Daily Devotion Wednesday 20th March 2024

Wednesday, 20 March 2024
St Mark 14: 12 – 21

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, ‘Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?’ So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, “The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.’ So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.  When it was evening, he came with the twelve.  And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.’  They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, ‘Surely, not I?’  He said to them, ‘It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the bowl with me.  For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.’


There’s so much going on here. We might notice the extent to which this demonstrates all sorts of planning quietly put in place by and for Jesus and his followers. We are seeing the outcome of careful choreography. Jesus expects their opening question. The man in the city with the water jar (presumably less usual than a woman with a water jar?) needs to be in a given place at a given time – Jerusalem isn’t exactly tiny or quiet! Their words are a little like some secret password in a spy story. The upstairs room is ready and waiting, furnished and good to go. As we move closer and closer to the crucifixion we are being shown that there is a plan at work, a drama unfolding. Jesus is no accidental victim of stray and random Roman brutality. God’s story of redemption is unfolding and the Spirit is at work in human affairs, even down to laying the table.

Then there’s the dramatic shift as they eat together. Jesus remains in command of events, and disciples continue to have parts to play. But what a part one of them will have! One who shares the meal for Passover, the great Jewish meal that remembers God setting slaves free to become a holy nation, will betray the Messiah. We can hear the anguished chorus, “not I?” And we feel the story’s ambiguity, perhaps. Without the betrayer, would there be a crucifixion? The Spirit is at work, and not everything is easy to comprehend. Mysteries linger.

What might this passage give into our day? 

Perhaps we are encouraged to wonder what part God has for us today. Whether we have major work to do or little of note planned, how might we embrace today so that we are utterly available to the Spirit to serve as God directs us?


Living God, 
I give you today, 
and myself, 
and all the things this day will bring. 
Help me pay attention so that I respond when you are prompting me, 
whether you invite me to stop, 
be still, 
or to act and speak with boldness. 
Show me a way to be a disciple once more today. 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Neil Thorogood, Minister, Thornbury URC & Trinity-Henleaze URC (Bristol)


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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