Maundy Thursday, April 18
The Crucifixion of Jesus
“When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’
“One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”
The observance of Maundy Thursday is multifaceted. We understand this last supper of Jesus as the Passover meal that is commemorated in the Christian church as the Eucharist. It was the time when Jesus washed his disciples’ feet, teaching by example that we should love and serve each other. It was the night when Jesus identified the disciple who would betray him. And, it’s the night, while in the Garden of Gethsemane praying for strength, that Jesus was actually betrayed by Judas, arrested, and taken for trail before the Sanhedrin.
Maundy Thursday begins the final hours of our walk with Jesus through his crucifixion. We hear Jesus’ final instructions to his disciples and experience, with Jesus, the deceit of and disappointment by those closest to him. We also allow ourselves to empathize with the agony and pain caused by the torture that Jesus endured. We see the many people who mourned his impending murder as well as those who mocked his life and message.
If we, just for a few minutes, imagine a world without Jesus’ salvific work, we begin to feel the loneliness, the despair, the tremendous weight of our own unforgiven sin and buckle under its burden. We start to wallow in the inescapable emptiness of existence as we envision our lives with no Jesus of the gospels. No risen Christ. No Savior.
Jesus! Dear, Jesus! Please, Jesus! Remember me when you come into your Kingdom!
Prayer: On this Maundy Thursday, God, in the name of Jesus, forgive me for any
time that I have not understand your word, taken you for granted, or betrayed you by
my words or actions. Amen.