Maundy Thursday

It was Thursday. Thursday is pretty much universally held to be an uninteresting day. Everything important happens on Mondays and Fridays.

So on this day, a couple of thousand years ago, Jesus is celebrating the Passover with his guys. And it’s been an interesting week. The first day, they are singing his praises and waving palm branches, calling him Messiah and king. But he knows that by the end of the week things are going to get really bad.

He has one last time of preparation for them as to who he is and what he intends for them after he is gone. He washes their feet to show them what servant leadership is like; it’s not very glorious or fun, but self denying and laden with suffering the needs of others.

He takes the wine and bread from the Passover meal and translates a sign of the old covenant into a sign of the new covenant. I’m sure they were a little confused. We’re always a little off when Jesus starts doing things contrary to our expectations. First he takes the wine, and instead of drinking it, he says, “take this wine and distribute it among yourselves.”

Then he takes the bread and says “this bread is my body that is broken for you.” When you get together eat it to remember me, and he takes the wine, “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, drink all of it; For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

Satan went into Judas as Judas had in mind to betray Jesus, and Jesus knew it. He knew all about it and let it happen. What people intend for evil God can allow for a greater good. People think that Jesus knowing what was going to happen and what people were going to do somehow lessened their painful nature. Really it made them worse. It intensifies their effect. Imagine the weight of knowing that you would be betrayed by your friend and put to horrible death tomorrow. Knowing doesn’t make it easier.

But the point is, Jesus came into the world for a purpose. He had a goal and end in mind, and nothing was going to deter him from that sacred end. Death was the cost of a greater gain, not for himself, but for those he loved.

Before you were born, before the worlds were made, before the stars framed the sky or the four winds were loosed from their storehouses, before oceans roared or suns were lit, or planets spun along their tracks in burning space, he knew you completely.

God’s Fatherhood is not like the fatherhood of men. It isn’t limited, or ever a surprise, or a future hope but a certainty reflective of a love with no beginning or end. Jesus was a son sent into the world to please his father by saving his brethren, and all those he knew in that eternal sense he did come to seek and to save.

He was undeterred. His mind was clear and intentional. We who were scheduled to be born two thousand years hence were the object of his very personal actions on our behalf, and our suffering and death would be his own. He would take them on for us; save us from death and hell; save us from ourselves; save us from the justice of God; and even from justice of his own.

Hell is powerless now.

Death is nothing, less than nothing.

It holds no fury for the children of God, called according to his purpose, at the time of his good will, because Jesus paid it all.

We are his and he is ours.

Neiswonger

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