Hopefully Wednesday gave you some time to reflect upon what Jesus has done for us while looking forward to Resurrection Sunday, Easter, in anticipation as we know that Christ has risen from the dead! Thursday often called Maundy Thursday comes from the Latin word for commandment mandatum (Andy Rau, BibleGateway). Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:34-35).
Today is the day of the Last Supper and the Lord’s Supper. It is the day that we have received the tradition of communion within the church; the day we join in the partaking of the bread and the wine representing His body and blood. It is also today that we see Jesus’ example of servitude when He washes his disciple’s feet. So much happened on this day and I encourage you to read about the different events of the day in Matthew 26:17-75, Mark 14:12-72, Luke 22:7-65, and John 13-18:27. For now we will focus on the events in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 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. “Could you men not 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 body is weak.”
He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.”
Have you ever felt called to do something that you did not want to do, something that you had hoped you could skip over because the danger was high or the cost seemed to be too great? Imagine being Jesus and knowing what your fate was to be and what you would have to go through to fulfill your purpose? Jesus is God and was certainly able to circumvent what was about to happen, but where would that leave us today? Jesus knew what needed to be done, He knew the cost, but He also knew the repercussions if He did not fulfill his Father’s will. He was grieved to agony over what He knew was to come and He asked the Father to remove the cup that was before him if it were at all possible, but in the end He was instructed to drink so he drank. He did not run away, He did not fight back, instead He walked directly into what God had called Him to do. The hour was near and his time had come.
Jesus knew his destiny, but He also knew what ours would be if he refused to drink of the cup that was before him. I don’t know if you can remember a time when you did not know Jesus or not, but for me the most memorable time was right before I came back to God when I was at the end of my rope. I no longer knew how I could make it any further doing what I was doing. I knew what my future looked like, I knew what I deserved, but at that moment I fell to my knees and prayed and Jesus Christ raised me from the dead life that I was living and showed me a glimpse of His might and His love for me. The anguish that I felt as I knelt and prayed is only a small glimpse for me to see what it was that Jesus was about to face. All I had to do was to surrender, just as Jesus surrendered to the will of God and to the crowd that had come to condemn him. Luckily for me and luckily for you our Father has given us a new life for trusting in Jesus with our lives. Let us remember that it was today that Jesus made the ultimate decision to give His life for you and me.
Father, gracious and heavenly Father, we thank you so much for Jesus. We thank you Jesus that you drank of the cup so that we do not have to. We thank you that you did not fight, but went willingly to show us how much you love us and long for us to be with you in Paradise. Forgive us where we have failed you. Forgive us where we have forgotten just how much honor there is in being called your sons and daughters. Forgive us for forgetting that you have always had our best interest at heart. Help us to follow you and trust you Lord. We turn to you Father, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Lord you know exactly what we need. We submit to you Lord. Take control of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.