“And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him” (Luke 22:14). “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
Today is often called Maundy Thursday, also referred to as “Holy Thursday” or “Great Thursday” in some denominations. The word Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command” or mandate. The “Maundy” in “Maundy Thursday” refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another.
Consider the twelve apostles: it was only several years earlier they had left all to follow Christ. What an experience they had listening to Christ’s wonderful teachings, witnessing the astounding miracles, being edified through their close fellowship and enjoying the breaking of bread together.At the time of His first miracle Jesus said “Woman, why do you involve me? My hour has not yet come“ (John 2:4). Earlier in Christ’s ministry the opposition had tried to seize Him but could not, “because His hour was not yet come“ (John 7:30).
But this night was different; the careful historian Luke introduces His gathering with the disciples for the Passover meal with this solemn description, “And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him”.
Now the Twelve leaned around a table and Jesus shared what surely seemed to them a confusing illustration inserted into the familiar Passover meal: “My body which is given for you, my blood which is shed for you.”
“What is He talking about?” they surely wondered as they whispered amongst themselves. They must have looked at each other to get a sense of whether anyone was connecting or understood Jesus as He again spoke of dying. Just days earlier He had come into Jerusalem to great fanfare and shouts from the crowd recognizing that He was the King. That’s what they wanted. And that’s what they got, just not in the way they expected.
“The hour” was that singular moment in space and time for which Christ, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” had come to this world. Oswald Chambers states, “The cross is the crystallized point in history where eternity merges with time.”
May we who believe and follow Christ reaffirm our commitment to this great and loving God. We pray that the desire of Paul’s heart would also be the theme of our prayer: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
• Our reconciliation to God
• Our restoration to wholeness
On this Maundy Thursday of Holy Week, let us rejoice in the ultimate demonstration of Christ’s supreme love.
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Here is a listing of different Scripture verses where Christ speaks of “the hour” in the sense of today’s message:
“Then He returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners'” (Matthew 26:45).
“Going a little farther, He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him” (Mark 14:35).
“Returning the third time, he said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners'” (Mark 14:41).
“When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table” (Luke 22:14).
“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4).
“At this they tried to seize Him, but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come” (John 7:30).
“He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come” (John 8:20).
“Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified'” (John 12:23).
“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27).
“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1).
“After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven and prayed: ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you'” (John 17:1).
The four gospels cover the life of Christ, a period of about 33 years. Most of this material deals with the 3½ year period of His ministry. However an astounding 30 of the 89 accumulative chapters in the gospels deal with the period from Christ’s triumphal entry through His resurrection and post-resurrection appearances. Mathematically this means that approximately 33% of the written material in the gospels deals with a mere .05% period of His life! In the providence of God we have a much greater proportion of material dealing with God’s greatest act of mercy in providing our redemption.
Here’s an interesting chart from a Study Bible that may be helpful as you study the Bible this week. It sure helps me to have a sense of when the events took place and is inspiring to read these Scriptures in the daily sequence leading up to Easter.
- Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem: Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-40; John 12:12-19
- Jesus Clears the Temple: Matthew 21:12,13; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45,46
- Jesus’ authority challenged in the temple: Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8
- Jesus teaches stories and confronts the Jewish leaders: Matthew 21:28-23:36; Mark 12:1-40; Luke 20:9-47
- Greeks ask to see Jesus: John 12:20-26
- The Olivet Discourse: Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-38
- Judas agrees to betray Jesus: Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10,11; Luke 22:3-6
- The Last Supper: Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20
- Jesus speaks to the disciples in the upper room: John 13-17
- Jesus struggles in Garden of Gethsemane: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1
- Jesus is betrayed and arrested: Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12
- Jesus is tried by Jewish and Roman authorities and disowned by Peter: Matthew 26:57-27:2, 11-31; Mark 14:53-15:20; Luke 22:54-23:25; John 18:13-19:16
- Jesus is crucified and buried: Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30
- The glorious resurrection: Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-11; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18
Worship leader: Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. John 19:18
Congregation: This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross. Acts 2:23
Worship leader: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18
Congregation: May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
Worship leader: By abolishing in His flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:15-17
Congregation: He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:7-9
Worship leader: For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:19,20
Congregation: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13,14
All: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3