Maundy Thursday- the night of preparation and sorrow.
Maundy Thursday marks many sad moments. As Jesus and the Twelve share the Passover meal, Judas turns away. He has already agreed to betray Jesus. Now he leaves the gathering- as John 13:30 records poignantly– “and it was night.”
Judas went into literal darkness and into spiritual desolation. It was night.
For Jesus too- after the meal they go out to the Garden of Gethsemane. In the darkness of night, the Light of the World tends to the dread of what is to come. Jesus goes into the night… and we should not minimise the pain and sorrow in his heart. His humanity must not be undervalued.
The terror and horror of the Cross stands in front of Him. The first nail was betrayal by Judas. Now Jesus wrestles in prayer, preparing Himself. The Eleven cannot stay awake- not even Peter, James & John– Jesus is alone. The submission to His heavenly Father’s Will is costly- sweat “like drops of blood” is a testimony to the suffering.
Armed guards arrive to arrest Jesus, and He is taken for trial by both Jewish and Roman authorities. The night seemed endless- but before the dawn, there is one more sharp nail to be driven home.
Peter, who had boasted he would NEVER deny Jesus, is brave enough to go to the palace courtyard- but not brave enough to hold firm when challenged. Three times Peter is asked to identify with Jesus- and he denies Him. “I do not know the man.”
The flickering light of the fire illuminates the distraught face of Peter as he hears the rooster crow. The day of desperation dawns.
Peter went out into the darkness in tears.
This night is an opportunity to reflect on our own promises to Christ; to repent from our sins; and to remember the love of Jesus who faced whip, thorns, and nails for the sake of the world.
Reflect. Repent. Remember.