Posted by: Terry | April 9, 2009

Holy Thursday – He loved them to the end

“Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father.” (John 13.1 NIV)

Holy Thursday (being a good Scot I avoid Maundy Thursday used by the English), the evening before Good Friday. Jesus makes his final preparations to leave this world, and gives final instructions to his twelve closest followers.

First he celebrates Passover, surprising them with the announcement of the new covenant. “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” (Luke 22.20) Jeremiah the prophet predicted that there would be a new covenant to replace the covenant with Moses, now it was to happen. No longer birth and regulations but now “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”

In the process he institutes Communion, The Lords Supper, Eucharist. “Do this in remembrance of me.”

With a debate over who will be greatest in the Kingdom still in their minds, Jesus takes the role of a servant and washes their feet. Lesson one – the creator of the universe has come to the lowest place on earth for them. Lesson two – they are to so serve each other.

What follows is known as the Upper Room Discourse, final instructions and comfort.

“I am going there to prepare a place for you… And I will come back and take you to be with me.” (John 14.3)

“I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever… I will not leave you as orphans.” (John 14.16, 18)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, He will bear much fruit;” (John 15.5)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15.19)

Then Jesus prays that the Father will keep them, and that they will be one in love.

He commissions them to spread the word to the whole world and make disciples.

In this one evening Jesus summed up the essentials of the work he came to do and our obligation to carry it on;

  • A new covenant, with a new Sacrament to remember it by
  • Examples and instructions on a life of service and love
  • The promise of his return to give them hope
  • The assurance that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, will come and be with them forever
  • The key to a fruitful life, abide in him.
  • Alerts them to the negative reception they will have in the world because they are followers
  • Gives them a purpose and task to occupy their time until his return

Holy Thursday is a day to reflect on the life we should lead the rest of the year. Our King gave us marching orders; we are prudent to review them. Our savior and friend provided comfort for the hard times; we are not alone nor without hope.

“Amen, come Lord Jesus”


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