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Verse 18. Go into the city to such a man. That is, Jerusalem, called the city, by way of eminence. Luke says that the disciples whom he sent were Peter and John. The man to whom they were to go, it seems, he did not mention by name, but he told them that when they came into the city, a man would meet them bearing a pitcher of water. See Mark and Luke. Him they were to follow, and in the house which he entered they would find a room prepared. The name of the man was not mentioned. The house in which they were to keep the passover was not mentioned. The reason of this probably was, that Christ was desirous of concealing from Judas the place where they would keep the passover. He was acquainted with the design of Judas to betray him. He knew that if Judas was acquainted with the place beforehand, he could easily give information to the chief priests, and it would give them a favourable opportunity to surprise them, and apprehend him without making a tumult. Though it was certain that he would not be delivered up before the time appointed by the Father, yet it was proper to use the means to prevent it. There can be but little doubt that Jesus was acquainted with this man, and that he was a disciple. The direction which he gave his disciples most clearly proves that he was omniscient. Amidst so great a multitude going at that time into the city, it was impossible to know that a particular man would be met a man bearing a pitcher of water—unless Jesus had all knowledge, and was therefore Divine.

The Master saith. This was the name by which Jesus was probably known among the disciples, and one which he directed them to give him. See Mt 23:8,10. It means, literally, the teacher, as opposed to the disciple, or learner; not the master, as opposed to the servant or slave. The fact that they used this name as if the man would know whom they meant, and the fact that he understood them, and made no inquiries about him, shows that he was acquainted with Jesus, and was probably himself a disciple.

My time is at hand. That is, is near. By his time here may be meant, either his time to eat the passover, or the time of his death. It has been supposed by many, that Jesus, in accordance with a part of the Jews who rejected traditions, anticipated the usual observance of the passover, or kept it one day sooner. The Pharisees had devised many forms of ascertaining when the month commenced. They placed witnesses around the heights of the temple to observe the first appearance of the new moon; they examined the witnesses with much formality, and endeavoured also to obtain the exact time by astronomical calculations. Others held that the month properly commenced when the moon was visible. Thus it is said a difference arose between them about the time of the passover, and that Jesus kept it one day sooner than most of the people. The foundation of the opinion that Jesus anticipated the usual time of keeping the passover is the following:

(1.) In Joh 18:28, it is said that on the day on which our Lord was crucified, and of course the day after he had eaten the passover, the chief priests would not go into the judgment-hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover, evidently meaning that it was to be eaten that day.

(2.) In Joh 19:14, the day on which he was crucified is called the preparation of the passover; that is, the day on which it was prepared to be eaten in the evening.

(3.) In John 19:31, the day in which our Lord lay in the grave was called the great day of the Sabbath, "an high day." That is, the day after the passover was killed, the Sabbath occurring on the first day of the feast properly, and therefore a day of peculiar solemnity. Yet our Saviour had partaken of it two days before, and therefore the day before the body of the people. If this opinion be true, then the phrase "my time is at hand" means, my time for keeping the passover is near. Whether the opinion be true or not, there may be a reference also to his death. This was probably a disciple of his, though perhaps a secret one. Jesus might purpose to keep the passover at his house, that he might inform him more particularly respecting his death, and prepare him for it. He sent therefore to him, and said, "I will keep the passover at thy house."

Mark and Luke add, that he would show them "a large upper room, furnished and prepared." Ancient writers remark, that at the time of the great feasts the houses in Jerusalem were all open to receive guests; that the houses were in a manner common to the people of Judea; and there is no doubt, therefore, that the master of a house would have it ready on such occasions for company. It is possible also that there might have been an agreement between this man and our Lord, that he would prepare his house for him, though this was unknown to the disciples. The word rendered furnished means, literally, spread; that is, spread with carpets, and with couches, on which to recline as the table, after the manner of the East. See Barnes "Mt 23:6".

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