The Passover meal was normally a domestic family event in the houses where people lived (Exodus 12:46). But Jesus and His travelling disciples had no home. So, the Master authorised two disciples to go ahead of the group to prepare a place to eat together and make the meal. However, the place was not their choice. Jesus had already selected a large room. How? We do not know, but He knew all the details which He wanted them to observe. It is a uniquely divine characteristic to fully know the future and deliberately lead His people into the practical experience of what He desires for them (Jeremiah 29:11).
Jesus knew how the landlord could be recognised and had somehow prepared him to welcome the disciples. There is no indication that these plans had been physically prearranged, but the Lord Jesus knew everything ahead of time and prepared His servants to serve Him. It was like that for the shepherds in Bethlehem who practically discovered everything that had been described to them "just as they had been told" (Luke 2:15-20). The Apostle Paul also trusted in the Lord’s instructions before a shipwreck and everybody’s life was saved. Paul told them, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me” (Acts 27:25).
So, although Peter and John had to make preparations, the Lord had already planned everything ahead for them, including all the important details. But they were not given the address, or Judas might have betrayed Jesus too early. They just had enough information to take one step at a time until they arrived at the house and could make the meal. Just like His instruction of how to locate the donkey on 'Palm Sunday' (Luke 19:30-35), Jesus' prediction of what Peter and John would find was completely accurate, enabling them to do their job of making things ready for Him. And when they reached their destination, they found it was all just as the Lord had said.
Contrary to some, who think that Christians must muddle through life full of uncertainty but trying to do the best they can, this passage teaches that the Lord goes ahead of His people (Exodus 13:21). It is the narrative line of the whole Bible: the Lord prepares the way (Malachi 3:1). However, He does not let us see the end from the beginning – that is His privilege alone (Revelation 1:8). He only gives us enough guidance to take each bit of the journey. Like the twelve and seventy-two disciples who were sent out (Luke 9:1-10; Luke 10:1-24), we will always find His provision ahead of us. Even as we prepare people to meet Jesus, we find that He has already been preparing us and them for the encounter! Indeed, there is nothing we do for the Lord, in His will, that is not already divinely prepared. This should be wonderful news for timid hearts: it is completely safe to move ahead with the light Christ gives us through His Word and by His Spirit, even if we cannot see where it is all leading (and we rarely can!). So having received the first instruction, make the first move and trust that the Lord has prepared Your way ahead of you.
© Dr Paul Adams