Tag Archives: Jesus

maundy thursday

There is a LOT of Bible ground to cover in the Gospel readings for this day. I would highly recommend you take some time to read through John 13-17:26 because it’s beautiful and I’m not going to say anything about it here 🙂

What I’m going to say things about here covers other parts of the story, mainly the broken bread and the poured out wine.

I love – el-oh-vee-eee love – being with my friends around a table. So many beautiful, ordinary, yet significant moments in my life occur around a table over a meal, with a hot cup of coffee or a good glass of wine. While my body is being fed, so is my soul, and that might be the thing I long for most during this season.

We’ve reached the point in our story where Jesus is eating a good meal with his friends. A meal that they prepared and ate together every year commemorating the Passover Festival. To the disciples, this was likely beautiful and ordinary.

For Jesus and Judas, this was significant.

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take and eat it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, ‘Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.'” – Matthew 26:26-29 CSB

I’ve been thinking all day about the order of this encounter. Jesus took bread, blessed it, then broke it. The Bread of Life grabbed the bread on the table and broke it. Jesus was telling His people what was about to happen and they had no clue. But they received the broken bread from the Bread that was about to be broken.

A beautiful, ordinary meal flipped on its head and only two of them saw beyond the table they were at.

Jesus knew he was heading to his death.
Judas knew the hour had come for him to betray the One he had eaten so many meals with.

Typically, on this night, I would be gathering with my Gospel Community (church small group) and we would be partaking in a Christian Passover Seder meal. This meal is essentially a re-telling of God rescuing His people out of Egypt and a looking-forward to the full and final restoration that Christ will bring with His return. Throughout the meal we drink four (yes – four) cups of wine:
• The Cup of Sanctification/Freedom
• The Cup of Deliverance
• The Cup of Redemption
• The Cup of Thanksgiving and Hope

The final act of the meal finds the leader reciting: “Our Seder is now complete, just as our redemption is complete. We rejoice with thanksgiving, and yet are humbled by God’s love! Yet the story of God’s redemption is not ended. We celebrate what God has done in our history, and what he has done for us, but at the same time we still await a new future.”

More liturgy is recited and we, as a loud room full of ‘spirited’ people, conclude by raising our glasses high and toasting, “Next year in the New Jerusalem!”

Oh how I long to be at that table tonight. Sitting with my friends, eating the same meal that Jesus and Judas and the rest of the crew ate.

Their meal ended, Judas left, and I picture Jesus taking a deep breath before they left the upper room. The once-and-for-all Passover Lamb was about to be slain, and a room full of disciples just dusted the crumbs from their robes.

I don’t know how to wrap this one up. It feels very disjointed. I don’t like to leave things scattered, yet here we are. But in a way, that feels appropriate, because in the course of the story, chaos is about to reign down on this cast of characters.

So rather than trying to tie a neat bow around a chaotic piece of history, I’ll look forward to a good meal prepared by my own hands tonight, a full glass of good wine, and a longing for next year in the New Jerusalem.

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holy wednesday

“Then one of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they weighed out thirty pieces of silver for him. And from that time he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.” – Matthew 26:14-16 CSB

Things are takin a turn. Judas is ticked because Jesus told him to leave Mary alone and let her worship. He thought the perfume would’ve been of better use if they would’ve sold it to give money to the poor. Jesus, being Jesus, knew better.

Not only did He know the depths of Judas’ heart – that he cared more about the actual money than he did the poor he wanted to give it to – Jesus knew that in order for the plan to play out the way it was supposed to, He had to be sold and betrayed and given over. And Judas was the one that the enemy got to. He went to the religious elite and basically said, “Alright. What are you gonna give me if I give you Him?”

They bartered, made a deal, and Judas was on the lookout to hold up his end of the bargain.

I find myself a lil stuck today. I don’t have much to say except for even in this act, God is sovereign. Even on the brink of betrayal and torture and death, He knew and was in ultimate control.

I don’t understand why our ultimate redemption is kicked off with such a brutal betrayal.
I don’t understand why there wasn’t a different way out.
I can’t fathom the amount of restraint and humility Jesus had to endure on this Wednesday on His was to Calvary.

I do understand betrayal.
I do understand longing for things to be made right.

And I’m so deep-in-my-bones grateful that Judas plotted against Jesus so that the story that ends in my salvation could continue to play out…

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holy tuesday

We’ve reached the point in our holy week where there doesn’t seem to be much out of the ordinary going on. Jesus is with His disciples and He’s still teaching them via parable. We have the one with the two sons (not the prodigal…), the one with the vineyard owner, and the one with the wedding banquet.

We also get to hear about Jesus’ anointing at Bethany.

“Then Mary took a pound of perfume, pure and expensive nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped his feet with her hair…Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, ‘Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in. Jesus answered, ‘Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.'” (John 12:3-8 CSB)

I don’t know if Mary knew what she was doing – that she was preparing Jesus for burial. But I do know that her act of worship was a costly one. She literally poured about three hundred day’s wages on the feet of a dirty traveler and wiped them with her hair.

Can you imagine the stance of humility she had to take? Pouring out expensive perfume, bending to the ground and wiping Jesus’ feet with.her.hair.

I don’t even like to wipe my own feet with soap in the shower. Let alone, someone else’s with my face right next to them.

The point is – her worship was costly. Yet it was worth it.

Judas gets angry.
Jesus blesses her.

Jesus acknowledges that she is worshiping in such a way that she may not even know – she is preparing His body for what is to come.

I don’t think my worship is often costly for me.
My closest friends offer safe space for conversation to work out what we believe and lean into in our relationships with Christ.
My church is literally named Refuge – offering a place for the weary to come and have some spiritual rest.
My family has always expressed trust in Jesus.
My worship of Jesus is expected.

My worship has not been costly.

I wonder what it would look like for me to bend down at Jesus’ feet this week, offering up my safe worship for something that will cost just a little bit more…

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holy monday

This Monday does not feel holy.
It started out feeling holier than my previous few Mondays, but then I quickly remembered that I forgot a timely work task and yelled a curse word at my empty apartment.

Yet, here we are. Monday of Holy Week. Holy Monday. The day where Jesus entered the temple and turned over the table of the money changers and called them out for turning a house of prayer into a den of thieves.

He was v upset.

I remember a song that I used to listen to on my non-skip cd player that had a deep voice declare at the end of one of the very Christian songs, “My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer.”
The version of the Bible I read today doesn’t say it quite like that, but still…

I got to thinking about another time Jesus was in the temple, but a lil less upset. He was 12 and he traveled with his parents to Jerusalem for Passover, as ya do. Jesus, being the perfect pre-teen that he was, stayed behind when his parents were done with the festival. They realize they’re missing the Messiah, so they turn around and go back to get him. His response?
“Didn’t you know that it was necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49 [CSB])

Even then, He was telling us who He was – Son of God, Son of Man.

I doubt the instance we read about in the later chapters of Matthew, Mark, and Luke was the second/only other time Jesus visited the temple. I’m sure he went many times, as was the custom for Jewish people. Yet the people still didn’t get it.

Don’t you know it’s necessary for me to be in my Father’s house?
Don’t you know this is a house of prayer, not profit?
Do you have any idea what is about to happen to this temple?
Do you know that I am the One you all have been waiting for?

Luke tells us in chapter 19 that as Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem before His final Passover, he wept for her, because she “did not recognize the time when God visited you.” (19:44).

Do we know that God has visited us?
Do we know that redemption is available?
Do we know that He is the One who has healed the broken hearted and bound up their wounds?

May we recognize the time when God has visited us, and may we take a tight hold on the Savior who weeps over us and longs to bring us peace.

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proudly humble

Sometimes the hardest part of writing is figuring out what to title the blog post. Is this one click-bait worthy? Or just a horrible attempt at wordplay?

Either way, here we are.

I’ve been slowly making my way through the Gospel of John over the last couple of months. A couple weeks ago, I re-read John’s account of Jesus washing the disciples feet in chapter 13.

If you grew up in the church, or have been around for a hot minute, then you have undoubtedly heard this story. Jesus shows us what true humility looks like by washing the feet of his disciples.

Yadayadayada. Heard it a thousand times. Cool, thanks John. Moving on.

Except this time **cue the Word of God being living and active…** I didn’t read the same story I have read/heard hundreds of times. This time, I saw Peter.

Peter asks, in what I assume is a confused and rhetorical tone, “Lord, do you wash my feet?!” Then I continue his sentence in my mind, “Ah, heck no!” And after Jesus gives an answer that I can only imagine Peter doesn’t hear/listen to, he replies, “You shall never…

When I read that, it hit me – this seems to be Peter’s attempt at humility. He cannot imagine the man he has been living with and watching work miracles for so long bending down to wash his feet. How could this man – the man that Peter declared as Messiah, the One that had the words of eternal life (John 6:68) – how could he ever wash Peter’s feet?

It’s as if Peter, in the most backwards way possible, was trying to protect Jesus from the humiliation of wiping the bottom of his gross feet. Again – Peter’s false humility.

Peter had no idea what he was denying himself by not wanting Jesus to wash his feet. Peter was fighting against the opportunity to allow the Savior of the entire world – past, present, and future – to literally wash over him with water AND the Word. Because, honestly, he was probably too proud.

Sometimes the stance of humility is not not receiving something, or putting yourself down, but rather allowing others to serve you and lift you up because you are incapable of knowing/doing/being everything.

We try to put off this air that we are here to help everyone but that we never need help. We’re the servants, never to be served. But the truth is, we do need to be served.

We need people to tell us the truth.
We need people to remind us of who we are.
We need people to pick us up when we are down.
We need people to wash our feet.

May we never be too proud to say, “You will never wash my feet.”
May we, instead, be people that say, “Thank you for seeing that my feet are dirty and for offering to help.”

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