Thursday, 28 March 2013


“Christ died to save this lost world; he did not come to destroy, maim or pour out wrath.” - David Wilkerson

The Thursday before Easter is Maundy Thursday, and it is celebrated today by the Western Christian churches. The Eastern Christian churches celebrate Easter about month later this year (Easter Sunday is May 5th, 2013). On Maundy Thursday, Christians reflect on the Last Supper, when Jesus and his Disciples dined together for the last time before his death.

Jesus said: “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:31-35).

The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for commandment (mandatum), which Jesus talked about when he told his disciples that he was leaving them “a new commandment,” that they “love one another.” There must have been an electric atmosphere in that upper room where Jesus and the Disciples had their last supper together, with may thoughts and wild emotions in everyone’s mind. Not the least would have been bewilderment as Jesus told them that someone in that very room would betray him.

Jesus handed everyone (including his soon-to-be betrayer) bread and wine. Passing these around, he spoke momentous words: “This is my body… this is my blood.” An extraordinary dictum for an extraordinary Passover supper. These words connected with what he had said previously by the shores of the Sea of Galilee: “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty…. whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day”. (John 6:35, 54).

Jesus told the Disciples to repeat this meal in the future, so they would remember him and do what he had taught them to do. Judas Iscariot skulked away to what he had been destined to do. Jesus and the Disciples followed and in the quiet olive grove, Jesus prayed in agony:
“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.” (Matthew 26:39-56)

The events following this outline the divine plan and the betrayal, trial and execution of the Christ fulfil the prophecies of old and set in place the new covenant as outline in the New Testament, such that mankind be saved. Christians the world over commemorate Passion week and then rejoice at Easter with the tidings of Resurrection and the promise of life everlasting.

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