The Lord Be With You Today!
(On this Thursday, so called Maundy because of the commands
the Lord gave to His friends at the last Passover He shared with them,
and which will at sunset turn into Passover, the 14th day of Nissan,
Jesus asked His friends to "remember" Him
through the bread and wine representing His soon-to-be broken body and shed blood
and to love each other.
Earlier in His ministry, He had told His followers that the greatest commandment
is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength
and the second greatest is to love each other as we love ourselves.
On this Passover night, Jesus is not only telling us
to love God with everything in us and to love each other,
He is now actually walking out through His Own actions
those two greatest commandments to us by vividly demonstrating
His total devotion to His Father God and His great love to us
through His willingness to die on the cross
as a complete and acceptable atonement for sin.)
Now Judas, who betrayed Him, knew the place,
because Jesus had often met there with His disciples.
So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers
and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.
They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to Him, went out and asked them,
“Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.
“I AM He,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
When Jesus said, “I AM He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
(Jesus answered with His full Name, the mighty and powerful Name of God,
the Name before Whom every knee shall bow,
the same I AM Who revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush,
and the raw power of His Name caused men to be struck down and fall before Him.
Today, for us, that same power still resides in Jesus’ Name.
He is still the Great I AM!)
Again He asked them, “Who is it you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He.
If you are looking for Me, then let these men go.”
This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled:
“I have not lost one of those You gave Me.”
(Always concerned for His friends, He advocated for their release,
just as He still today advocates at the Father’s right hand for our safety
and for our release from the power of sin.)
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant,
cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away!
Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given Me?”
“No more of this!” And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.
(Always concerned for those in the world who do not know and accept Him,
even in the midst of the mob attack against Him,
Jesus heals one of His actual accusers and attackers.)
"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him,
"for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
Do you think I cannot call on My Father,
and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"
(Fully in control of Himself and this situation,
Jesus chose to submit Himself to men,
intent on fulfilling His purposes for which He had entered the world.)
Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials
arrested Jesus. They bound Him . . . .
(Under arrest and bound by the sins of man,
Jesus walks away to His certain death as a Lamb led to the sacrifice
late in the night on this Maundy Thursday evening
to face the "Good" Friday of the next day,
Nissan 14, the day of the Feast of Passover,
when He would offer Himself as the Passover Lamb, as the Lamb of God,
presenting Himself as a sacrifice for sin to redeem the lost,
even as the lost around Him continue to deny Him
and even as those committed to Him will turn their backs on Him.
Not conditional on what others do with His love,
His love stands alone on the unwavering strength of God Incarnate
in Whose purposes He walks.)
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ’s love,
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