"Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'" (Matthew 26:18)
"I gotta guy..." That's become a popular way of saying, "I know someone who can fix things." Maybe you gotta guy (and sorry to be sexist about it, I'm just quoting the saying!), or maybe a gal (is that better?) who can fix your leaking faucet, or do carpentry work, or take down a tree in the yard. (In case of last said item, I could be your guy!) It's a good feeling to know you gotta a guy.
Well, Jesus had a guy. When it came time to celebrate his final Passover with his disciples, the one in which he shared what we now call Holy Communion, he told the disciples to "go into the city to a certain man." Don't you wonder who that certain man was? How did Jesus know him? What did Jesus ever do for him?
Let's imagine. There are many examples of Jesus encountering folks whose stories are not told. Think of the many people who were healed and helped by Jesus, but nothing more is mentioned about them. Picture Jesus healing this man, or perhaps one of his children. The man with tears looks Jesus in the eyes and says, "How can I ever repay you?" Jesus replies, "There might come a day when you can help and I'll let you know."
Could it be that guy's day was Maundy Thursday? All Jesus wanted was a place to share a meal with his followers. Seems like a small repayment doesn't it? Yet, that man's provision offered a place where Jesus shared a symbolic meal which Christians have commemorated throughout the world ever since.
Maybe if we were reconstructing the initial conversation in modern vernacular it would sound like this: "The disciples said to Jesus, 'It's Passover! We will be glad to prepare the meal, but where?' Jesus said, 'I gotta guy. Go into the city to this address. Just say, Jesus is going to meet us here and wants to use your upper room for a place we can share the Passover. He said you wouldn't mind."
Could it have been like that?
If that's anywhere in the ballpark then a good question for us to consider today is: "What does it mean to be Jesus' guy or gal today?" What does it mean to be ready whenever he summons with a nod of the spirit, a thought from above or a strong spiritual feeling to make room for someone, to be available to another person's need, to offer a gift of kindness?
Maybe that nudge will seem insignificant, just like that certain guy in Jerusalem could have thought making a room in his house available was a small act. But for the rest of history people have taken bread and wine and given thanks for the miracle of God's redeeming love because of a meal shared in his house. Tonight we are invited to go back to that very room and let Jesus welcome us to the table and know that no matter what we have done, how unworthy we are to be there, he forgives and says, "You'll always have a place at my table."