"Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.' So they said to Him, 'Where do You want us to prepare?' And He said to them, 'Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, "The Teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'" Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.' So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover."
The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the day when they killed the Passover lamb (cf. Mark 14:12). The historical origin of the Passover is described in Exodus 12. Technically speaking, the Passover was on the 14th day of the first month and the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the next day and lasted a week (cf. Lev. 23:5,6). However, since there was no formal break between these two feasts, it was common for Jews to refer to the entire eight-day period as the Feast of Unleavened Bread or as the Passover.
"Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?" (Matt. 26:17). Notice that there was never any question as to whether they would observe the Passover, the question was "where" in Jerusalem should they do such. Jesus sent two disciples, Peter and John, into Jerusalem with the instructions that they were to follow a man they would meet who was carrying a pitcher of water.
"Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, "Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"'" (Luke 22:11). Although it is true that Jesus is asking them to invite themselves in, such would not have been considered unusual since it was customary for the residents of Jerusalem to open their houses for guests during feasts. Since Jesus asked them to refer to Him as "The Teacher," one may assume that the master of the house was an acquaintance or friend of Jesus.
"Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready" (22:12) - It is interesting to note that Peter and John were to ask for the "guest room" (i.e., typically a small lodging room), but they were offered a large, furnished room. For Jesus to give the detailed instructions that He did shows a remarkable amount of foreknowledge. Certainly it would be likely that the disciples would meet a man bearing a pitcher of water and that he would carry it into some house. However, it would take some divine foreknowledge for Jesus to know that the house would have an upper room that was large, furnished, and available for their use.
It should be observed that although these instructions were explicit for Peter and John, none of the other apostles would have known the location of this house until they went there with Jesus in the evening. This detail may simply be a coincidence, or it could be that Jesus planned it that way in order to prevent Judas from knowing of their intended whereabouts that evening. Jesus did not want Judas to betray Him into the custody of the authorities during their celebration of the Passover feast or during His institution of the Lord's Supper memorial immediately thereafter.
"So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover" (22:13). The fact that Peter and John found every detail to be just as Jesus had said would certainly strengthen their faith in Him. To prepare for the Passover would have required Peter and John to go to the temple and sacrifice an appropriate lamb. Josephus wrote that the lambs were killed from the ninth to eleventh hours (i.e., between 3 and 5 P.M.). After it was slaughtered, a priest would sprinkle its blood upon the altar and then burn its fat and entrails. Then the remainder of the lamb would be brought back to the room, roasted, and eaten (along with unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and other foods).
We will continue studying this narrative in our next lesson.