On This Night, Jesus Gave Thanks
On the night in which Jesus was betrayed, He took bread, and gave thanks. Christ would face a terrible cup to bear – the cup of God’s wrath on the Cross for all of our sin.
Christ would face betrayal by His own disciple. Christ would face mockery and rejection.
On this night in which He would be betrayed into the hands of men to be crucified – to suffer as a sinner, though He had no sin – on this night, He gave thanks.
Tonight is called “Maundy” Thursday. “Maundy” comes from the Latin word, “mandatum” which means “mandate”, “command”. This is the night on which Jesus “mandated”, instituted for us, the Lord’s Supper – the Holy meal of His true body and true blood.
This is also the night on which Jesus “mandated”, commanded, what He calls the “New Command” – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
What is new about this command is that now we know the great love with which God has loved us – that He gave His own Son into death to save the ungodly [Romans 5].
Jesus, who is Lord, made Himself the servant. He washed His disciples’ feet. In the same, Jesus says, love one another. Take care of each other’s needs. Bear each other’s burdens. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Tonight is also called “Holy Thursday”. Tonight, the holy work of Christ’s sacrifice for your redemption begins.
Christ’s suffering and death on the cross is holy because it makes holy people out of sinners. You and I have no holiness in our selves. Jesus is our only holiness. His death on the cross atones for, covers, blots out for good, all sin, guilt, and condemnation.
By His atoning death on the cross, sinners are made holy to God. Forgiven. Renewed for love.
The holy work of Christ which begun this night began with wicked betrayal and an evil kiss. Judas made a pact to sell his Lord for thirty pieces of silver – the price of a slave.
Jesus, who came to serve by giving His life as a ransom for many, endured this betrayal for you.
The events of salvation begin to unfold this night. In the end of it all, it is finished – your redemption is won. Now what is there left to do but to truly love each other with that love with which you have been loved.
On this night when our Lord was betrayed, we give thanks that He was willing to endure such things for the likes of us. Thanks be to God and to His Son, our Lord. Amen.