Go to a certain man in the city and tell him: “The Teacher says, ‘My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.’”
This is the second time that Jesus tells his disciples to go and meet someone whom God has supposedly prepared for their arrival.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Where do you want us to get the Passover meal ready for you?” “Go to a certain man in the city,” he said to them, “and tell him: ‘The Teacher says, My hour has come; my disciples and I will celebrate the Passover at your house.’” The disciples did as Jesus had told them and prepared the Passover meal. (Matthew 26:17-19)
The first time was when he told the disciples to get the donkey that carried him into Jerusalem:
Go to the village there ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied up with her colt beside her. Untie them and bring them to me. And if anyone says anything, tell him, ‘The Master needs them’; and then he will let them go at once. (Matthew 21:2-3).
Later in the New Testament these kinds of supernaturally orchestrated interactions continue. In Acts 10 there is a story about a Gentile named Cornelius was visited by an angel who told him to send his people to find Jesus’ disciple Peter. Meanwhile, Peter had a vision about all kinds of animals coming down from heaven on a large sheet, both clean and unclean, which a voice from heaven told him to eat. When Cornelius’ people arrived, the Holy Spirit told Peter to go with them, even though Peter, who was a Jew, was not allowed by his religion to visit or associate with Gentiles. But Peter remembered the dream and so he stayed and ate and visited with Cornelius because he was confident that it was what God wanted. The experience demonstrated God’s desire that the Jews and Gentiles were supposed to get together. They weren’t supposed to let the Law of Moses and Jewish tradition get in the way of love and relationship.
Also, there was a man named Ananias who had a vision where Jesus appeared and told him to seek out the apostle Paul and heal his blindness. Ananias was afraid, because Paul was a known persecutor of Christians before his own converting experience on the road to Damascus, but Ananias was obedient. He found Paul, prayed for him, and Paul was both healed and filled with the Holy Spirit. How did Ananias know he wouldn’t be killed? He didn’t. It was a leap of faith. He trusted the vision.
I wonder if the people that gave Jesus the donkey or the room for the Passover dinner had similar divine visitations before they were approached by the disciples. I wonder if they were apprehensive about sharing their property with a stranger. I wish the Bible gave more details. I’m sure there are many thousands, if not millions, of good stories like these that remain untold.
I’ve had a few experiences like these were you feel like you are operating within a greater plan. For example, when I turned by life over to God when I was about 30, I decided the first thing I needed to do was read the Bible all the way through and then maybe try to find a church. But I started to feel like God was calling on me not to wait on the church part, so I reluctantly took the Sunday morning plunge. Granville United Methodist was the second church I tried. I liked the pastor, and when he preached he glowed. Literally. I would see him surrounded by a soft, white glow. I knew it was either a really good sign or a really bad one. Turns out it was a good one. We got married and have been super happy together for 26 years.
One of the first things I wanted to do after my conversion was to get baptized. I had been through a lot in my young adulthood and I felt unclean. My pastor husband said this wasn’t possible because I had been baptized as an infant and couldn’t be baptized again. I felt this was really unfair and we argued about it. Eventually we started developing a relationship with a United Pentecostal Church that we attended when we were on vacation in Michigan. Those folks believe that everyone needs to be baptized “in the name of Jesus for the remission of sin” (as in the Book of Acts) and so my Methodist baptism “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (as in the Book of Matthew) didn’t count. After while the pastor started saying, “I’m going to baptize you” every time he saw me. Every time he said it I brought it up to my husband and he said it wasn’t necessary, but I kept saying it was necessary to ME.
One day while we were on vacation we had another argument about it and my husband said, “OK. Let’s stop by the church right now and if Pastor Haner is there then we will BOTH be baptized.” We drove by and there was the pastor, standing out in front of the church waiting for us!! And we were both baptized, or re-baptized, or whatever you call it. A good old immersion baptism, but just a little sprinkle on the head. It meant so much to me and it really changed my life for the better. I will never forget that image of the pastor standing there in the front yard of his church looking around. I started yelling, “There he is! There he is! STOP THE CAR!” It was amazing. When we pulled up Pastor Haner simply said, “I knew you’d come.”
So I guess that’s what it takes for the Kingdom of God to advance. You have to be in tune with what’s going on in your heart, and then you have to be willing to take a leap of faith. You just need to trust your gut and give it a shot. Even if it’s a little unorthodox. Even if it involves bending the rules of the church. As with everything else in life you need to trust your instincts – and nothing ventured, nothing gained.
What does this scripture say to you?