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 he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there.” -Mark 14:12-13
In Old Testament times, priests who had already been consecrated for service were still required to wash their hands in the courtyard of the Tabernacle before they dared to approach that holy place. In New Testament times, those of us who are born again in Christ are completely washed and consecrated to God by Jesus’ death and resurrection. Though we are "washed" in Christ, the Bible still encourages us to participate in moments of deep repentance and reflection for our sins.
Jesus knew the Passover dinner would be the last time he met with all His disciples gathered together. The dinner typically involved Seder bread, which was unleavened to commemorate the Israelites' hasty departure from Egypt; a lamb bone, signifying the Passover lamb that was slain and whose blood marked the threshold of Jewish homes; and bitter herbs, used to prepare the meal and to remind the Israelites of the bitterness of slavery from which God had rescued them.
Contemplate the Seder bread that reminds you of how God provides for your needs, even in times of crisis. Imagine the lamb bone and how you had to hold the head of that lamb still while a priest sacrificed that animal to atone for your sins and those of your family. Think about how the bitterness of the herbs can remind you of your slavery to sin.
More than a mere meal, Jesus turned this Passover into a memorable moment. He used it as an occasion to show His followers the "full extent of His love."
After everyone had eaten, Jesus got up from the table and gathered the tools of a lowly servant. He wrapped a towel around His waist, and with water held in a servant’s bowl, began washing the feet of His disciples. In doing this, Jesus marked Himself as their servant.
Ponder the bowl and the towel. For the disciples, watching Jesus grab these elements would have been like watching the President of the United States mopping the floors of a McDonald's restaurant, or sitting behind a sewing machine in a sweatshop factory. They must have been thinking, "What in the world is He doing?"
Through the celebration of the Passover, Jesus reminded His disciples of God's past provision - during Israel's time of slavery, God made a way of deliverance and protection. By instituting the Lord's Supper at that same feast, Jesus pointed toward God's future provision. Jesus was about to become our "Passover Lamb." He, and He alone, would provide for all our needs - physical and spiritual.
Father, thank You so much for so abundantly taking care of all our needs. You have provided bread for my journey; a Sacrificial Lamb for my forgiveness; and release from the bitterness of all of our trash. Thank You for providing a Passover Lamb in Your Son, Jesus Christ, who modeled servanthood for everybody. Dear Jesus, we make this petition in Your Blessed and Holy Name, known that only through You can we get to the Father.