Q — In today’s Gospel — “go into the city to a certain man . . .” Who is that “certain man”? 

A — The answer is, “We don’t know who the ‘certain man’ is.” Each of the Synoptic Gospels has a slightly different account of the scene. In Mark we read: “So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, ‘Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?” (Mark 13:13-14). In Matthew: “(Jesus) said, ‘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.” (Matt.26:18). In Luke: “Listen,” he said to them, “when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks you, Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’” (Luke 22:10-11). In all likelihood, the way the texts present Jesus is as a Rabbi/Teacher with his students, preparing, like a family would, to celebrate the Passover meal. A man carrying a water jar would have been somewhat unusual, as that was considered women’s work. He probably would have been readily identifiable. Was this “certain man” known to Jesus but not to the disciples? Who was the “owner of the house.” 

It is like so many of the details in the Scriptures: frustrating. We don’t know who he was.