Thursday night of Passion Week was some evening! Consider the events:
- Jesus institutes the New Covenant (what we minimize with the title “The Last Supper”)
- Jesus washes the feet of the disciples (even [and just the feet of] Peter)
- Jesus announces that He will be betrayed
- Jesus foretells Peter’s denial
- Jesus’ Upper Room Discourse
- Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
- Jesus’ agony in the garden
- Jesus’ arrest by the Romans
See what I mean?! We often criticize the disciples for running away after the Romans arrested Jesus (Mk. 14:50). But consider what they had just experienced. They must have been numb in the garden! Think of the questions–either stated or unstated.
“This New Covenant will be ratified with Jesus’ blood? Jesus washed our feet? When will we wash one another’s feet? Judas betrayed Jesus? Judas betrayed Jesus! Peter is going to deny Jesus? Peter?! Jesus will do anything for us if we pray in His name? When will the Holy Spirit come? He will live in us? He will live in us?! What fruit does Jesus expect us to bear? What will the world do to us? WOW–did you hear His prayer?! He prayed for us! What happens next? Will the Romans really crucify Him? Will God really raise Him from the dead like He did to Lazarus?”
They must have been reeling!
But consider the night now from Jesus’ perspective.
- He joyfully commences the New Covenant
- He humbles the disciples as He portays geunine humility
- He experiences deep emotion as he set in motion His betrayal by a friend, Judas
- He announces to another friend, a dear friend, that he will–indeed–deny Him
- He encourages and exhorts His disciples for several hours
- He prays–from the heart–for Himself, for His disciples, for all who would believe
- He agonizes in the garden, feeling the weight of imputed sin and His impending death
- He again finds His disciples asleep, feeling intensely isolated as the Roman cohort begins their ascent
- He reveals His true identity as I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
- He allows the Romans–an empire He raised up–to arrest Him
And the passion began in earnest. It would be a very difficult 24 hours–perhaps the hardest day any human being would ever experience. Without what was to come–the resurrection and the ascension– the events of Thursday night would truly be a tragedy.
But they aren’t part of a tragedy. This story is an epic with a Conquering Hero! As the events in the upper room and the garden illustrate, Jesus proved He was in complete control of what was transpiring. Nothing was taking Him by surprise.
Celebrate His sovereignty tonight. Be grateful that Jesus willingly, eagerly, yea, even joyfully (Heb.12) orchestrated and endured this amazing evening.
“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…” (Jn. 13:3)