On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
There are somethings that don’t start until something else happens. You can’t get the checkered flag to win a car race if you don’t first get the green start flag. You can’t break the tape at the end of a race without the starting gun. You can’t throw a touchdown pass without hiking the ball.
It’s true with relationships too. You can’t be pronounced husband and wife unless there is a proposal. You can’t have a baby without the conception. You can’t have a mother-in-law without a spouse.
It was their custom and tradition to celebrate the Passover on the same day each and every year. But you didn’t just pack a picnic lunch and head out somewhere. You also didn’t go to the Chic-Fil-A drive through and pick up a couple of sandwiches, waffle fries and a peach shake.
There was a certain way they did it each and every year. God had laid out a formula for not just the how, but the who of the celebration. There was to be a reason to be remembered. There were words to be spoken so the truth would not be forgotten. It was to faithfully be passed down from generation to generation.
Sometimes in life, there are things that are way too important to be left to chance. Things that at we might not do right way, or that we might not do at all unless there was a trigger. Somethings require remembrance and a ritual. Somethings demand tradition.
I’m certain that there are some traditions that you had as kids that are impossible to recreate. For me, it was Christmas lunch at my Italian grandmothers followed by dinner with my Polish extended family. Aside from jamming as much food into our faces, we had traditions on the Polish side of the family that I remember well.
I can’t explain why, but my favorite memory is of my Uncle Ed, the oldest son, walking around to every family member with the Christmas wafer, called the Oplatki. As we broke off a corner, he said, “Merry Christmas” and we responded with “Merry Christmas.”
It didn’t taste great. As a matter of fact, it didn’t taste like anything. If you weren’t careful, it would stick to the roof of your mouth. You’d then spend the next half hour trying to work up enough saliva, rolling your tongue back and forth over it. I can’t imagine what this must have looked like to visitors, all of us trying desperately to moisten the wafer enough so you could somehow swallow it.
Like I said, it wasn’t the act itself, but what it stood for. It was a reminder of who we were. Where we came from. Our past.
The disciples know that the Passover was an important date and tradition. How much they understood about it being Jesus’ last supper cannot be known. But they come to him as ask what they’re to do.
That’s the whole point. We come to Jesus and ask “where do you want us to go.” And once we get our directions, our part becomes easier. We go where he says. We do what he says.
Our job is not to be creative. Not to be dynamic. Not to be engaging. Our job is to go where Jesus tells us to go. Go when Jesus says go.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being dynamic or engaging. As long as the purpose is not to draw attention to ourselves. Our job is to ask Jesus what he wants us to do, and when he wants us to do it. And once he speaks, our job is to answer, “Yes sir” and get about doing what he said. Depending on his power. Doing the best we can.
The disciples weren’t expecting a great sermon or some exciting and dynamic assignment. They weren’t looking for the heavens to open up and for God the Father to shine down from heaven. They weren’t looking for a sea to part or for some highway to drop down from heaven. There wasn’t anything dynamic or miraculous about their words.
They were just asking where to go so they could get things ready for Jesus. It wasn’t all about them. It was all about Jesus.
When was the last time you made a similar request to Jesus? Not asking for anything from him. No blessing. No healing. No answer to prayer. No victory., No mountain top experience. No mountain moved. No enemy defeated.
They asked, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you.” Where does Jesus want you to go for him? To prepare a place for him? For his people? For his purpose?
This is what true love, service, and sacrifice to God sounds like. What it looks like.
It’s time for us to love and serve him just like this. Because he first sacrificed himself for us, we respond with obedience and self-sacrifice for him. To go where he tells us. Doing what he wants us to do.