Matthew 26:17-19 – Are You An Unnamed Servant or Do You Want Your Name in The Bulletin?

Posted: March 30, 2016 in Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 26:17-19

The Disciples Prepare for the Passover Meal

 

Have you ever planned for the celebration of your wedding anniversary with your wife? Some guys think you can wait to the last minute and throw something together and think that it will be made special just by thinking about doing something or having shown the effort to do something. However, if you want to make it a special day and/or evening, some planning is required to make the event go off with the swagger that you want. For example, on Monday of last week, it was my and Elena’s sixth wedding anniversary. In year’s past, I have done some low key things, some special things and this year I wanted to be totally different. I wanted to make a day of it with things happening back to back to back where she would be entertained, made to feel special, and for her to have her main love language, quality time (with me). So, the planning had to begin – because this just couldn’t be a fly by the seat of your pants day. The first thing I had to do was to get the day off from work. That planning had to take place two weeks before the event because of our rules at my secular job about vacation notification. So, that was step 1 which had to take place no later than March 7th. After that tactical necessity was taken care of, I had some time to think about what I wanted to do.

 

The first thing I did was figure out where I wanted us to end the day and evening with a unique meal at a restaurant that we normally would not go to. Everything would have to hinge on that point. One thing that I had not counted on was how many nice restaurants in Greenville are closed on Mondays. My original plan was to end the evening in one of the chic restaurants in Greenville’s nationally known Main Street district, a collection of unique restaurants, shops and bars. However, most of the upscale restaurants that I wanted to go to are closed on Mondays. The shops and many other things at Main Street are open on Mondays but not the high end places where you would take your wife on your anniversary. So, I thought let’s expand our search around the Upstate (South Carolina). After much searching for just the right spot, I settled on a unique restaurant on the shores of Lake Keowee in Seneca, SC, called the Lighthouse. It is an upscale restaurant right on the lake. Lake Keowee is nestled in the mountains of South Carolina so the views from this restaurant are just really, really nice. I made the reservations for 6pm. I knew from mapquest.com that the restaurant is almost an hour and a half drive from our house, so that was a factor in the planning. I also wanted to celebrate my wife’s Cuban heritage that day by having lunch at a Cuban restaurant, of which there are very few in the Upstate. I found one in Simpsonville, SC, one of the southern suburbs of Greenville. Factor again travel time. It is about a half hour’s drive from our house. However, with lunch in Simpsonville and then dinner in Seneca, there was some dead time or down time to fill in between those two events. Since both the beginning and ending events were meals, I needed some kind of in between activity that did NOT involve food. So, what could I do? Yeah, a movie. That’s the ticket.

 

So, if we had to be in Seneca by 6pm. I needed a movie that would end by 4:30pm at the latest. A search was on. They key would be running time of the movie – that would begin not long after we finished lunch but would give enough space and time to get from Simpsonville to wherever we would see the movie, have enough time to see a movie, and then make the hour and half drive and be in Seneca for dinner by 6pm. After researching theatres and movie start times, I settled on Miracles from Heaven starting at 2:05pm at the Spartan Stadium 16 on the west side of Spartanburg not far from where we live. It had a running time of 1 hour 40 minutes making it end around 3:45pm. Beautiful. That would give enough time to get to Seneca to get the fancy restaurant on the lake. So, then I had to work on when to leave home, make the half hour drive to the Mad Cuban Café in Simpsonville, allow an hour for lunch, and then calculate the drive time from there back to Spartanburg for the movie. Based on the calculations, we needed to leave our house in Duncan, SC no later than 11am to make everything work. Plans made. Movie tickets purchased. Dinner reservations made. Research on opening time at the Mad Cuban for lunch complete. Now, it was anniversary day. Time for execution of the plan. Since these three spots were some distance apart in the Upstate of South Carolina, timing was everything. Nothing could throw off the plan because if it did, the whole plan would fall apart. But the day came and the plan went off literally like clockwork. It all went very smoothly and seamlessly. There was no awkward “killing time” or dead air as they would call it in radio. There was no rushing around just to make the next stop (like having to swallow the meal whole, leaving the movie early or being late to dinner). It was all smooth. My wife loved the day and felt very loved that I had gone to all that effort to make it appear like a seamless, effortless day, and most of all having a whole day together doing nothing but doing stuff together – which with our busy schedules we rarely have time to do. Sure, we get to spend time together but it we are often doing other things at the same time, never just being out and about and not caring about emails, chores, etc. That’s the quality time she loves and I gave it to her. She loved it. It took precision planning down to the minute, but it was fun for me personally to see all the behind the scenes work I had done play out as I had planned. It did take that much planning – down to the minute. But the planning, the original plan, the revisions, the final plan make it look effortless to my wife and that was the idea! It ended up being one of our best anniversary dates yet (well, we’ve only been married for 6 years so there not a great many previous ones to compare it too, but the bar has now been raised! LOL).

 

That idea of doing the unnoticed work, but necessary work, is what came to mind when I read this short passage that some might gloss over when writing on the various passages of Matthew. Most combine this passage with Matthew 26:20-30, but to me, Matthew 26:17-19 stands alone for it speaks to me. As my wife and I have been involved in planning and executing many major events for our church, LifeSong Church in Lyman, SC, I can so relate to this short passage. After my experience planning our anniversary date last week, it adds to my identifying with this passage. Let’s read these few short verses together:

 

 

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”

 

18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

 

 

What I see in this passage is that there is an unnamed man who loved Jesus. He was apparently one of Jesus’ larger group of followers-disciples. He probably didn’t care that Matthew or none of the other gospel writers knew him by name. To him, it was an honor to assist in preparing for the Passover meal for the man he believed to be the Son of God, the Messiah. He probably helped put together the tables and pillows and such in upper room of his house to accommodate Jesus and his crew of 12. A table for 13, please! At a restaurant, that’s an undertaking even today. At your house, even today, a party for 13 invited and confirmed guests is a big deal and a major undertaking. He helped plan, unknowingly, for the last meal that Jesus would eat until he ate with His disciples after His resurrection. It was an important meal. He helped plan it. But by the gospel writers did not name him. Maybe, he did not want the publicity. Maybe, he did not care for the publicity. He didn’t want to become famous for serving His Lord. He just probably loved the Lord and just wanted to serve Him in any way that he could. He didn’t do it for publicity or for fame. He just loved the Lord. He just wanted to serve in thanksgiving for what Jesus had done in his life.

 

That’s the thing that I take from this passage. Working in the background. Taking care of details. Serving the Lord when no one is looking. Serving the Lord when no one notices. Serving the Lord when no one pats you on the back or singles you out for the great sacrifice that you made. Just serving the Lord. Just being Jesus to other people whether anyone notices or not. That’s what a real Christ follower does. He doesn’t give abundantly financially to his church to get favors from the pastor. He does it to be obedient to the Lord. He doesn’t help his neighbor to gain advantage or get his name in the paper. He doesn’t feed the homeless man to make himself feel good. He doesn’t open his home to a friend down on his luck so that he can be a martyr with that person later to get what he wants. He doesn’t serve at church to get noticed or recognized. He may be serving at the church even when its not Sunday morning. He just loves the Lord. He lives a life of thanksgiving and that just pours out of him in service to his fellow man. Every time he serves his fellow man it is, to him, as if he were serving and thanking his Lord and Savior for what Jesus has done for him. He takes care of details so that others can enjoy worshiping the Lord without distraction. He makes plans and executes them so that others will see Jesus without having things that will get in the way of their worship of the Lord.

 

Are you willing to serve the Lord without being noticed for having done it? Are you serving the Lord so others will notice or are your serving the Lord because you love Him so much? Are you the unnamed? Are you a servant? Are you so in love with Jesus Christ that you don’t care whether anyone notices your service other than Jesus Himself? We should be living to please our audience of One, Jesus Christ, and not man. That is what I love about this unnamed host of the Last Supper.

 

Amen and Amen.

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