Preparing for Passover
Dec 22, 2014
On the Wednesday evening before Passover, Jesus and His disciples had dinner with Simon the leper in Bethany. During this time, a woman anointed Jesus’ feet with spikenard, which cost more than 300 denarii (Mark 14:4). Judas, the treasurer, got angry at the apparent waste of money and it appears that some or even all of the other disciples were likewise indignant (Matthew 26:8).
Jesus, however, told the disciples not to chide her, saying, “she has done a good deed to Me” (Matthew 26:10). He told them that she had anointed His body for burial and that she would be remembered for this (Mark 14:9). The two gospel writers who record this incident say that this was the time that Judas went out to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14; Mark 14:10). This suggests that Judas’ motive was greed.
Of the earlier anointing of spikenard (four days earlier), Judas said in John 12:5, 6,
5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii, and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.
On that occasion, Jesus told Judas in verse 8,
8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have Me.
Judas apparently did not share the same priorities, nor did he believe that the woman was prophesying of Jesus’ burial. It is likely that he was already preparing to be enriched in his new financial position in the Kingdom.
Luke, however, omits most of these details, telling us only that as the Passover drew near, “Satan entered into Judas” (Luke 22:3) and that “he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him” (Luke 22:4). The circumstances leading up to that betrayal are left to the other gospel writers who knew him personally.
The Remembrance Meal
Luke 22:7 says,
7 Then came [i.e., came near] the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
This does not mean that this day had actually arrived, but that it was drawing near. The Passover lamb was sacrificed on the afternoon of Abib 14 (also called Nisan 14) before the first day of Unleavened Bread (Abib 15).
Luke was telling us that it was the next day after the supper at Simon’s house and the second anointing with spikenard. In other words it was Abib 13, and that evening many of the people would celebrate the hagigah, or chagigah, a pre-Passover “festivity,” with the family and friends.
This festivity was not the actual Passover, for they did not roast the lambs until the next day. The hagigah was a peace offering festival.
In their reference work, McClintock and Strong inform us that these offerings (especially those made on the first day of Unleavened Bread) were called hagigah (sometimes also transliterated chagigah), which means "festivity." These offerings were a festivity, something given in order to have a feast, a happy, festive time. If a person wanted to give God a peace offering, it was divided three ways: some to God, some to the priest, and the remainder came back to the offerer. With his portion, he would invite his family and friends, and they would have a fine time, eating a sumptuous meal and fellowshipping together.
The above article continues, telling us that the hagigah was based on the peace offerings of Numbers 10:10 and mentioned in Hezekiah’s great Passover (2 Chronicles 30:22). The hagigah was originally kept before all of the three main feasts and were known as Remembrance Meals.
These festive meals were kept one, two, or even three days before the feast days themselves. Since the Remembrance Meal was not mandated in the law, it simply provided an opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. So Jesus desired to keep this final “Passover Remembrance” (as it was called) with His disciples in order to give them final instruction and teaching prior to His arrest, trial, and death on the cross.
This was also a feast by which to “remember” Jesus, for in his comments on communion (based upon the hagigah, or The Last Supper), Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:25, “do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
Finding the Guest Chamber
Luke 22:8-12 says,
8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat of it.” 9 And they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?” 10 An 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 that he enters. 11 And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ 12 And he will show you a large, furnished, upper room; prepare it there.”
Jesus instructed Peter and John to go to Jerusalem to find a place to keep this Passover Remembrance festival. He said they would meet a man carrying a water pitcher. To meet a man carrying a wineskin would not have been unusual, nor a woman carrying a water pitcher on her head. But a man carrying a water pitcher was very unusual, especially in the city where everyone might ridicule him.
Luke 22:13 says,
13 And they departed and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.
Matthew’s account says nothing of the man carrying the water pitcher (Matthew 26:18), but Mark’s gospel gives the same details as found in Luke. See Mark 14:13-15. Luke seems to quote Mark’s account, as they are virtually identical.
Aquarius, the Water Bearer
When God named the stars and constellations to give mankind a prophetic overview of prophecy, one of the constellations was Aquarius, pictured as a man carrying a pitcher of water. The Hebrew name for Aquarius is Deli (or Dali), which means “the urn” or “the water-bucket.” It is the figure of a man holding a great urn in his left hand.
In the Egyptian Zodiac of Denderah, Aquarius is holding two urns. The fish (Pisces, which is the next constellation) seems to be coming out of one of the urns, and yet appears also to be swallowing the water as it is poured out.
Aquarius prophesies of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the two fish. This is referenced in Isaiah 44:3 and again in Joel 2:28, 29. The two fish are pictured in the Old Testament as Israel and Judah, but in the broader sense they picture two callings. Israel (or Joseph) was given the birthright, while Judah was given the scepter (1 Chronicles 5:1, 2). Together they represent the King and the Kingdom, as well as the two comings of Christ Himself. Each has its outpouring of the Spirit, first at Pentecost and later at the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The two fish also represent the Age of Pisces, which correlates roughly with the Church Age in the past 2,000 years. As of the year 2007 the constellations shifted into the Age of Aquarius, or the age in which we can expect to see the Spirit of God poured out in fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
So why would Jesus tell Peter and John to watch for the sign of Aquarius? Was Jesus giving us a hidden prophecy of events that were to come many years later? What parallel is there between the Passover hagigah and a greater Tabernacles hagigah yet to come?
In fact, we might also view the gathering in the upper room at Pentecost to be a kind of hagigah as well. In fact, just as the twelve were present for the Passover hagigah, so also were 120 present for the Pentecost hagigah. This seems to be based on the twelve constellations, which in turn prophesy a complete cycle of truth, beginning with Jesus’ birth of a Virgin (Virgo) to His return as the Lion (Leo).
It seems important, then, that there should be twelve disciples that participated in the first Remembrance Meal and 120 (12 x 10) at Pentecost. It shows a progressive pattern and implies a greater multiple of twelve (144,000 or 288,000?) at the Feast of Tabernacles.
This is the 124th part of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Luke." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones