Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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A Maundy Thursday Meditation
A Maundy Thursday Meditation 2014

Tonight in our congregation we are having a Holy Communion Service and tomorrow night a Good Friday service, both at 7:30 pm. Tonight we commemorate that night in history 2000 years ago when Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples, Judas. On that same evening, He celebrated the Passover, which had been a ritualistic practice ever since God had directed them to observe it annually at this specific time. In the 12th chapter of Exodus this ritual is initiated so that through the years they would remember the time when they were delivered out of the bondage of Egypt. We remember that the Pharoah finally let them go after the first born of every living being was killed in the night. That was it for the Pharoah, for after the nine previous plagues that came upon him and his people, this one was the straw that broke the camel's back.

It is difficult for us to put ourselves in the place of the disciples, for they were at a real disadvantage compared to us who live 'after the fact." The Jewish leaders had for their "Bible" the Old Testament and in their interpretations, Jesus was not recognized or accepted. They did not know the outcome of what was going to happen with Jesus, for they lived only in the prophecies of the Old Testament and even though Jesus was the fulfilment of those prophecies, they seemed to not connect the dots.
In addition to that, since the Holy Spirit had not been given yet, the disciples' understanding of what Jesus was saying and doing was not grasped very well at all. They seemed to understand that He was a king, but they were confused as to what kind of a king he was. Their concept of a king was one who would deliver them from the bondage of Roman tyranny and set up His kingdom in Jerusalem, and they were not seeing that in Him or hearing it from Him. But still they were looking for a Deliverer, but the Messiah of prophecy was in their understanding at this point. And this Jesus of Nazareth certainly did not fit their ideas of the Messiah.

As I think of how they charged Jesus as being a blasphemer, it is no wonder, for since they believed God was a mono God, so there was no Three in One as we believe the Scriptures teach. They were standing for what they thought was true and they naturally would think that it would be necessary to kill anyone who stated that they were God. Wow... In their mind, they were protecting the honor of God.

So I wonder what they thought after they had observed the annual Passover meal with all its symbolism which pointed to their deliverance out of slavery from Egypt through the leadership of Moses. I can hear them settling back on their couches after the Passover Meal, having been reminded of the specifics of their deliverance through the different food items, and then maybe even looking at one another, saying, "well, another Passover gone by...we sure thank our God for His deliverance. But yet wondering about who their Master really was....and then a night that was like any other night became the Night of Nights.........He drops one bombshell on them, and then another...

Matthew 26:20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. {hymn: or, psalm}
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

Wow, one of us is going to betray you, one of us is going turn you into those who want to get rid of you? What are you saying, Jesus? Of course, they were sorrowful, and everyone of them began to ask Him, 'Is it I, Lord?"
The disciples indicate by their question that they recognized that within them was the capability to do betray a friend, so consequently they asked the question. "Is it I, Lord?"

Jesus then gave an indicator as to which one it was going to be, (only He and Judas understood what it meant by verses 23-24) and even then Judas continued his hypocrisy by asking the question, "Is it I, Master?" Jesus told Judas, something like this: You said it, Judas....In saying that, Jesus indicated that there was still a door of grace open to Judas to repent and to fall upon the mercy of Jesus, but.........

Then Jesus did something that they did not as of yet understand by taking the bread and wine and applying it to the upcoming sacrifice and offering of Himself on the cross, with his body represented by the bread and his blood being represented by the wine. He points to the shedding of His blood for the forgiveness of sins which also was extended to Judas still. How great is grace? It is greater than anyone's sin, including my sins, your sins, Judas' sins, Peter's sin, Apostle Paul's sins, the worst murderers' sins, the worst child molester's sins, the worst hypocrite's sins, the worst adulterer's sins, the worst thief's sins and so on. ...........

So when we come to His table tonight to receive His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins, to celebrate life and salvation and to have a foretaste of the heavenly and eternal feast, it will be a great time of rejoicing in His great grace for us. His grace is abundantly provided for all those who come to His table.
In His grace,

Pastor Orval
Posted on 17 Apr 2014 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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