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Thursday of Holy Week is called Maundy Thurday. Maundy means “mandate” and is a reference to the new commandment Jesus have his disciples while at table with them:

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
John 13:34, 35 NLT

This is also the night on which the first Communion (Lord’s Supper, Eucharist) was celebrated. It was the night during which Judas lead the chief priests to the garden of Gethsemane an betrayed Jesus with a kiss. It was during this night that Jesus healed the soldier’s ear. And it was during this night that Peter denied Christ three times.

These stories are so well known to me. And every year they bring me to tears. I believe it was all part of God’s plan from the beginning. I believe it all had to happen exactly as it did. I believe Jesus knew exactly what he would face in the final days of his life. And I believe he went there willingly, out of his deep love for humanity.

Still, it breaks my heart that his pain and suffering was necessary. And it continues to be necessary because of me…because of us.

This is a tough night for me each year, in my walk of faith, and tomorrow will be even more difficult. But you can’t get to the salvation am celebration of Easter without walking through the dark and difficult days leading up to it. And there are things to be learned on a dark night like this. Not the least of which is how very thankful I am that Jesus went there for me, and for you.

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