Thursday, April 1, 2021

Holy Week | "Maundy" Thursday's Act of Sacrificial Love

Emmaus City Church Holy Week Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities 

Maundy Thursday: The English word "Maundy" is derived from the Latin mandatum, the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give to you that you love one another as I have loved you"), when Jesus explained to His disciples the significance of His washing their feet.

This post features artwork and the manuscript for the Maundy Thursday video produced by Crossway and featured in the book, The Final Days of JesusFor a previous video reflection on Maundy Thursday, check out:

+ Facebook Live 2020 Maundy Thursday Devotional: John 13:1-17, 34-35: Jesus' Love is Powerful, Complete, and New for You

And here is one way anyone can join with Jesus in "washing another's feet" this Holy Week:

+ Potential Maundy Thursday Participation with Jesus: Order a take-out meal to be delivered to a neighbor’s home as a way to serve them/get them off their feet (i.e. wash feet from afar).

The Final Days of Jesus Day 5: Maundy Thursday

Emmaus City Church Holy Week Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities

Jesus Instructs His Disciples Peter and John to Secure a Room for Passover

Jesus Eats the Passover Meal with the Twelve, Tells Them of the Coming Betrayal, and Institutes the Lord's Supper

Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet, Interacts with Them, and Delivers the Upper Room Discourse

Jesus and the Disciples Sing a Hymn Together, then Depart to the Mount of Olives

Matthew 26:30 | Mark 14:26 | Luke 22:39

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denials 

Jesus Issues Final Practical Commands About Supplies and Provisions

Jesus and the Disciples Go to Gethsemane

It's Passover week, so Jesus instructs his disciples to secure a Pascal lamb and go and get an upper room in the city of Jerusalem so that they can celebrate their own Passover supper together. Later that evening, Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and so begin the Jewish trials of Jesus.

So as we explore this day, we can ask a few questions:

+ Was it significant that Jesus' last week took place during Passover week? 
What is the relationship between the Last Supper and the Passover meal? 
+ And why couldn't the Jewish leaders simply handled this all on their own? 
+ Why did they need to go and get the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, involved?    

Jesus Celebrates Passover with His Disciples as a Family

The celebration of Passover was one of the great moments of the Jewish religious year. They were celebrating their deliverance from Egypt. God brought them out of their slavery, created them as a people, and started them on the road to their own land. 

It was important to be in Jerusalem because only in Jerusalem and the temple could you actually have Passover lambs slain that were the centerpiece of the Jewish family meals. The lambs were slain the day before the Passover and then eaten that evening just as Jesus and his disciples celebrated their own Passover meal as a family of people together during that Thursday evening meal.  

Jesus Celebrates Passover with His Disciples as an Anticipation of Yahweh's Rescue

Passover was a celebration and an anticipation of Yahweh's rescue of his people's redemption from the hand of Pharaoh. Typically, the Jews ate at a table to eat, but not at Passover, one of the most festive meals. They would recline on the floor with pillows. Why? During the Exodus when they came out of Egypt, they didn't have tables to sit at. They laid down on the desert floor and ate. Lying down while eating became an expression of your freedom. So when the disciples take the Passover with Jesus, they're lying down looking forward to that day when Yahweh would finally grant freedom to his people

So it's looking back to Exodus in the past and looking ahead to the Exodus to come. Now Jesus is saying this is the new covenant, the new way of God relating to his people through my death.

Bonus: The Four Cups (Sanctification, Proclamation, Blessing, Praise), the Last Supper, and the Cup of Consummation (stirs additional wonder in light of the Passover meal during Maundy Thursday) 

Jesus is Arrested and Tried for Blasphemy

When Jesus was arrested late on that Thursday night, a series of judicial proceedings unfolded. During the nighttime, there was a gathering of the Sanhedrin, the high Jewish authority where all the Jewish officials were gathered together interviewing Jesus, perhaps with a view to formulating an official charge. What can we charge this guy with that's going to stick? What's going to work?

This might have been an unofficial proceeding because at nighttime usually the Jews were forbidden from holding official trials. And in that context, Mark 14 tells us that they think Jesus has committed blasphemy. So that gave them their official basis to go ahead.

It turns out that three years before the first Good Friday, Pontius Pilate removed from them the right of execution on orders from an anti-Semitic patron of his in Rome. For this reason, now Pilate and the Romans alone had the right of capital punishment. 

Previously, the Sanhedrin would not even have taken Jesus' case to Pilate. But now, he had to hear it.  

Bonus: Table of Hope | The Beauty and Power of Communion with Jesus and All Who Come Hungry and Thirsty

Emmaus City Church Holy Week Worcester MA Soma Acts 29 3DM Christian Reformed Church Multi-Ethnic Network of Missional Communities

Next post: Good Friday | The Deliverer Who Overcomes Death by Death

P.S. Here are links to the 5 posts that share some introductions, details, verses, and songs related to the previous days during Holy Week:

Christ is all,

Rev. Mike "Sully" Sullivan

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