If you’re anything like me, this Thursday – Maundy Thursday – you will be at your local church, God willing, to hear again the story of the Last Supper, and Jesus’ command to Love One Another.
This week, Holy Week, is my most-cherished week of the whole year.
Look at the events that took place this week, a couple thousand years ago. It’s too easy to say that WE would not have been so sinister as to clamor for the death of Jesus. We like to think we’d be above all that – we would have fought for Him, right? We would never have shouted with the mob, “Crucify Him,” would we?
Would we have sold our knowledge of Jesus’ whereabouts, like Judas? Would we deny even knowing Jesus – three times – like Peter?
You and I may not be Judases, but we certainly are Peters. We deny Christ (as did Peter) when we fail to boldly proclaim Him as our Lord and Savior and King.
- Our friends or family members may roll their eyes – there she goes again – or they stay at arm’s length, or out of reach altogether, so they won’t be reminded of their need – everyone’s need – for a Savior. So, we don’t bring it up. Deny.
- People at work may be put off by all the “Jesus talk,” so we are quiet. Deny.
- Everyone else is talking about the latest juicy gossip, and we don’t exclude ourselves from the conversation. Deny.
- A sister or brother has never been a fan of the church, with all the rules and restrictions “those people put on you,” so we don’t invite them. Deny.
- When there is a dispute, it is SO tempting to be the one with the loudest and best argument – because if you’re the loudest, you’re the best, right? Deny.
- The only time we EVER get to relax, or sleep in, is the weekend, so we blow off church, again. Deny.
- We tell ourselves the Bible is too hard to read and understand, so no way would we ever get caught in Bible study – because we’d look like fools. Deny.
- The people at church will look down on my life, because no one there can relate to someone like me or my situation, right? Deny.
- I don’t have the right clothes to wear to church. (Oh, please!) Deny.
- Well, I don’t like so-and-so, and they go to church. Deny.
- Church is just full of hypocrites – so, I’m not going! Deny.
- Everyone at church is too old – or too young – so I wouldn’t fit in. Deny.
- They sing those old-fashioned hymns (or the songs are too contemporary), and I don’t know the words. Deny.
Peter “only” denied Jesus three times! (And Jesus was sure to let Peter know he was forgiven!)
Once upon a time, I was asked three different times by our long-ago church, to serve in some small capacity. The first two times I said, “No.” When I was asked again a THIRD time, I suddenly remembered Peter’s three denials of Jesus, and how AWFUL he felt when that happened. I said, “YES,” the third time. All I had to do was teach the ½-hour 5-year-old class for one week at Vacation Bible School. I didn’t die from it. Neither did they. (AND… the kids didn’t even suspect that it was my first time to teach VBS!)
It’s time we all quit making excuses. No one is guaranteed a tomorrow – or even a “later on today” – no matter how good you think your health is. Where will we spend the rest of our tomorrows? With God, or forever without God?
How about we think of today as the first day of the rest of our life?
How about we give up our tired old excuses (denials), and we seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness? We can always seek a nap afterwards.
Join me, and my family, this Maundy Thursday (Command Thursday), as we take one more look at the last days of Christ’s ministry on earth.
Come and hear
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28 NIV)
As much as anyone else’s, my sins were what Jesus suffered and died for. His blood, the blood of The Lamb, was shed for me. For you, too. He willingly endured the pain, the scorn, and the humiliation of the cross, taking the punishment we deserve for our sins.
Come and see. Come and thank. Come and worship.