6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: It doesn’t take a lot of resources to be a blessing to someone and meet their need. All of us can be the person. Here’s how.

May, 2007

You Can Be the Person

Mark 14:12-16

INTRODUCTION: Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “where do you want us to make preparation for you to eat the Passover?” There was not much time for them to make the needed preparation because the Passover had to be eaten between sundown and midnight within the walls of the city. They didn’t have a week or more to find a place and plan. Jesus had a need for a room. In those days many houses had a large upper room and sometimes there was a stairway on both the inside and the outside of the house. It was Jewish custom that if a person had a room available, he must give it to any pilgrim who asked to stay in it. The upstairs room had what was necessary for the celebration, the tables, etc. But the disciples were told to get the food and prepare it--the time was running out to get all of this done.

In answer to the disciple’s question, Jesus sent two of His disciples, Peter and John into the city where He told them they would meet a man with a pitcher in his hand. On first thought one might wonder how they could identify the RIGHT person with a pitcher in his hand? How would they know where in the town he would be located? What would he look like? What kind of pitcher did he have? What color was it? This sounded like looking for a needle in the haystack. But in reality, it was a very easy thing to identify this man because in those days it was not the MEN who carried the water pitcher--it was the WOMEN who did it. It should be fairly easy to spot this man in the crowd. This man with the pitcher was probably a servant sent for water to clean his master’s room.

It is established that this man was an ordinary person. He didn’t have a lot of clout. We don’t even know his name. But we do know several things about him. I want to focus on five things.

1. An Ordinary Person: This is significant because people often think that God only uses influential, highly educated, or wealthy people. Not so. This man had a pitcher in his hand. Probably it was not of much value--yet the pitcher symbolizes the resources that a person has. These resources can be many or few and varied from person to person.

2. Timing: He was a person going about his business as usual that day. He was not just sitting around waiting for something to do. He was involved in his daily life. What if he had decided not to go to work that morning? What if he were late for work? He was in the right place at the right time. He was not doing anything especially “spiritual” when the disciples found him. He was just accomplishing his day’s work on time. Timing was especially important here.

3. Approachable: The man did not know of Peter and John’s need for the room. They didn’t call ahead for an appointment to discuss this fact with him, but the man was approachable in listening to them. They probably chit chatted about the weather or other small talk when they met. The man was not aloof and distant toward the disciples, and as a result, he found out what they needed and what they were requesting of him.

In our society we have been conditioned to be cautious--Don’t talk to strangers. Our philosophy is, “Don’t get involved.” We say, “You might be involved in some kind of violence and get killed. So play it safe.”

4. Action Oriented: Jesus told the disciples to follow the man and then say to the owner of the house, “Where is your guest room?” The man with the pitcher could have said, “I’ve got several stops to make on the way home, and “I’ll have to catch you later. He may not have wanted Peter and John to follow him home. It may not have been convenient that day; but no matter how it really was, he became an action-oriented person who quickly took Peter and John to the master of the house.

5. He Made the Introduction: The man with the pitcher did not have the room himself, but he knew the person who did have the room that Jesus needed. He was willing to make the introduction to the owner of the house. Because he had access to a network of people, he was able to make the divine connection. The need was easily taken care of once the introduction was made. The man with the pitcher became instrumental in seeing that the need could be met on time.

In the beginning of the scripture, the disciples were worried about where to find the room to eat the Passover. Jesus had a need for the room, but somebody was already prepared to meet that need. There was a man with the pitcher in his hand to lead them to the man with the room. The pitcher symbolizes resources for use in meeting the needs of others. You are probably already prepared to meet someone’s needs whether you realize it or not. I believe that God wants you and me to become that person with the pitcher who can meet someone’s need today.

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