On Wednesday of Holy Week, the Jewish leaders retreat, having been silenced by Jesus on Tuesday in the temple. They avoid confrontation. The Bible focuses less on Jesus and more on the dark conspiracy taking shape behind closed doors.
The high priest, Caiaphas, calls the leaders to his residence and behind closed doors they hatch the scheme to kill Jesus. The pieces start coming together. And a traitor from the inside seals the deal. Judas. Historically, the church has sometimes referred to this day as “Spy Wednesday.” Scripture references Matthew 26:3-16; Mark 14:1-2; Luke 21:37-38, 22:1-2.
Maundy Thursday—from the Latin word for “command,” the word “Maundy” brings to mind the new command that Jesus gave his disciples. It was new because he was implementing a new extreme of suffering, dying love. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34,35).
He spoke those words behind closed doors, in the upper room. There he washed his disciples’ feet, instituted Holy Communion, and reached out to his betrayer, Judas, asking if he really wanted to do this. Judas fled.
Jesus left with his remaining disciples, and prayed in Gethsemane, seeking still to retreat and gain strength for what was to come. And it came. Judas showed up with the solders and they arrested Jesus, but not without first being knocked off their feet when he told them that he is God. Scripture references Matthew 26:17-46; Mark 14:12-42; Luke 22:7-46; John 13:1-17:26.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, when I want to hide my sins behind closed doors, open those doors. Save me, and forgive me with the words of love you enacted behind closed doors: “I have loved you.” Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Have you tuned in to our CrossLife Sunday messages? I recently preached about the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, based on John 18:1-11. Read those words, and then watch the video. I’d love to tell you more about these three men—Judas, Peter and Jesus—each of them receiving a strange gift from God. https://youtu.be/DV2SqvrDd2Y