Passover, Pots, and Praiseworthy Providence

By Jeff Miller, District Superintendent

A really intriguing thing happened to two of Jesus’ followers one day.  Jesus gave them a job to do.  The what was clear but not the where.  They were tasked with getting things ready for the Passover meal for Jesus and his disciples, but they did not know where Jesus intended them to do all of the prep work. Here’s the passage from Luke’s Gospel:

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a pot of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’  He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover. 

Luke 22:8-13

I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t merely give them an address.  It became more of a Where’s Waldo adventure.  He could have just given the name and address and that would have revealed good leadership on His part.  But He wanted to reveal something more than just quality leadership; He unveiled some of His glory, power, and sovereignty.  He forced them to rely upon Him and He shifted everything into a plane where there could be no natural explanation.  As one of my teammates pointed out; Jesus chose a path that would increase their faith.

We can take away from this that Jesus knows all things.  For this to work He had to know precisely, down to the second, when his two sidekicks would walk through the city gate.  But it goes beyond His foreknowledge to His supernatural ability to organize and orchestrate all the relevant details. There could have been seventeen women carrying water pots all by the gate at that moment, and six men carrying boxes and baskets, and two burro-drawn wagons with water pots strapped on BUT there would be only one man walking by while carrying a water pot at that very instant.  And he had to be the right servant from the right house. We don’t even know if Peter and John actually talked with this man or simply followed him and then conversed with the owner of the house.

Several ‘Holy Spirit dependence’ takeaways from this:

  • You might be like a man with a water pot today in someone else’s life.  The Lord may have you at just the right place and at just the right time for some divine purpose.  You may or may not be aware of it.  Bottom line: you are integral to the plan of the Master.  He is weaving a marvelous tapestry of His grace; you are a significant thread.

  • We are all just to be humble servants of the King.  The man with the water pot had an important but somewhat mundane and obscure role.  The homeowner was simply providing space for Kingdom work.  Even John and Peter were just the laborers getting a religious dinner ready.  I suspect that it wasn’t by accident that Peter and John were sent on the errand.  They liked to join the others in debating which of them was the greatest.  They often got exclusive front row seats at various miracles and moments like the Transfiguration. But this wasn’t a plum assignment.  This was right up there with cleaning blackboards at school, setting up tables and chairs for the potluck at church, washing dishes or taking out the trash at home or… washing dirty feet.  I think Jesus was teaching them that faithfulness in the mundane is an important aspect of a disciple’s path of obedience.

  • God wants to increase your faith and trust by involving you in pathways that extend beyond conventional wisdom and into the realm of sovereign circumstance.

  • This story should impact how we pray.  Jesus can orchestrate ANYTHING.  Does that mean you should pray for the prime parking place at the mall or pray that you are enriched by miraculously winning that contest that you have a ticket for?  Probably not.  God is not a cosmic Santa or a genie on command.  However, if you’ll join Paul in praying for windows of opportunity (Colossians 4) to share the Gospel, I suspect you might see divine appointments that the Spirit would love to coordinate.  If you seek His glory and honor in the midst of problems you face, you may well find His fingerprints on some profound solutions.  These are ‘Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done’ kind of moments.

  • When Jesus does things like He did with Peter and John then only He can get the credit and the glory.  I can almost see Him smiling with delight, at the dinner, as He overhears Peter and John talking animatedly to the rest of the guys about what they had experienced that afternoon. 

When I think of Kingdom advancement, I think of Luke 22 moments and pray for more of them in my life and yours.