“and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭14:14-15‬ ‭

“and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.”” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:11-12‬ ‭

The word in both passages is lodging καταλυμα and lodging generally speaking comes at a cost.

Same word used for the inn where his parents couldn’t find lodging at the time of his birth

“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn καταλυματι .” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭

Interesting choice of word, πανδοχειον inn is not being used.

  • 1
    Do you have a reason to doubt that he didn't pay for the room and food?
    – Michael16
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 10:28
  • Do you have any reason to affirm that Jesus was a paying guest? Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 10:56
  • You walk into a lodge and ask “where is the conference room I asked for” are they expecting you to pay or just lay claim to it? @MigueldeServet Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 12:19
  • I dunno, I have never met a "man carrying a jar of water" at the entrance of a lodge “where is the conference room I asked for” ;) Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 13:28
  • 1
    Luke 8:2,3 indicates that certain women who Jesus had healed paid for certain things for Jesus. John 12:6 also indicates that there was a communal purse, which Judas was the treasurer of. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 23:30

3 Answers 3


The problem is with interpreting Luke 2:7 rather than Luke 22:11-12.

The Greek word in Luke 2:7 that is commonly translated “inn” is katalyma. This is not the ordinary word for a commercial inn. In the parable of the good Samaritan (Lk 10:25–37) the Samaritan takes the wounded man to an inn. The Greek word in that text is pandocheion. The first part of this word means “all.” The second part, as a verb, means “to receive.” The pandocheion is the place that receives all, namely a commercial inn. This common Greek term for an inn was so widely known across the Middle East that over the centuries it was absorbed as a Greek loan word into Armenian, Coptic, Arabic and Turkish with the same meaning—a commercial inn. -- Bailey, K. E. (2008). Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (p. 32). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.

K. E. Bailey explains that, as typical of middle-eastern culture, Joseph and Mary went to stay with relatives, but the guest room was full. So, they stayed in the family room which had the manger at the end of the room.

For the Western mind the word manger invokes the words stable or barn. But in traditional Middle Eastern villages this is not the case. (Bailey, p. 28)

enter image description here

See also In Luke 2:7 is "kataluma" a "guestroom" in a house or at an "inn"?

enter image description here

K. E. Bailey has a huge discussion on this. The first occurrence of Joseph and Mary staying in a barn/cave with animals was a novel 200 years after Jesus' birth.

The flaws with 'no room in the inn."

  1. Joseph returned to Bethlehem because that's were his relatives were. They would offer them a place to stay. If the guest room was full, in the family room.

  2. Joseph as from the family of David; thus a respected royal.

  3. Their culture, as usual, gave special care to pregnant women.

  4. Mary's relatives were also in a nearby village.

  5. Joseph had time to arrange a place to stay.

Luke‬ ‭22

The κατάλυμα is clearly in a house:

ἀκολουθήσατε αὐτῷ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν (in Luke 22:10, NA28)

ποῦ ἐστιν τὸ κατάλυμα (in Luke 22:11)

Thus, the upper room, was perhaps a guest room in a follower's house. Upper could mean uphill or second floor (up stairs). The BADG entry has the context suggests a dining room. One would think guest dining room since it was described as large and remote. A Pharisee would have trouble with the publicly, but a tax collector such as Matthew or Zacchaeus would be wealthy enough and not worry about image with the Jewish leaders.

The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ (Luke 7:34, ESV)

And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matt. 9:10–11, ESV)


κατάλυμα, ατος, τό (Polyb. 2, 36, 1; 32, 19, 2; Diod. S. 14, 93, 5; IG V 1, 869; Dit., Syll.3 609, 1; UPZ 120, 5 [II BC] al. in pap.; LXX; s. Bl-D. §109, 2; Rob. 151) inn. This sense is possible in Lk 2:7, but in 10:34 Lk uses πανδοχεῖον, the more specific term for inn. κ. is perh. best understood here as lodging (PSI 341, 8 [256 BC]; Ep. Arist. 181) or guest-room, as in 22:11; Mk 14:14, where the contexts also permit the sense dining-room (cf. 1 Km 1:18; 9:22; Sir 14:25).—PBenoit, BRigaux-Festschr., ’70, 173-86 (Lk 2:7). M-M.* -- Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (p. 414). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

In the Septuagint (LXX) κατάλυμα is generally used for lodging. (personal observation of 14 times used)

φάτνηa occurs only in Lk 2:7, 12, 16, and it may be important in some languages to distinguish clearly between various alternatives. The term ‘crib’ normally refers to the place where an animal stands when it feeds. The ‘manger’ is a relatively large box or rack containing hay, and a ‘feed box’ is a much smaller container, usually for grain. There is, of course, no way of knowing precisely where the baby Jesus was placed, but it would be very appropriate for the baby to have been placed in the feed box or in the manger. See also 7.64. -- Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 69). New York: United Bible Societies.

enter image description here http://www.weslacochurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Newsletter-112612.pdf

  • 1
    So what are you saying this upper room belonged to family member of His living in Jerusalem? It was free? Then why refer to Himself as the teacher? Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 12:29
  • 1
    @NihilSineDeo I believe the mention of family is related to your quote about the birth of Jesus. The mention of the follower is related to the upper room quote.
    – user31389
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:05

The author of the Question has already prepared the ground for Answers, by mentioning two Greek words used by Luke (Mark uses only one).

  • κατάλυμα (Strong's G2646 - katalyma), used twice by Luke: once to refer to the situation that "there was no place" for Joseph and Mary to stay, so Mary "gave birth to her firstborn son ... and laid him in a manger" (Luke 2:7); the only other time to refer to the "guest room" where Jesus and his Apostles shared the Last Supper.
  • πανδοχεῖον (Strong's G3829 - pandocheion), used only once in the NT, and only by Luke, to refer to the inn where the Good Samaritan put up (as a guest paid for by him) the poor man who had been attacked and robbed on the way between Jerusalem and Jericho (Luke 10:34-35).


  1. A κατάλυμα (unlike a πανδοχεῖον) is not necessarily a guest room of an inn, it may be a guest room in a private house, that one has the use of because one is invited by the owner.
  2. Unless we want to resort to an (unnecessary) "prophetic vision" of Jesus, the presence, at the entrance of the city, of the "man carrying a jar of water" has been arranged, between the owner of the house with the κατάλυμα and Jesus, as a sign for Peter and John, sent by Jesus.
  3. We cannot tell if Jesus uses the κατάλυμα as a paying guest or an invited guest.
  4. The general air of mystery of the arrangements for the Passover, though, may suggest that Jesus is a guest, invited by a secret admirer/follower.

Certainly Nicodemus, for instance, was one.


Luke 22:8-12, NIV

Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked. He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs [κατάλυμα], all furnished. Make preparations there.”

An area of speculation among scholars centers on this 'man carrying water'. Normally it would be the women who would gather the day's water at the pool. A man carrying water would be conspicuous.

This leads to speculation that Jesus is expecting one of the Essenes (who were celibate according to Josephus) to visit the pool. Less is known of the Essenes than of the Pharisees, but we are told they had a communal lifestyle, and presumably a presence in Jerusalem at the time. And importantly, no women lived among them (except for one minority sect of Essenes that allowed marriage); therefore, all daily chores of 'mainstream' Essene communities must be done by men.

The Wars of the Jews, volume 2, chapter 8

They [the Essenes] neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons children, while they are pliable, and fit for learning, and esteem them to be of their kindred, and form them according to their own manners. They do not absolutely deny the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued; but they guard against the lascivious behavior of women, and are persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man.

They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city; and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open for them, just as if it were their own... Accordingly, there is, in every city where they live, one appointed particularly to take care of strangers, and to provide garments and other necessaries for them... Nor do they either buy or sell any thing to one another; but every one of them gives what he hath to him that wanteth it...

The speculation is that Jesus was instructing his disciples to find an Essene man who was gathering water for their commune in Jerusalem, so that they could have their Passover meal in the upper room (kataluma) of one of the communal Essene houses.

The point of all this is, if this is what happened, the Essenes would not have charged money for Jesus and his disciples to use the room, based on the description of their lifestyle and practices from Josephus.

I cannot help but add my own feeling, that perhaps it is too fashionable for scholars to speculate about how the Essenes could be hiding in plain sight in scripture or other known history. Maybe the man carrying water was an Essene, it seems perfectly plausible to me. Or perhaps he was just an old widower gathering water for himself, who would have quite eagerly provided space for Messiah for Passover. It would not be the only instance of Jesus having a (possibly) supernatural knowledge of an otherwise mundane thing. He saw Nathaniel sitting under a fig tree. Nor would it be the only instance of Jesus staying with a stranger overnight. Only a few nights before he stayed with Zacchaeus, a hated tax collector.

Of course, nothing in the text answers the question definitively, but I cannot imagine that his party paid for the room. If they had the need and the money to pay, all the business about finding a man carrying water would have been quite unnecessary. And only days before, a great multitude had cheered his triumphal entry into Jerusalem as Messiah and King. A multitude so great that the Pharisee leaders lamented to each other, "The whole world has gone after him." Whether Essenes or not, there would be no shortage of people in Jerusalem happy to have him as a guest in their kataluma for Passover.

  • 1
    wberry, It would not be the only instance of Jesus having a supernatural knowledge of an otherwise mundane thing. If Jesus & Co. were the guests, either of Essenes (interesting, BTW) or of some admirer/follower "happy to have him as a guest", there is no need to resort to Jesus' "supernatural knowledge". Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:03
  • Perhaps. But if it were common knowledge the man would be there, then Jesus' instruction becomes strange, or at least strangely phrased. But I see your point. I even wonder whether seeing Nathaniel under the fig tree could simply be that Jesus was passing by and Nathaniel was surprised and falsely assumed supernatural knowledge.
    – wberry
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 18:54
  • wberry, I wasn't suggesting that the presence of the "man carrying a jar of water" at the entrance of the city gate was "common knowledge", but an arranged sign of an agreed invitation by someone "happy to have him as a guest", See my Answer. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 19:31
  • OK, but if that is what happened, then Peter and John would also have to not know about it. Which would be a bit weird, since they were with him seemingly almost all the time. Not impossible of course, and my feeling can't be substantiated, but if that were how it happened I would expect the narrative to be told differently is all.
    – wberry
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 20:25
  • wberry Peter and John obviously knew about Jesus wanting the arrange the Passover with them. I doubt they knew the "organizational details" that Jesus had arranged. I believe that the Apostles didn't know many things, like, for instance, who were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 21:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.