Maundy Thursday is here. Jesus has held passover with His disciples at the last supper, He has announced His betrayal, has washed their feet, and has told them to love the way He loves. They couldn’t have known the fullness of what He meant in that moment, couldn’t have known as He did, what was about to unfold. It may have sounded as trite to them as it can, at times, sound to us. Love one another indeed.
Then Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane. Here He comes face to face with what He is being asked to endure. Can you imagine? For a moment? Can you imagine knowing that you would be taken away, moved from court to court, falsely accused over and over again, and then betrayed by the entire community as they would choose a darkened criminal’s life be spared over yours? Can you imagine knowing that you would be put to death in the most torturous way- your skin shredded, your bones broken, your body mutilated in unthinkable fashion- and you have a choice.
Please don’t brush over this. Jesus, scriptures says, sweats blood. This is called hematidrosis. It is the rare result of intense fear and stress. Hear this. Jesus knew what He was facing. He was frightened beyond measure. He begged His father to not have to go through with it. Begged Him.
And then He surrendered. He surrendered to obedience. Maybe He fully knew that He would be offering Himself as the sacrificed lamb, once and for all. Maybe He just simply knew that His father loved Him and if His Father loved Him, then whatever He was being asked to do was what He needed to do. And He chose to obey- even to death.
Please, today, don’t gloss over “Jesus died and then He rose again” without entering into the surrender, the sacrifice, the reality that He chose to endure the fate of a guilty man, even without fault, to endure such fear, stress, and excruciating pain, losing his life- so that we would have life and have it abundantly. He sacrificed everything to obedience.
What sacrifices are we willing to make in our own lives? What is the most difficult thing we’ve ever sacrificed? What are we not willing to sacrifice if He asks us? These are tough questions. And sometimes the enemy will try to use them to shame us. . Don’t be ashamed! Pray in spirit and in truth. If what is true is that we have a difficult time sacrificing, then we start with that truth. We pray for the Lord to give us the willingness to be more sacrificial. Or perhaps in order to pray from a place of truth, we start with “Lord, please make me willing to be willing.” Wherever truth is, that’s where we start.
If we desire to be obedient and can’t seem to do it, then we pray against anything in us that would block us from being obedient in the name of Jesus. We come against any work of the evil one to block our obedience, in the name of Jesus.
We are the bride of Christ. He knows us. He will meet us exactly where we are. And He takes away the shame, replaces it with an empowerment that we know with all certainty comes from Him because it just wasn’t there before. This is the beauty of our God! He changes us!
Thank you, Jesus, for your unthinkable love for us, for Your willingness to sacrifice even to the point of death for us. Thank You that You have called us to Yourself- to listen and to obey. We surrender our lives to You, Lord. Do with them as You see fit. Direct us and guide us. Fill our hearts with the desire to be obedient, the willingness to sacrifice. Make us unafraid before men to speak of Your loving kindness, of Your absolute truths, of Your mercy and Your grace. Motivate us to move at Your will. Help us to value Your instruction over any temporal thing in our lives. Grow us and nurture us in Your will and Your ways, Lord. Prepare us for Your resurrection! We are yours. We love you, Lord.