A Journey Through Holy Week – Thursday

Wednesday was relatively quiet. However, it’s Thursday, April 2, 33 AD. The events of Maundy Thursday quickly progress from an intimate fellowship meal to a dark evening of betrayal and arrest. The Apostle John invites us into the heart of Jesus. We are given a front-row seat to the words of encouragement and challenge Jesus gives his disciples. John’s account begins in chapter 13. John writes, “It was just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

John seemed not so concerned about the events of Thursday night but the heart of the evening. At the time of John’s writing, the events of the crucifixion were well established in the synoptic Gospels. On this last night, you must see our Savior’s hope. John says that it is time to leave this world and go to the Father. Jesus knew the tomb was not the end. The burial became not a cul-de-sac with a dead end, but a highway to renewed fellowship with the Father. As you read the accounts of Thursday, please consider the hope of Jesus.

Jesus and His disciples gather together for the Passover Meal. Jesus was eager to eat this meal and made sure everything was perfect. In the Final Days of Jesus, the authors remind us that this was the “last supper” in a few ways: “the last meal that Jesus would eat with his disciples, the last meal that Jesus would eat in his pre-glorified body, and the final Passover meal of the old covenant.” [1] Even with all the preparation, something was missing. There were no slaves in attendance to wash the feet of those gathered. There is no way Peter, James, John, or one of the other 12 will stoop to wash each other’s feet. But God would stoop. Jesus took upon Himself the garments of a slave, knelt, and washed the stinky and dirty feet of the men. Jesus even knelt to wash his betrayer’s feet before the betrayer would offer Jesus a kiss of deceit.

Jesus taught so many things during these last hours with His men. In the hours before His death, he was teaching the men about love, peace, spiritual power, hope, joy, and intimacy with the triune God. He warned them that pain would proceed the promised joy. The hours of His earthly life were quickly ending, but He still worried about others.

It’s Maundy Thursday. Do you know why they call it Maundy Thursday? While Jesus was teaching, he was loving. In John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” In Latin, the words “new command” is “mandatum novum.” From the Latin, we get Maundy. All the events of Maundy Thursday remind you and me that we are loved, and we reciprocate that love to God and to others. “By this [love] all men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:35). If you truly grasp what Jesus is doing, you will love others. On this Maundy Thursday, how is your love relationship with others? I find myself loving people I like or who are like me well. But I fall short of loving those different than me, and I don’t love my enemies as well as I should. I pray we can all be more like Jesus in this regard. I pray this Maundy Thursday will make you consider how you are loving others and love more like Jesus.


[1]            Andreas J. Kostenberger and Justin Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2014), 60.

A Journey Through Holy Week – Wednesday

It’s Wednesday, April 1, AD 33. All seems quiet. It’s the calm before the storm; it’s the eye of the hurricane. Maybe the crisis could be avoided. Compromise may be an option between Jesus and the religious leaders. It’s not too late to have peace. Though few and seemingly insignificant, the events remind us again that the cross was not an accident but an appointment written down at the foundations of the world. Matthew and Mark both tell the story of the anointing at Bethany. On Wednesday, there is no public appearance or teaching of Jesus. However, while Jesus was quietly going through His day, Satan and His demons were working hard, planning on how to kill the promised seed from the Garden.

Judas is an interesting story. He had the same opportunities as all the other Twelve. He was in close proximity with Jesus and was even empowered to do miracles. He sat under Jesus’ teaching and even had his feet washed by the Messiah. Yet, he never understood all Jesus was doing and succumbed to the influence of Satan through compromise. He was living a double life. On the one hand, he was a disciple, and on the other hand, a thief (John 12:6). In times of distress and pressure, the true you will always surface. Judas may have considered himself a disciple, but he proved himself a pawn in Satan’s hand. But Judas going out from the Twelve proved he never really belonged to them (1 John 2:19).

In this light, we learn that Satan entered Judas (Luke 22:3), and he met with the chief officials to conspire with them to betray Jesus. As we consider the Passion Week, keep in mind that Jesus always knew Judas would betray Him. It was always part of God’s plan. You can see this well when comparing the Gospels to the Prophet Zechariah.  

‘Then I said to them, “If it seems right to you, give me my wages; but if not, keep them.” So they weighed my wages, thirty pieces of silver. “Throw it to the potter,” the Lord said to me — this magnificent price I was valued by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw it into the house of the Lord, to the potter” (Zechariah 11:12-13).

Notice:

  1. They negotiated over the wage – In Luke’s account, we see where Judas goes to the chief priests and the officers and discusses with them how he might betray Jesus. Note, “They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented …” Luke 22:4-5a).
  2. They paid him 30 silver coins. “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you [negotiations]? So, they counted out for him thirty silver coins” (Matthew 26:15).
  3. Zechariah also said he took the thirty pieces and threw it into the house of the Lord. After Jesus was arrested, Judas became remorseful. According to Matthew 27:5 where did Judas throw the money? You guessed it, into the temple.
  4. Finally, notice the money is thrown into the house of the Lord, to the potter. Let’s continue with Matthew’s account. In 27:7, Scripture tells us the chief priest “decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field.”

Satan was not in control; God is sovereignly in control over all of history. Compromise with the world is never an option. Let me challenge you with this thought: Who are you when no one is looking? Are you Christlike in the secret place? Use these days to draw near to God. Prepare your heart to worship. 

 Wednesday is relatively quiet. But make no mistake, Jesus will die; Satan will be defeated. But just not on Wednesday. For a few more moments, “darkness reigns” (Luke 22:53).