What a Beautiful Evening!
Today is the Passover or Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday. It is the night that we celebrate so many precious things. We celebrate Passover because it symbolizes the lamb that was slain for our sins just as the Israelites were saved on that night by the blood of a sacrificial lamb. We also celebrate the night of the last supper when Jesus feasted with his disciples and embraced them for the last time. When we think about the events that are to follow, it only makes this Thursday more poignant and beautiful. He loved to the end. He knew what was to come, and enjoyed one last feast and time of fellowship with His disciples whom he loved. Imagine the feelings that were moving our Saviour as he embraced these final precious moments.
Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And during supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper, laid aside His garments, and girded Himself with a towel. Then He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. He came to Simon Peter; and Peter said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to Him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part in Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but he is clean all over; and you are clean, but not every one of you.” For He knew who was to betray Him; that was why He said, “You are not all clean.”
When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Imagine this moment! Surely Jesus’ close friends recognized the change in his emotions. Imagine what your last moments on earth would be like if you knew that the end was just around the corner. If you knew that these close friends would soon be put through the ordeal of watching you suffer, how would you interact with them? If you wanted to reassure each of them of your love.
The Seder Feast
The Passover is celebrated with a Seder or feast that contains only certain foods. This feast was celebrated by the Apostles and Christ, himself. The Lord promised the disciples that he would “keep the passover” (Mt. 26:18), which is the equivalent of “eat the passover” (Mk. 14:14). He appointed the place for that event and gave instructions for the preparation (Mk. 14:12ff). The Synoptic texts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) then harmoniously flow toward the evening of that very day, and depict Jesus as “eating” with the disciples (Mt. 26:21; Mk. 14:18).
Have a wonderful day and remember that these next few nights are representative of the most amazing act of love that has brought us into relationship with God, Creator of All, the Holy One. Tonight is a night to remember that sacrafice and to touch and enjoy the tenderness of God.