large guest room on the top level of most houses) without revealing the location.

This prearranged preparation of Jesus also makes more sense of what we typically call the silent day. Wednesday of the Passion week doesn’t have any recorded events in any of the gospels. People have tried to fill this day in in various ways, but there just simply is no record for anything on Wednesday. Based on everything else we know was going on though, we can assume that on Wednesday, the Sanhedrin was probably making preparations for Jesus’ arrest, and Jesus was most likely making arrangements for the Last Supper with the disciples, carefully making secret preparations, not only to avoid the crowds, but also to not let Judas know where the Supper would be, so that He could celebrate the meal with His disciples in peace, and Judas would not betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin until Jesus was ready for that to happen. These minor details in the narrative record should cause us to marvel at the care and wisdom with which Jesus entered into his last days before His sacrifice to bring salvation to a sinful world.


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