Today is Maundy Thursday.
Maundy Thursday is a way for us to enter into Jesus’ invitation to eat the Passover meal with him. Jesus knew that it was a strategic time for himself and his disciples as Passover is the meal where the Israelites remember how God saved them from slavery in Egypt when they put the blood of the sacrificed lamb on their doorposts.
Jesus knew that he was to become the Sacrificial Lamb; his purpose for coming to earth. He knew the time was soon, but one last experience needed to take place before he fulfilled his purpose as the Lamb of God.
It was to be with his disciples. He invited them into the Passover meal, telling them when it began that “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins” (Luke 22:15).
Do you hear the invitation?
Jesus told his disciples how much he wants to be with them. He invited them into the experience through their relationship together. He did not say, “I need to go away from you so that I can suffer,” but he invited them to celebrate before they entered into the suffering.
Jesus does the same with us.
He is saying to you and to me and to all those that follow him, “I want to spend this time with you. I want to be with you. You bring me comfort.”
Have you ever considered this?
You bring Jesus’ comfort through your willingness to be with him, to make room for him in your day, to your willingness to journey to the cross with him?
We often invite Jesus to be with us in our places of need: probably our biggest prayers come with that desire.
But, our relationship with Jesus is not one sided.
It’s mutual. He desires to have our presence in his time of need.
After the meal is over, Jesus invites his disciples to come to the Garden of Gethsemane to be present, once again, as he agonizes over his sacrifice. He tells Peter, James, and John to “Sit here while I go and pray. My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Mark 14).
Do you hear it?
Jesus says, “I need you, I want your presence with me. Be with me, you are the ones who matter so much that you will bring me comfort in my agony.”
As I write this, I feel a sense of inadequacy in being that present for Jesus. The disciples must have too because Luke tells us that they couldn’t keep their eyes open and they didn’t know what to say. We learn from those that suffer that even beyond our words, however, is the power of presence and how that makes a difference.
We have the opportunity to be present with Jesus this year as we remember his suffering and sacrifice. Take some time to “be with Jesus.” Do it individually as you set apart time to think about Jesus and his journey to the cross. Offer yourself to be his companion in the journey. Make this your highest priority for Holy Week and you will experience the privilege of living life with Jesus.