Maundy Thursday, 2019

In Ecclesiastes, the preacher says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Tonight we enter holy time as we pause to remember our Lord’s passion.

During Holy Week, we gather to worship on Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday. In doing this, we are following this ancient custom from the early Christian Church.

As we return to our homes and families after worship, these services encourage us to be more aware of God’s love. Jesus came into our world to offer Himself as the one, perfect sacrifice for our salvation. He gave His life as the one perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Tonight we remember how Jesus loved all of His disciples. Knowing that Judas intended to betray Him, Jesus’ love was unwavering.

In John’s Gospel, the description of the Passover is different from the accounts in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In John’s gospel, there is no mention of the Lord’s Supper. That was something John’s readers were already familiar with. His readers were familiar with how Jesus took bread and broke it, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup and gave thanks, saying, “Take and drink, this is My blood of the new covenant poured out for you for the forgiveness of your sins.”

What John wants us to remember is that Jesus did something very surprising that night. During the Passover meal, Jesus got up from the table and, one by one, washed the disciple’s feet. Normally your feet would be washed upon entering the host’s home. And this washing was always done by a servant, never by the host. So it is quite remarkable that, in the middle of the meal, Jesus got-up and washed His disciple’s feet. But that’s not all. Jesus washed the feet of all His disciples, including Judas. This even after satan had entered Judas, making him determined to betray Jesus. John makes it clear that Jesus knew who was going to betray Him, and why.

Jesus took the feet of His betrayer into His hands and gently washed and dried them, just like the other 22 feet He washed. Why would Jesus do that? For John, the answer was simple. “Having loved His own who were in the world, He showed them the full extent of His love.” Jesus loved those who followed Him; He loved the one who would betray Him; He loved those who would flee from Him. He even loved the one who would soon deny Him over and over and over again. Jesus loved them all, no matter what.

Consider the choice Jesus made at that moment. He could have responded in like kind to His betrayer. We’ve all done that. Jesus could easily have passed Judas by while washing everyone else’s feet, or turned the other disciples against him. But Jesus had a choice, and He chose to love Judas no matter what.love is patient and kind; love does not envy; love is not rude; love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. We have all been Judases, betraying Jesus at every turn. Yet, “While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us.” That is how much Jesus loves you – and there’s nothing you can do to make Jesus stop loving you.

As the Israelites wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years, they encountered many hardships. But every time they made camp, God gave them very specific instructions. Their encampment was always to be a square, with 3 tribes on each side. In the center of that square was the Ark of the Covenant. No matter what dangers or hardships His people faced, God was right there in the middle of it all, with His people, and for His people.

In this dark and evil world, trouble, temptation, and trauma are everywhere. But tonight, just like His people of old, God is with you, He is in your midst, with you and for you. And if you pay attention to what God is doing in your life, you’ll see that God finds a way to love you more and more everyday, no matter what!  Amen!