Trust in the Face of Pain
THURSDAY Read: Matthew 26:17-56
(see also Mark 14:12-52; Luke 22:7-53; John 13-17)
The events of “Maundy Thursday”, the Thursday before Easter include:
- Preparations for the Passover meal
- Passover meal/Last Supper - Lord’s Supper instituted
- Jesus predicts Peter’s denial
- Jesus washing the disciple's feet (John 13)
- The Upper Room discourse (John 13-17)
- Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane
- The Betrayal & Arrest of Jesus (though this may have taken place after midnight, technically Friday)
Today, the weight will bring Jesus to his knees.
This night, the Thursday before Easter, Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, cries out in the Garden of Gethsemane - “Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
How heavy, how dark, how thick does sorrow and the anticipation of death have to be to drive the Son of God to his knees? Sweating drops of blood?
Jesus is now entering into the suffering for which he came. He has come to be the Passover Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But that’s much easier for us to sing about on a Sunday than it was for Jesus to carry out in real space and time on Thursday and Friday.
Consider what transpires on this day in the life of Jesus...
- He’s betrayed by one of the Twelve who shares in the Last Supper. As Jesus is breaking the bread and giving the cup, symbolizing his body & blood…the others don’t get it yet, but Jesus does. He knows fully what it represents and what’s about to go down tonight and tomorrow. This is the eve of his crucifixion.
- He’s arrested by the guards, after facing Judas one last time. The feet he just washed, run away from him, as he’s abandoned by his disciples. But that’s after they keep falling asleep on him, unable to pray for him as he enters into the darkest hour of agony in the Garden.
- He’s left alone. Except for the Father. The cup of wrath against sin is full to the brim and it’s his to drink.
Here we see our Savior. Surrendering his life. The Sacrificial Lamb, beginning his walk to the slaughterhouse. What he will endure in the next 24 hours is indescribable.
Read the words of the gospel accounts and let your imagination take you into the reality of what is happening.
What words or phrases grab you as you read it? What emotions does it stir up within you?
Stand in awe. Shed tears of grief and gratitude. Jesus surrendered to this Plan to bring you to God.
Jesus entered into this grief & sorrow so that one day he could take yours away.
Let it sink in.
In the deepest and darkest moment of Jesus’ life, he got alone, on his knees, with his Father. Let this be instructional and inspirational to you and me. No matter what you’re facing or have had to face or will ever have to face… Jesus has already gone deeper into sorrow than you’ll ever go. He can identify with the deepest valley, the darkest night, the saddest sorrow, the worst grief. And even there, He trusted. He surrendered.
This is one of the truest, deepest pictures of worship. To trust in the face of pain.
He could have called down angels. But he didn’t. The disciples fled, but Jesus stayed the course for us, trusting His Father in the face of pain.
“Father, the pain in this world is so deep, our sin was and is so costly…but I praise you, Lord, because you made a way, through Your Son Jesus for us to be saved and healed. You paid for our waywardness and our denial. You carried our grief and our sorrow. Thank you, Jesus, for your willingness to lay down your life. Thank you for giving us the reminder of your broken body and blood through the bread and cup of communion. Thank you for washing our feet and giving us the example to follow of what it looks like to serve. Thank you for teaching us to love one another and for promising to send us the Holy Spirit. Thank you for praying for us and never leaving and forsaking us, even though we left you. Lord, help us to trust you even when facing our own road of suffering, and help us spread the good news of your sacrificial love with every opportunity you give us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”