Holy Week Thursday
We come now to the day of Jesus' arrest. All that will happen in the next days is well in view for Christ, and He chooses to take the time to celebrate Passover with his friends and to share with them from His heart – His Servant Heart! Maundy Thursday is the day Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples, also known as the Last Supper. The word "Maundy" comes from the Latin word "mandatum", which means "command." Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment on this day: to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34).
But what did Jesus do on Maundy Thursday to show his love for his disciples and for us?
1. He washed his disciples' feet. This humble act of service showed how much he cared for them. In those days, people wore sandals and walked on dusty roads, so their feet were dirty and smelly. Usually, a servant would wash the guests' feet when they entered a house. But Jesus took a towel and a basin and washed his disciples' feet himself, even though he was their Lord and Master. He also told them to do the same for each other as a sign of love and humility (John 13:1-17).
2. He instituted the Lord's Supper. This was a sacred act of worship that showed how much he sacrificed for them. Jesus took bread and wine during the Passover meal and gave them new meaning. He said that the bread was his body, which would be broken for them, and the wine was his blood, which would be shed for them. The bread and wine took on a new and "real presence" of Christ. He told them to eat and drink in remembrance of him as a way of participating in his death and resurrection (Luke 22:14-20). He also established a new covenant with them based on His grace and forgiveness (Matthew 26:28).
3. He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. After the meal, Jesus went with his disciples to a garden called Gethsemane, where he prayed fervently to his Father. He had done this several times this past week on his return trip from Jerusalem to Bethany. He and all his disciples could tell there was something different about this night. He knew that he was about to face betrayal, arrest, torture, and crucifixion. He felt sorrowful and troubled and asked God if there was any other way to save us from our sins. But he also said, "Not my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42). He surrendered his life to God's plan and purpose.
So how can we respond to his love? Here are some suggestions:
- We can wash each other's feet. Not literally (unless you want to), but figuratively. We can serve one another in practical ways, especially those who are in need or marginalized. We can put others before ourselves and consider their interests above our own (Philippians 2:3-4).
- We can partake regularity of the Lord's Supper. We can also examine ourselves, confess our sins to Him, and receive His forgiveness and cleansing (1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
- We can pray in the garden of our hearts. Not just formally (though that is helpful), but sincerely. We can talk to God about our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, doubts, and questions. We can also listen to his voice and follow his guidance. We can surrender our lives to His will and glory (Romans 12:1-2).
Maundy Thursday is a day to remember Jesus' love for us and to reflect on how we can love him back. It is also a day to prepare ourselves for Good Friday and Easter Sunday when we celebrate his death and resurrection.
Along with the three activities mentioned above, he also took the night to teach his disciples and pray the great High Priestly Prayer. I would recommend that you take time today to read John Chapters 13-18, which contain some of the most powerful teaching and prayers of Jesus.
It is tonight we also see him wrestle in the Garden;
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Mark 14:32-42 (NIV)
Take time today to gather in Worship to celebrate, remember and receive the Lord’s Supper.
<>< Pastor Craig