Day 44

Holy Week in Real Time: Maundy Thursday

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


John 16:16-24, John 16:32-33, Matthew 26:17-75, Psalm 41:7-13, Zechariah 13:7

The Thursday prior to Jesus’ crucifixion fills many pages in Scripture.

It began with John and Peter securing the upper room (Matthew 26:17-19). There in that room, Jesus would wash His disciples’ feet, explaining He had come to make them clean (John 13:1-20). As they began to eat, Jesus told them that one of them was about to betray Him. Each disciple wondered if He meant them. Meanwhile, Jesus discreetly dispatched Judas to do what he intended (John 13:21-30).

During this last supper, Jesus set apart the Passover bread and cup and reassigned—or better, perfected—their meaning. The bread is His Body. The cup is His blood. This meal would no longer primarily remind them of how God delivered their forefathers from the external tyranny of Pharaoh. Now it would remind them of how Christ delivered them from the internal tyranny of their own guilt and sin against God (Luke 22:14-23).

Then Jesus prayed for them, His friends, and for those who would come to know Him through their testimony. He prayed that His Father would make them one (John 17). After praying, Jesus rose to His feet and asked His disciples to stand with Him to sing a doxology over their suspended, unfinished Passover meal. Jesus led them in the traditional Passover song, Psalm 118, about how the stone the builders rejected had become the cornerstone, and how the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

To pause and lead His disciples in a song like this, at this particular moment, shows the strength of Jesus’ resolve to face His impending arrest and crucifixion. The Gospel accounts tell us that He started that Last Supper overwhelmed with sorrow, and that later in Gethsemane His sweat became like drops of blood (John 13:21, Luke 22:44). In the middle of that tension, Jesus sang of the faithfulness of God.

Think about that for a moment: one of the things Jesus did on the night He was betrayed was sing (Matthew 26:30).

When they finished singing, Jesus led His disciples out to the Mount of Olives, to one of their regular meeting places—the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:26-32). But Jesus didn’t go there only to pray. He also went there to wait. Soon a line of torches snaked their way toward Him through the darkness (Mark 14:42-46). This was what He had been waiting for.

John 16:16-24, John 16:32-33, Matthew 26:17-75, Psalm 41:7-13, Zechariah 13:7

Today is the fourth day of the portion of the church calendar commonly known as Holy Week.

In the coming days, we will slow our pace, walking through the events that took place between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Rather than offer personal, written responses to each day’s Scripture reading, we’ve asked our friend, Pastor Russ Ramsey, to provide a real-time summary of the week’s events. Our prayer is that this more descriptive approach will usher you into the narrative and allow space for you to fully engage the beauty and ache of Holy Week.

Take this week slowly and reverently. It is a somber time, but let us never forget: Sunday is coming.

___

The Thursday prior to Jesus’ crucifixion fills many pages in Scripture.

It began with John and Peter securing the upper room (Matthew 26:17-19). There in that room, Jesus would wash His disciples’ feet, explaining He had come to make them clean (John 13:1-20). As they began to eat, Jesus told them that one of them was about to betray Him. Each disciple wondered if He meant them. Meanwhile, Jesus discreetly dispatched Judas to do what he intended (John 13:21-30).

During this last supper, Jesus set apart the Passover bread and cup and reassigned—or better, perfected—their meaning. The bread is His Body. The cup is His blood. This meal would no longer primarily remind them of how God delivered their forefathers from the external tyranny of Pharaoh. Now it would remind them of how Christ delivered them from the internal tyranny of their own guilt and sin against God (Luke 22:14-23).

Then Jesus prayed for them, His friends, and for those who would come to know Him through their testimony. He prayed that His Father would make them one (John 17). After praying, Jesus rose to His feet and asked His disciples to stand with Him to sing a doxology over their suspended, unfinished Passover meal. Jesus led them in the traditional Passover song, Psalm 118, about how the stone the builders rejected had become the cornerstone, and how the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

To pause and lead His disciples in a song like this, at this particular moment, shows the strength of Jesus’ resolve to face His impending arrest and crucifixion. The Gospel accounts tell us that He started that Last Supper overwhelmed with sorrow, and that later in Gethsemane His sweat became like drops of blood (John 13:21, Luke 22:44). In the middle of that tension, Jesus sang of the faithfulness of God.

Think about that for a moment: one of the things Jesus did on the night He was betrayed was sing (Matthew 26:30).

When they finished singing, Jesus led His disciples out to the Mount of Olives, to one of their regular meeting places—the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:26-32). But Jesus didn’t go there only to pray. He also went there to wait. Soon a line of torches snaked their way toward Him through the darkness (Mark 14:42-46). This was what He had been waiting for.

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the King of Glory

Post Comments (10)

10 thoughts on "Holy Week in Real Time: Maundy Thursday"

  1. Patrick Shen says:

    This teaches me that the Gospel is apart of a plan of death, resurrection and redemption. Maunday Thursday reminds me that there is a distinct solemness to the gospel. We see the weakness of flesh in the face of a very sober Jesus. It’s very depressing. It should be. I don’t think I park on that enough. I skip to the “Happy and Hopeful” part of the gospel. Gods grace is not cheap. To get to hope, Jesus had to slog through a lot of crap on the front end.

  2. Patrick Shen says:

    In Peter and the disciples we see the weakness of man’s flesh in full effect. From betrayal/deceit of Judas to the denial of Peter, we see that our flesh is weak.

  3. Patrick Shen says:

    Solemn reflection.

  4. Patrick Shen says:

    God knew what what he had to endure for the sake of the world and he did it anyways. The cost of what was to come was extremely apparent to Jesus. In these moments I see a resolve of the Son of God and coupled with the distress of The Son of Man. The moments of Gethsemane and the last supper connect humanity to divinity through Jesus. He knew what it was to suffer as a man, but to have the assurance of Gods plan. Now that is something that connects me to Jesus and gives me a holy example to aspire to.

  5. Patrick Shen says:

    Today I walk with you Jesus in the solemness of Easter and the Cross. I pray, teach me in this space what it means to know you in your very real anxiety and holy resolve. Thank you Jesus.

  6. Isaac Jones says:

    God adheres to His word. He keeps His roomies no matter in what generation they were made. The Lord is always faithful. The Lord suffered and died for our sake; rising three days later. The Lord changed the pass over meal. The lord set an example of the laying down of life. The Lord tells of Jesus all throughout the Old Covenant preparing the way for the New Covenant.

  7. Isaac Jones says:

    The gospel was alway the plan and trajectory of history. We can understand Jesus’ actions because scripture is cohesive like a well placed spear: straight and strong to fly swiftly into the enemies heart. The gospel is true, and Jesus is alive. Suffering is not a punishment, but the will of God to show the reality of Jesus’ coming and changing the hearts of man. The gospel is not over, but furthered by every person who is saved; God’s mercy is poured out on the wicked for salvation.

  8. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is beset by weak flesh; sin afflicted flesh. We can only follow Christ because He lives; if He were dead we would forever be scattered and go astray. Mans wickedness leads Him to deny Christ, spit on God, slap God in the face, mock God and torture God. Oh, foolish generation; we think God is wrathful in the Old Testament? No, people are just so wicked. It was through man salvation came, and man carries the torch of salvation through proclamation as appointed by God.

  9. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond by thanking, and praising God.

  10. Isaac Jones says:

    Heavenly Father; God of Creation,

    Thank you for your good plan coming about at the appointed time. You majestically set time in motion and planned all of history by your created measurement. All things have come together, and continue to come together, for your glory and the Goodness of your Word. You Spirit flows among the broken healing the afflicted. Thank you for the cross Lord. You have known the times and seasons of our hearts, and you have chosen to save us for your purposes. May we who call you God honor you as God and seek the sanctification of faith its obedience. Forgive us Lord for our sins against you, for yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory; amen

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