And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. Luke 22:15 ESV
Maundy Thursday is the somewhat overlooked day of Easter Week. But for Jesus this was the crucial time to prepare His disciples for His departure. At the Last Supper Jesus gave the New Covenant to both His friends and through them to us who are believers today. Every time we take communion in our various churches we continue to remember His death and atonement as people have done for 2,000 years.
At the Last Supper Jesus gave not only a New Covenant but He also set the example for a new lifestyle. While those we consider saints today were arguing over who was the most important, Jesus went and filled a basin with water and began to wash their feet.
When supper was finished Jesus led His eleven faithful disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. There He fully and finally accepted His coming death on the cross. There He woke them again and again and urged them to pray also until Judas came with the soldiers. And then the hour had come for His sacrifice. Even when everyone ran away, Jesus stayed behind, accepting the cost of our salvation. He was the Lamb of God and this gift of His body and blood we are remembering today because it means the redemption of us all!
For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21 KJV
It is interesting that Saint Patrick’s Day is in the middle of Lent, because he shows us that we need both the joy of salvation and the courage of faith to fully live for Christ. It is well known that Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland, but did you know that Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland was actually from either England or Scotland? In fact, young Patrick’s first trip to Ireland happened when he was kidnapped by a raiding party and sold as a house slave in Ireland. Patrick soon escaped his masters and was directed by a dream to a ship that just happened to be ready to sail for England. Eventually Patrick made it safely back home, but strangely enough, he soon found, God stirring his heart about the needs of the Irish people. Though Patrick struggled over the decision for months, but He finally decided that it would be better to die doing what God had called him to, than to live a safe and empty life. Saint Patrick went on to bravely bring the message of Jesus to Ireland, even converting its pagan king to Christianity. Yes, he lived an amazing life, but I believe that God has a special purpose for every one of us as well and in this season of Lent what better thing could we do than to live fully just as Patrick did for the love of Jesus Christ?
I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me; God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me afar and near, alone or in a multitude.” Saint Patrick
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 KJV
So you might ask, “What exactly is Lent? Great question! Well, in general, Lent is the time from Ash Wednesday until either the Wednesday before Easter, Holy Saturday or Easter Sunday depending on what tradition you follow. You also might wonder why, since there is no record of anyone in the Bible observing this roughly 40-day period, why should we? For starters, it is never a bad idea to set aside special times for seeking God’s will and purpose. We call it, “Waiting on the Lord” and waiting comes with God’s promise of strength and renewal. Some people may choose to fast certain foods or commit to special acts of service, during these weeks. However, you choose to honor the season, the most important thing of all is to focus on Jesus. For me personally it brings me back to the excitement of my first months of faith in Jesus (Which just happened to be on Easter Sunday!) I come to each morning’s quiet time with an open-heart asking Jesus for a brand-new insight into His word and for His will for that day. Instead of racing ahead or lagging behind in my devotional readings I need to slow down so I can hear what God is saying. Walking with Jesus will lead us along the path that He has chosen. Following the path, He chooses will bring us to His destination for our life. My prayer is that during these weeks of Lent we will see with fresh eyes the miracles of Jesus, the table of His Last Supper, the Cross, the empty grave and most of all our Risen Lord!