I thought I knew the story of Thursday or at least, was familiar with Thursday night. It’s the night we examine alongside our own souls at Communion. It’s the night of breaking bread, the night God washed feet, the night the betrayer kissed the Lord.
I thought I knew the story of Thursday.
Then, the Spirit spoke.
“With whom did Jesus choose to spend His last day?”
Sunday belonged to the crowds, Monday to the religious. Tuesday was for teaching, and Wednesday He spent surrounded by admirers in the house of Simon.
He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat.”
And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.
And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.”
Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!”
And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you . . . But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.”
And he said unto him, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.”
And he said, “I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou know me.”Luke 22:8, 13-27, 31-34
While others prepared their Passover feasts, two of His followers did the same. Sequestered in an upper room, they ate together. The picture is intimate, shadows dancing on the walls magnifying the dance of the flame from the lamps that twinkles in their eyes. Sweaty bodies lean in close, breaking and dipping the bread and listening, listening to the words of the Master.
And while they stretch back, full of food and heavy confusion about His words, “One of you will betray me” He comes ‘round and tenderly wipes their feet, bathing their rumpled spirits, settling their little spats.
And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he sad to his disciples, “Sit ye here, while I shall pray.”
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; And said unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.”
And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
And he cometh, and found them sleeping, and said unto Peter, “Simon, sleepest thou? could not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”
And again he went away, and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.
And he cometh the third time, and said unto them, “Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrays me is at hand.”Mark 14:32-42
Like the betrayer who had already gone, even these disciples failed to return the great friendship of Christ. Weighted with their humanity, they fell asleep.
Christ knows our deepest pain. He knows that the betrayal of an enemy hurts less than the betrayal of a friend. He knows how much it hurts to have those we trust deny knowing us, deny knowing our needs and our pain. He knows how much it hurts to have friends neglect us in our thickest night.
He knows what it is to be alone.
Yet, Jesus Messiah also always knows or needs, always cares, always is there, and He claims us and loyally keeps us by His Almighty, gentle hand.
Jesus, friend of sinners, we thank You. A-men.
*If you don’t want to miss the rest of this series, enter your e-mail at the top to receive them in your inbox. If you missed any of the previous posts, you can read them here: Palm Sunday, Holy Monday, Holy Tuesday, and Spy Wednesday.
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