Bystanders Day 3: Upper Room Owner

By Jaime Sherman

  • Matthew 26:17-20
  • Mark 14:12-17
  • Luke 22:7-38

As the Passover feast neared, the crowd that had been hanging on Jesus’ every word and step scattered, leaving the 12 disciples very aware that they hadn’t planned ahead. In a city overflowing with holiday visitors, they had failed to secure lodging, and they hadn’t selected a Passover lamb on the 10th day of Nissan in accordance with the law to sacrifice now on the 14th day.

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“Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” the men asked Jesus, clearly hoping that like with the earlier miracle meals for hungry men, women, and children Jesus knew how to fix their social and religious blunder. 

Jesus had indeed been planning ahead and had supernaturally prepared a man in the city to bless them. With specific instructions, much like those given to the men retrieving the donkey and colt on Palm Sunday, Jesus told Peter and John to enter Jerusalem, where they would meet a man carrying a jar of water. They were to follow him into a house and ask the master of that home to show them the room where Jesus might eat the Passover meal with His disciples.

In yet another step of obedience and faith, Peter and John set off to fulfill their mission. Spotting the man toting water, they followed him. As they entered the house he led them to, Peter and John introduced themselves to the master.

“The Teacher says to you, where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” And just as Jesus had said, the man showed them a large upper room, which was not only furnished but was also prepared with the necessary items for the special meal.

Because this man had taken a leap of faith in the early days of that week to prepare a large room with all that was needed for the feast, Jesus and the twelve sat down to the sunset meal of unleavened bread and roasted lamb in accordance with Passover tradition. Then, in the moments that followed, Jesus washed the feet of His friends and instituted what we now call the Lord’s Supper, or communion, sent Judas out to do his dirty work, and told of Peter’s pending denial. The evening was a full one. 

The owner of this prepared room freed Jesus and His disciples to have long, intimate conversations in the days leading up to the cross rather than having to fuss over details for the feast. Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Simon the leper of Bethany had played a similar role as they hosted Jesus and the disciples between Palm Sunday and this meal in the upper room. These people with hearts of humble hospitality remained relatively hidden in the shadows of the Easter week narrative, but what a joy it must have been for them years later to reflect on that Passover week and the role God allowed them to play in blessing their Savior and His friends.

As you reflect on this story today, ask the Lord how He might be preparing you to serve another person, to support them in their ministry or quietly meet a need they might have.

For additional narratives in our Bystanders series, click here.