Maundy Thursday: The Day Before Jesus Died By Adam Miller

Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-50; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-1

It is interesting to note how Jesus spent His final day with His disciples. This would have been a traditional day during the Passover week when the people of Israel would have gathered together to remember how God had provided salvation for them from slavery in Egypt. The details of this story shout off of the pages for those of us looking back into these events with Jesus and His disciples, but it was not so clear to anyone else at that time.

There are so many details to cover in this text that I simply want to rush ahead to the scene at the Garden of Gethse­mane. After washing His disciples’ feet, sharing the Pass-over meal with them, and praying over them for their safety, Jesus travels out to a garden to pray for Himself. All He asks is that His disciples watch and pray with Him, but they do not recognize the importance of the time and they quickly fall asleep. Three times Jesus returns to them, but they do not seem to understand the importance of His request.

What is still very difficult for us to understand is the amount of suffering that Jesus was going through in this moment. Yes, Jesus was fully God, but He was also fully man, and it is in His humanity that He was crying out to His heavenly Father in agony, knowing that there was no other way to save mankind. Luke tells us that an angel came to strengthen His spirit (Luke 22:43), but there was no earthly comfort for His flesh. There would be no relief for the physi­cal suffering that Jesus would have to face. He would feel every blow, every thorn, and every muscle ache as He gasped for air.

Let us not think for a moment that we could rise above the level of the disciples. No one could comfort Jesus during this time. He had to face our penalty on His own. This lonely road was necessary because there was no one who could walk with Him. So instead of looking down on the disciples for failing to grasp the gravity of what was happening, let us instead take this somber time to reflect on why Jesus had to suffer alone.

Just as Jesus asked the disciples to watch and pray with Him, let us take this day to truly reflect on the details of these events leading up to the cross and pray to our heav­enly Father in gratitude that He made a way through His Son for us to be saved when there was no other way.