Maundy Thursday

Matthew 26:1-75 or Mark 14:1-72 or Luke 22:1-71 or John 13:1-38; 14:1-31; 15:1-27; 16:1-33; 17:1-26; 18:1-27; Psalm 89

Jesus’ Own View of His Glory: The Cross

And the moment that the world has waited for has finally come.  Or, in Jesus’ own words, “The hour has come” (John 12:23), and in another place, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31).  We might say that there have been four great events in world history: Creation, the Birth of Christ, his Passion & Resurrection, and his Second Coming.  Of course, the last event awaits its time.

I’m really at a loss for words.  How can one do justice to Holy Scripture at this point?  It seems all one can do is bow down.  Why does the King of the universe see fit to do all this for me?  Why does the Uncreated One think a lowly creature like me worthy of all this trouble?  Why does the Eternal One bother with one whose life is but a breath?  Why does the Sinless One take my sins upon Himself?  It seems like such a waste, like a man throwing his life away for a worm.  What have I that God wants?  Why should he sweat drops of blood and agonize for me?

Jesus says much in the passage we quoted above: “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.”  In some mysterious way, Jesus saw his passion as his glory.  What we see as indescribable shame and agony, he calls his glory.  God is glorified by taking upon Himself our shame; God is exalted by taking upon Himself our humble state; God shows His omnipotence by taking upon Himself our weakness.  And God shows His infinite grace and mercy by taking upon Himself our sin.  This is His glory: The glory of the cross, for we follow, and are disciples of, a crucified Lord.  And now He calls us to live crucified lives (Mark 8:34; Galatians 6:14).

This is the meaning of his washing the disciples’ feet, of his refusal to stop Judas’ treachery, of his resignation to the Father’s will in Gethsemane, of his forgiveness of the disciples’ abandonment of himself in his greatest hour of need, of his remaining on the cross while his enemies taunted him to come down rather than calling twelve legions of angels to his rescue, and of his prayer, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.”  The list could go on.  It was and is his glory to do all of this for us.  The Apostle Paul later claimed such crucified living as his own (2 Corinthians 12:10; Galatians 2:20).  And if we will be his disciples, we must do the same.  His glory was the cross.  What is ours?

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