Today is Maundy Thursday, April 9, 2020. Peace be with you.
Three days until Resurrection Sunday.
And it suddenly hit me, this morning, that there will be no Easter egg hunts, Sunday. If everyone follows the rules, that is. At least none that involve more than a few people who live in the same house. That literally brought tears to my eyes. And I don’t even like them that much.
Another thing bringing tears to my eyes is that we decided, last night, to cancel our Glen Rose trip for next week. We just decided that it would be the best thing to do. I suppose it would be in violation of the stay-at-home orders, even though we would be completely isolated at the cabin. We are, however, going to go ahead and take the days off from work, since they are already planned and scheduled. So we will just have an extended weekend of, well, staying at home.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
A Song of Ascents.
Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
(Psalms 125:1-2 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. That You surround us, so that we cannot be moved or shaken.
2. That Your promises give me life (Psalm 119.50).
3. For the Joyner family and their heart to serve You and Your Church!
4. For the marvelous, infinite, matchless grace that You have shown Your people!
5. That You have gone to prepare a place for us and will soon come back to bring us there.
Make me understand the way of your precepts, and I will meditate on your wondrous works.
(Psalms 119:27 ESV)
Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.
(Psalms 119:49-50 ESV)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”
(John 14:1 ESV)
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, “Not all of you are clean.”
When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
(John 13:1-15 ESV)
A Maskil of Asaph.
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.
(Psalms 78:1-8 ESV)
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
(Psalms 55:17 ESV)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. May Your kingdom come, and Your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for Yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
“Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that I, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Prayer Appointed for the Week)
“Look down, O Lord, I pray, on all of us, Your Family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was content to be betrayed and to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer the torment of the Cross. Amen.”
(The Divine Hours, The Concluding Prayer of the Church)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:1-7 ESV)
“Jesus didn’t quench Thomas’s doubt by explaining where He was taking them. He simply assured His disciples that He was the way there. And that was enough.
“We too have questions about our future. None of us know the details of what lies ahead. Life is full of twists we don’t coming. That’s okay. It’s enough to know Jesus, who is ‘the way and the truth and the life’ (v. 6).
“Jesus knows what’s next. He only asks that we walk close to Him.”
(Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Bread)
There could hardly be a better word for today than this.
That passage reminds me of this song by Rich Mullins, with added vocals by a number of “ragamuffins.”
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
(Matthew 26:26 ESV)
From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
(Proverbs 18:20 ESV)
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
(Proverbs 18:24 ESV)
(From The Songs of Jesus, by Timothy and Kathy Keller)
He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved. God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the LORD amid the sounding of trumpets. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise. God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne. The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.
(Psalms 47:4-9 NIV)
“The song of the nations someday will be about how God saved the world through his grace.” He chose us because he loves us, not because there is anything special about us, or because we have great wisdom. We are “special” because He chose us.
Consequently, “as we speak to others about God, there is no place for condescension or superiority. Every last one of us has been saved by grace alone, and so shall all his people be.”
Look at the astonishing vision of that last verse. “The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham, for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.”
“Prayer: Lord, I often look at some people and think, ‘That type of person would never believe the Christian faith’–but to think that is to forget that no one is a Christian ‘type.’ The only reason I believe or anyone believes is because of a miracle of your grace. So let me tell the gospel to all with confidence and hope. Amen.”
Father, these readings, this morning, have stirred my heart more than I can say. I have spent more than half of this time with tears in my eyes. And it all started with Easter egg hunts! Father, as we approach Resurrection Sunday, I ask You to continue to work in my heart. Forgive me for the times I have had thoughts of superiority to anyone else because of my faith. You chose me because You love me. There is nothing else about me that causes me to deserve the grace that You have lavished on me and my family. That’s why it’s “grace.” Help me to show the same grace to others.
Lord, please shorten these days. Protect our families; protect our church families; protect our nation, and protect our world. We pray for this disease to end. And may we be quick to learn a valuable lesson from these days. Much of what we thought we needed, we truly don’t need. Teach us grace.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!