I’ve always thought it was pretty presumptuous for Jesus to invite himself to use the house of a friend in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover with his apostles. When they asked him where they were to eat, he said, He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, my time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’ “ He doesn’t ask permission! He simply says I’m coming to your house. From the text, by the way, the “certain man” phrase is an indication that Jesus identified the man by name. The interesting thing in the passage is that the next verse puts Jesus and the disciples in this man’s house. He didn’t question Christ’s authority; He simply opened his home to Him.

I can’t help but think of Zacchaeus from Luke’s Gospel when Jesus called him down from the tree by name and said “today I must stay at your house.” Jesus knew both of these men’s names. Jesus knew his name just like He knows every star by name and just like He knows you and me by name. He knew all about Zacchaeus as well as the “certain man” mentioned in Matthew. He knows us all by name. He knows every intimate detail about us and loves us anyway.

The meeting isn’t by chance. Jesus said, “I must stay at your house.” The key word here is “must.” The Greek word for “must” means “necessity.” It’s not only the proper thing to do but the unavoidable thing to do. These interruptions in Zacchaeus’ life and the life of the “certain man” in Matthew, were planned by Jesus. Jesus is well known for intersecting lives in some fashion, often at unexpected times, to give us the opportunity to respond to him. Often our days are busy. We have plans. We are working on a specific thing or needing to go to a specific place. We meet someone along the way. The phone rings. It’s not part of our plans. It may even seem like an intrusion. But guess what? It may be a divine “must.”

“I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” Matthew 26:17