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Maundy Thursday

“When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.  While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely not I?” “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.  The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Mark 14:17-21)

During the holy week of Easter, we celebrate Jesus’ Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. When Jews celebrated a meal like the one here with Jesus and his disciples, they followed strict protocol. The table was very low to the ground and each person would recline – feet under the table, head away from the table. They would lean back on their left elbow (the left was the unclean hand) so they could eat with the right hand.

There was also an important order to seating. The host would be in the first position. Next to him would be the most honored guest. Next to him would be the honored guest’s choice. At the other end of the table was the servant’s position. The servant was to wash the others’ feet, make sure food was prepared, and glasses filled.

At this supper, here was the order: John was the host (in order for Jesus to talk to John he’d have to lean back near his breast). Jesus was the guest of honor. Peter was at the servant’s position (A week before, Jesus had just “put Peter in charge” of the band of disciples. What better way to learn leadership than by serving?! – One of the reasons Peter protested so strongly to Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet was because it was Peter’s job and he failed to do it.).

Now, to the point of all this. The guest of honor? Judas, the “one who dips bread into the bowl with me.” Imagine…Jesus knew what treachery was afoot and still had Judas sit as his special guest in one of the most honored seats in the house. Wow! You and I fail the Lord daily – we betray him for our own wants – and he STILL treats us like treasured friends. That’s grace, my friend.

Let’s remember that this week when tempted to sin. Let’s remember it when someone treats us poorly. God always gives us better than we deserve.

Join us for prayer and Communion this Thursday morning, March 28, from 6-7 a.m.


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