Maundy Thursday, March 29
scripture reading: Matthew 26.17-46
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
—Matthew 26:26-29 NIV
The final week of Jesus’ life is unfolding in the fullness of God’s time, with the Son busy about His Father’s business as He prepares Himself and those He loves for the magnificence of the cross. O, how He longs for his beloved to understand the great yet unfathomable gift of reconciliation that is about to be freely released. The greatest love mankind will ever know is about to be given so that we might be made ready to give it away. “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matt. 10:8). But there are things to attend to before the hour of victory arrives.
On the night before His crucifixion, Jesus gathered His beloved disciples together for a meal. Much happened around that table that night. What was lost in the Garden was about to be restored on the cross. But first came the meal. The betrayer was released, the denier was identified, and the Lamb of God revealed. And a most glorious invitation was issued— “Come gather together around the table often and remember the sacrifice of my body and blood as you eat the bread and drink the wine.”
The Lamb of God, slain before the foundations of the world for the redemption of mankind sat with His closest companions on the night before his greatest agony and found comfort at the table. One can only imagine the depth of his suffering. In his “now and not yet state,” fully God and fully man, Jesus knew the crushing weight of the sin of all mankind. It drove him to his knees in the garden, there in the midst of his beloved disciples. Yet he went to the cross for the joy set before him, fully aware that in the fullness of time we would all sit together again at the great banquet table for the magnificent marriage supper of the Lamb.
Just as Peter found reconciliation as he shared a meal with Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Tiberias, we too can come to the table of Jesus Christ and be restored and reconciled to God and to our fellow man. Jesus is the repairer of the breach. His great gift came with a great price, and for each of us there is also a great price—He wants all of you. And in return you get all of Him. “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:17).
As you prepare to be surprised yet again by the beautiful Gospel, to receive the fullness of the Good News, what things do you need to attend to before your hour of victory arrives? Take a few moments to come before Almighty God and confess your sins, and then rise with gladness and thankfulness of heart rejoicing in the great gift that is Jesus Christ.
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me … You are familiar with all my ways … Where can I go from your Spirit? Where Can I flee from your presence? … Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
—Psalm 139:1; 3; 7; 23-24
special thanks to susan thompson
for her incredible job editing these devotions.
And we are very grateful for our contributing authors:
Palm Sunday - Marcus Harris
Holy Monday - Joel Fernandez
Holy Tuesday - Gina Green
Holy Wednesday - Bethany Pautrat
Maundy Thursday - Susan Thompson
Good Friday - Betsy Herman
Holy Saturday - Jordan Shimon
Resurrection Sunday - Cathy Harris