Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Today is Maundy Thursday, but before you are too impressed with my knowledge...I grew up with a family friend who played the organ for an Episcopal church and they always had a Maundy Thursday service. I must also confess that I thought everyone was saying Monday Thursday in that thick Texas accent that we all had, but that is a whole other story.

For those of you who don't know, Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter and falls between Holy Wednesday and Good Friday. Holy Wednesday can also be called Spy Wednesday and is the day that Judas Iscariot first conspired to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin. Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion and death of Christ. However, Maundy Thursday celebrates four events: the Lord's Supper, the washing of the disciples' feet, the events in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Christ by Judas.

This is one of those times of year that cause me to be a little more introspective and imaginative. What would it have been like to have witnessed the events of this week over 2000 years ago? What would it have been like to be in the crowds that yelled "Hosanna" and "blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord"? Would I have been one of those that celebrated His entrance to the city, singing and shouting, one second and then be yelling with the crowds to crucify Him? Would I have been one of His faithful followers that stood and watched Him being beaten and tortured? Would I have been one that stood by Mary as she watched her son hang from a cross? If someone had asked if I knew Him, would I have denied Him like Peter or confessed my allegiance?

It's easy for me to rationalize...If I had been there...If I had seen His miracles...If I could have touched Him...If I had heard Him teach...then it would be easy to believe. The truth of the matter is that many heard and did not believe. Many witnessed the dead being raised, the blind being able to see, the deaf being able to hear, and choose not to believe. Most likely there were people who ate the loaves and fishes He blessed and feed 5,000 men with that did not believe He was the Messiah. In the year 2008, that is hard for me to believe.

This reminds me that I walk by faith, not be sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus, Himself, said, "Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed" (John 20:29).
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12:1-3

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