I haven’t been tuned in to Passion Week this week. I confess. Although this is the highlight of the Christian calendar, I have been busy with life and work and future plans (more on that in another post). So tonight I finally took the time to be quiet, and to read and remember what this Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) is about: blood and body. In reading Matthew’s account in chapter 26, I am struck by a few details that have escaped my notice before.
What a loaded question the disciples ask of Jesus initially: “Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?” For truly, Jesus would be preparing their Passover. And during the Passover meal, he would invite them to eat of HIM. He would call the bread his very body. And he himself would be the Lamb, giving his own blood to be “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.”
And they do not remember Jesus for long. Although in verse 35, Peter (as the spokesman for the disciples) cries out passionately, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And Matthew affirms that “all the disciples said the same.” Yet scarcely two paragraphs later, they have failed to stay awake to pray with Jesus when he needed them the most. And he is betrayed by one of them (Judas). And the action in the Garden of Gethsemane ends with the bleak commentary, “Then all the disciples left him and fled.”
I am not too different from these first disciples. I, too, claim allegiance to Jesus that is so often faltering. I forget that I need Jesus for forgiveness of sins, mine and others. I proudly proclaim things about myself that prove I am self-deceived.
Let us celebrate communion and remember this Maundy Thursday with gravity – drinking the wine and eating the bread lest we forget who we are and who Jesus came to be for us. We need the Passover lamb. And he has been given for us!
Let us remember … lest we forget.