Matthew 26:16-20

Mat 26:16 (KJB)
And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

With the promise of a good bounty awaiting him, Judas then set out to find an opportune time to betray Jesus. Since Jesus had been speaking of His death and burial, it might have seemed to the religious leaders that Jesus would offer no resistance. They remember the Scriptures where Elijah had called down fire from Heaven and were probably fearful that Jesus may do the same thing but when they heard that He spoke of His death and burial, their confidence had soared.

Mat 26:17 (KJB)
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

The Passover feast was on the 14th of Nisan which was the commemoration of the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn. Then this feast was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread which commemorated Israelís deliverance from Egyptian bondage. Both feasts were collectively called either the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Passover. According to Josephus, these feasts were combined into one eight day feast. Preparations for the Passover included finding a suitable room, a lamb of one year old without defect to be killed in the temple and then roasted for several hours, then unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a remembrance of their bondage in Egypt.

Mat 26:18 (KJB)
And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

Then in response to the question of the disciples as to where they were going to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus then gives them specific instructions like He gave to them when He used the donkey to ride into Jerusalem the past Sunday. (Mark 14:13 KJV) And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. Jesus dispatches two of His disciples to go into Jerusalem because they were not yet in the city being in Bethany or the Mount of Olives at this time. Now according to Mark, they were to find a man bearing a pitcher of water and were to follow him. This would have been a special sign because back then, drawing water was womanís work and not manís work. (Mark 14:14 KJV) And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? They were to follow this man to a certain home and wherever he goes in, then they are to contact the goodman or the owner of the house and tell him that Jesus and his disciples are going to celebrate the Passover there because Jesusí time was at hand. This man may have been a follower of Jesus and that is why he obeyed the request without hesitation.

Mat 26:19 (KJB)
And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Only these two disciples that Jesus had dispatched were to set everything up for the Passover meal, the rest were not involved in the preparation. The identity of the man whose home they celebrated the Passover in is not known. (Luke 22:8 KJV) And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. It was Peter and John who were the ones dispatched to get everything ready and they were successful in their task as everything was now ready.

Mat 26:20 (KJB)
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.

Now all the disciples were with Jesus at this time when He began the ceremony. Normally at the Passover meal, the father of the family or the chief man over the house would open the feast by pronouncing two blessings. Then the first cup of wine was drunk and then the food was brought in. After the first part of the song of praise had been sung, the second cup was drunk. The father or chief took the bread and pronounced a blessing, then broke it and shared it and only then was the Passover lamb consumed. After the meal was complete, a third cup of wine was drunk and then a concluding prayer of thanksgiving. Then finally the second part of the praise song was sung.

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