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Rejoicing in the Face of Death

Much occurred on the last Thursday of the Lord's life here on earth.

~The Last Meal Together
Jesus gave specific instructions to Peter and John as to how they were to prepare for the last supper He would have with the disciples. He greeted each of the disciples, including Judas His betrayer, with a kiss of peace as they entered the door of the upper room. Jesus sat around a table with the twelve men who had followed Him faithfully during His earthly ministry. I just imagine they laughed some, shared stories of all they had been through together, and tried their best to understand what was about to happen. Be it a strategic gesture or not, Jesus had Judas sit at His left side which was a place of honor. Was this one last chance for Judas to repent and pledge his undying allegiance to God's precious Son? I would like to think it was.

~Jesus Washed the Feet of the Disciples
At first the disciples wanted nothing to do with Jesus washing their feet. The washing of another's feet was normally done by the lowliest of servants. The disciples would probably have jumped at the opportunity to wash the feet of Jesus, but never in their wildest dreams would they have imagined Jesus washing their feet. This act on the part of Jesus displayed to them His humility and servant's heart. Not only was this a physical act, but it was also symbolic. Jesus washing the feet of His disciples symbolized to them that unless a person be washed and cleansed by the Living Water of life he can have no part in the kingdom of heaven.

~The Institution of the Lord's Supper
The broken bread would be a reminder to the disciples and all Christians of the broken body of Christ. The body of Christ was broken and given as payment for the sins of all mankind. The cup would be a reminder of the blood of Christ that was spilled out for the remission of your sins and mine. It was the blood of the new covenant. Covenants were ratified by the shedding of blood (Exodus 24:8) and the covenant of salvation that Christ was making with believers to come would be authenticated by the blood that would be poured out from His body.

~The Disciples Argue Over Who is the Greatest
Once again Jesus had to settle a dispute among His disciples as to who was the "greatest" among them. All those in the Kingdom of God are important and all have specific roles. These remaining eleven disciples who had walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry would later on be pivotal players in the growth of the church.

Through all the happenings of this day and the inevitable arrest of Jesus that was soon to come, Jesus closed this last supper with His disciples in song (Matthew 26:30). Scholars believe that most likely the hymn they raised their voices in unison to sing was Psalm 118. Today I leave you with those words; and as you read them imagine our Lord and His disciples singing praises to the God above as He faced rejection, great suffering, and death.

1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2) Let Israel say: "His love endures forever."
3) Let the house of Aaron say:
"His love endures forever."
4) Let those who fear the LORD say:
"His love endures forever."
5) In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.
6) The LORD is with me;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
7) The LORD is with me;
he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10) All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
11) They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
12) They swarmed around me like bees,
but they died out as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
13) I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.
14) The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
15) Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
16) The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
17) I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18) The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19) Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20) This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
21) I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22) The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
23) the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24) This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25) O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
27) The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
28) You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1-29, NIV


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