Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-13
His Time Is at Hand
The day is Thursday in the afternoon, the first day of Passover in which the lamb was sacrificed, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the weeklong celebration of the liberation of the people of Israel from their Egyptian bondage, some fourteen-hundred years before Jesus’ time (or twelve-hundred, depending on dating). This was the quintessential festival of the Jewish Church which served as the type or shadow of the good things to come through Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish which the Passover lamb foreshadowed (Hebrews 8:5; 9:11; 10:1).
Today’s passage is about the disciples coming to Jesus and asking him, “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” It is obvious that they had not discussed this matter. Jesus answers as one who had already planned it out: Go to the city where a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to whatever house he enters and then speak to the master of the house in this way: “The Teacher says, ‘Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” And then he will show you a large upper room ready for you to make preparations for the meal. And then the passage ends with, “And the disciples … found it just as he had told them….”
It is a question as to whether Jesus made reservations ahead of time with people whom he knew so that he could evade the authorities who were watching him, or if this is another one of our Lord’s miraculous signs. There is no way to answer definitively, but the way the passage ends in both Mark and Luke with the disciples finding things just as Jesus said indicates to me the miraculous; I mean, why say that, if Jesus coordinated events ahead of time?
Matthew includes a line that Mark and Luke don’t. There, the disciples begin by saying to the master of the house, “The Teacher says, ‘My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” It’s more than a command. Were it not Jesus, it would be arrogant presumption! But the master of the house obeys; his house is the Lord’s house. And why is this? Because the Lord’s time is at hand. I need your house and I need it now to celebrate Passover with my disciples. It will be a solemn time when I shall institute a new Supper that my Church will observe, which shall proclaim my death until I come (1 Corinthians 11:26). Our Lord does more than merely command; he expects, because his and our time is at hand.