#319 – MAUNDY THURSDAY (1/4/21)
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Traditionally known as Maundy Thursday. Maundy means ‘to wash’. On the ‘first day of Passover’ they ate the Passover meal (‘The last supper’) and Jesus washed His disciples’ feet.
Jesus Our Passover Lamb
'On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.’ (Matthew 26:17-19)
Let the Passover remind us to focus on what is most important to us - Jesus who is our 'Passover Lamb'. He is perfect, He removes the 'yeast' (sin) from our lives. He died in our place, to purchase our freedom. It's His blood that covers and saves us from the wrath of God; because of Jesus, judgement passes over us in mercy.
Periods of shaking loosen our grip on the things that we are holding too tightly. During this period of testing, He is drawing us back to what is most important. May God cause us to delight in Jesus in a new way this Easter.
This is my body…my blood
‘While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’ (Matthew 26:26-28)
Jesus uses the Passover meal to teach about Himself. Whilst never forgetting the original context of escape from Egypt, He shows that His death on the cross is the ‘fulfilment’ of what this event foreshadowed. For Christians, The Lord’s Supper is the only ‘feast’ that we are commanded to keep; not yearly, but ‘as often as you eat and drink of it’ (1 Cor. 11:23-26).
Jesus Has Washed Us
In chapter 12, John writes of Mary anointing Jesus’s feet with expensive perfume and wiping them away with her hair. This event was followed by The Triumphal Entry (Jn. 12) of Jesus into Jerusalem; Jesus is presented and a king who is bringing peace and victory. Now, like Mary, Jesus the King is seen to wash feet!
‘The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.’ (John 13:2-5)
Culturally, we were to be shocked by Mary; May we not lose the shock of Jesus washing feet! Further, may we never lose the amazement that our God and King has washed our sins away as He was humiliated still further by the cross.
The promise of the Spirit
During ‘The Last Supper’ Jesus comforts His disciples by reassuring them of the promise of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in their lives.
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’ (John 14:25-27)
Jesus not only provides redemption through his body and blood, He also empowers us to live for Him in the sufferings of this life.
On what is traditionally known as Maundy Thursday (Maundy means ‘to wash’) Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane prior to his arrest.
‘Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”’ (Matthew 26:38-41)
Jesus is ‘overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.’ Jesus is full of dread because He is about to ‘drink the cup’ of our sin. Jesus the sinless one is going to become sin for us. Jesus went to the cross as our substitute.
On this Maundy Thursday, may we be filled with humility and confidence. Humility, that our God and King should have been willing to be humiliated and judged in or place. Alongside this, may we be filled with confidence in the love of God and the presence and empowering of the Spirit.
At the Passover meal, as we see in Matthew 26:30, it was customary to sing a hymn at various stages of the meal from Psalms 113-18. For example, I love the words, from the final Psalm of this ‘Hallel’ (‘son of Praise’) which clearly speaks of Jesus,
‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.’ (Psalm 118:22-24)