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Maundy Thursday

April 5, 2007

Today was Maundy Thursday. This is when the church remembers Jesus’ institution of the Lord’s Supper, as well as the betrayal by Judas. My church had a special service tonight that was centered around a feast. We still had a traditional service, except that it took place in the dining hall and there was a special time right before the sermon when the men served the meal to the rest of the congregation. Everyone ate (lasagna!) while the pastor preached. The mood was festive but reflective. On the one hand we were celebrating the fact that Christ bestows grace upon His church through His body and blood, while on the other hand we were remembering that our Savior was betrayed on this same night – a preview of the grief that exemplifies tomorrow’s (Good Friday) service.

Even though the Lord’s Supper and the betrayal of Jesus don’t seem to have much in common – other than occurring on the same night – there is something that links the two……service. Service is what Jesus did when He washed the disciples feet after eating with them. Service is what the church is called to do after being fed by her Savior. Jesus washed His disciples clean and then sent them out to make disciples. He does the same to us. Usually, at this point, the discussion would turn to the mode of service – just what does it mean to serve? This is a legitimate question, and there are many answers, but I think even more importantly, the context of the story tells us who we should serve.

I think it is important that the story of Judas’ betrayal occurs after the Passover Feast and after the foot washing. Jesus knew He would be betrayed, but He did not allow Judas to leave until after he had fed him and served him. Jesus fed and washed His enemy. He calls us to do the same. This is why He has saved us. This is why He cleanses us. This is why He feeds us His body and feeds us with the Word. He makes us clean, strengthens our bodies, then arms us to go and make disciples. Sometimes this means having and raising godly children, and sometimes this means becoming a missionary in an Arab country. If there’s ever any question to the limits of our service, we look to the limits of Jesus’ service.

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