Maundy Thursday Reflections: 13/04/17 by the Rev’d David Browne Exodus 12:1-4,11-14; Matthew 26:17-25; John13:1-17; Matthew 27:26-29

Movement 1 \\ Exodus 12:1-4, 11-14; Matthew 26:17-25 Freedom - Rescuer 3500 years ago, a million slaves walked into freedom •

The Israelites, a people born into slavery escaped from the clutches of the most powerful empire the world had ever know, Egypt.

The people of Israel travelled to a land they had been promised long ago, by God.

He had told them that on the night before their liberation they should eat a hasty meal.

With sandals on their feet, they were to eat bread made in haste without yeast, prepared to flee at any moment.

They were to kill a lamb and share it with their family, then taking the blood of the lamb they were to draw an ark of blood across their doorposts.


The angel of death passed-over anyone who in Egypt who had this sign over their house, the blood of the lamb brought life. Memory - Meal The people of Israel remembered this rescue once a year at Passover. • From childhood the annual Passover festival passed on the memory of what God had done to free his people and bring them into his promised land. • They remembered how death had passed over them and they had passed from slavery into freedom. • The memory of the escape, the exodus from slavery, burned bright in the people and reminded them of the goodness of their God.

Fifteen hundred years after this escape the Jewish people were oppressed once again.


Again they cried out to the God of freedom and hope but it seemed as if their calls fell on deaf ears.

It is in this climate that a wandering teacher gathers a group of followers and shares this simple meal with them.

This Jesus had spoken of the Kingdom of God as if it were a reality that could be grasped and had brought healing, hope and freedom with him wherever he went.

Could this be the one they’d been waiting for or was their failing memory deceiving them?

Could Jesus be the rescuer God had promised or would he come and go like others before him?

Could this passover by the ultimate rescue or would it come and go like Passovers past? 
 Betrayal - Is he our rescuer?

The atmosphere of optimism was soon broken in the room as Jesus spoke of his betrayal. •

“One of you will betray me.” 4

He says. “Surely not I Lord?”.

Their hopes are dashed.

Betrayal, wasn’t this our hope, our redemption our promised saviour?

Wasn’t our teacher meant to reign as King forever and ever?

He will be betrayed by a friend, one who sat with him as he dined that night had already put plans in place to hand him over to his enemies.

“me, Rabbi?”, says Judas.

“You have said so” comes the reply.

Little did the disciples know that God would use this betrayal to bring about the greatest rescue ever.

Little did they know that Jesus was about to become the ultimate passover lamb, freeing them not only from slavery and death in Egypt but slavery to sin and death itself.


Tonight we gather to recall Jesus’ betrayal. Tonight we gather to remember the punishment that brought us peace. Tonight we gather to remember the greatest Passover that ever was.

Movement 2\\ John 13:1-17 Washing That night Jesus shared his final passover meal with his friends. •

At meals like this servants would take water and a towel and wash the feet of the diners to refresh them and clean them.

The dusty streets of any Jewish town were filled with mud, human and animal waste and rubbish.

It would have been an uplifting sensation to have your feet washed.


But on this night as Jesus remembered the time when the people of Israel passed through the Red Sea and walked on dry land into freedom from Egypt it was no servant who did the foot washing. •

The Creators hands which fashioned our world, the rough carpenters hands which had healed so many, now washed the disciples feet and dried them with a towel.

These gentle hands which were about to be pierced for our forgiveness were turning pride a humility upside down in one simple act. Humility

Peter could not accept this. •

You shall never wash my feet.

The Lord responded with compassion and love:

“ unless I wash you, you have no part in me.”

“Wash my whole body then Lord!”

“No your feet will do my friend.”

Alongside brash Peter, Jesus washed even Judas, his betrayers’, feet, slowly and gently turning the world upside down, and exposing pride for what it is. 7

“You call me teacher and Lord” and this is true but do you understand what I have done for you? •

As Jesus humbled himself to wash his disciples feet, as Jesus gave up his status to come down from heaven to live for us as a man

so we can humble ourselves to serve one another.

As the Lord of the universe has served us and washed us clean, now he shows us that we are blessed if we do the same.

This one act of humility shames the principles our world operates by and breathes new life into the way we can love the world too.

Love Today is called Maundy Thursday, a name derived from the Latin for: New Commandment •

We are celebrating New Commandment Thursday 8

After washing their feet Jesus said: A new commandment I give unto you that you love one another as I have loved you.

By this shall all men know that you are my disciples.

Friends: we have the best reason for serving and caring for one another: Jesus Christ himself

We love, because he loves and laid his life down for us

As we remember Jesus example of divine love and marvel at his humility let’s reflect on the wondrous love of the King of Kings who washes feet.


Movement 3\\ Matthew 27:26-29 Irony Jesus Barrabas was a terrorist and thug. •

He’d been responsible for the deaths of many at the hands of a failed rebellion which he lead.

Imagine the contrast as Jesus Barrabas and Jesus of Nazareth stood side by side.

The one a terrorist, soldier and killer and the other a wandering preacher who shared forgiveness, humility and peace.

Ironic, isn’t it, how the mob always favours the charismatic fool over the prince of peace?

Ironic, isn’t it, how the crowds will always bay for blood when a single voice challenges the ways things are?

Ironic, isn’t it, how we hate the one who holds a mirror to our souls and wish to end them before we come to our senses?


Mockery They say imitation is sincerest form of flattery but mockery is something altogether different. •

The mocker mars the image of the one their trying to shame and strips their victim of dignity.

The soldiers mocked Jesus as they beat him with a cat of nine tails, a whip made of leather, stones, shards, and bone.

The skin was ripped from his back as blood dripped down his legs.

The Roman soldiers, experts in torture,

lead Jesus into the safety of their Praetorium, their common room, and stripped him bare,

They put a mock royal red robe on his bleeding back and pressed a crown of sharp thorns into his skull,

and putting a fake royal staff in his hand they pretended to honour him. 11

The irony of the mockery is two-fold. •

Jesus is the suffering servant.

The ones who sought to mock him mistake his humility and love for powerlessness and foolishness but his suffering was not outside of his control.

Jesus is also the King of kings and Lord of lord’s.

No manor of mockery can overcome this and even those who mocked him will eventually see their error. King One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is not only King of the Jews but is also Lord, to the glory of God the father. •

For now we remember the body that was broken for us, and the blood that covers us free. 12

Hail King of the Jews, Hail Jesus our King. Movement 4//Matthew 26:36-42 Watch The garden of gethsemane was Jesus’ favourite place to withdraw and pray. •

It was also an intimate place where he spoke with his father and prayed with his friends.

The disciples were weary and worn after a long day and a harrowing night but Jesus request was that they watch and pray.

They cannot watch, they cannot pray instead they fall asleep and Jesus returns in dismay.

In his darkest hour his friends fail to stay with him and watch for him. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. 13

Cup As he prays face down to the ground and his heart in his throat the saviour of the world asks for a lifeline. •

“Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me”,

he knows what must happen, he realises what he must do but the pain and the agony seem too much to bear.

The cup of wrath which should have been ours now sits at Jesus lips ready for him to drink deep.

Will he give up like his slumbering friends of will he bear the cross on my behalf? Will The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak the disciples cannot stay awake. 14

But Jesus earnestly seeks the will to go on and he cries out in agony to the Father from the Son. “May your will be done!”.

Isaiah saw it centuries before “it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.” (Isaiah 53:10). •

It was the Lord’s will from time immemorial to bring us redemption and freedom and grace.

As the man of sorrows looked to the heavens the will of the Lord became clear.

He’s the ultimate rescuer, he’s the ultimate servant, the ultimate King and he is willing to lay down his life for us, are we willing to live for him? Tonight we can respond to Jesus We can see the rescue that God has made possible and embrace it We can see the suffering servant and allow him to wash us clean We can see the prince of peace and make him King of our lives And we can see that at Easter God’s will was done, and align our hearts with his good will and purpose. 15

Death by love is the way of the Lord and in turn God’s love will triumph over all.


Maundy Thursday Reflection A4

“One of you will betray me.” 4 ... He will be betrayed by a friend, one who sat with him as he dined that night had already put plans in .... love will triumph over all.

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