Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples. — Matthew 26:35
The triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The cleansing of the temple. The teaching and the miracles. All displayed their leader’s power and the faith of the disciples soared.
Now, on this Holy Thursday, came the most intimate moment of all, the Passover meal. He joined his friends, the 12 whom had answered his call, for one last meal. It would be here that the newest command would be given to all humanity — “love one another.” He showed that love by humbling himself as he washed their feet. Jesus took this moment to prepare them one last time for the testings and trials that lay just ahead. “Lord,” Peter assured Him, “I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” (Luke 22:33) Maundy Thursday isn’t just a Holy Week service, it corresponds to those times in our own lives when our faith feels shaky. Surrounded by so many proofs of His love, how could we ever doubt? And yet, just like the disciples, we do! Thursday is the most perilous day of our journey. Because when the test comes, we so often fail. Before daybreak Peter was swearing he’d never heard of Jesus. Maundy Thursday represents our failures too—the ones which swiftly follow our moments of high commitment. The times when, having made great promises, we fall on our faces. When we let God down and let ourselves down and are left with only the certainty of our own weakness. Yet strangely, Thursday also ushers in the most hopeful part of our journey. Because at last we are truly on the road to Easter. We have learned better than to place our trust in ourselves. “I tell you, Peter,” Jesus replied to Peter’s confident boast, “the cock will not crow this day, until you three times deny that you know me.” (Luke 22:34)
But He said it without condemnation, without rejection. Jesus knew that the way leads through death. Death of self-satisfaction and self-sufficiency. He knew that on the other side of Easter, Peter would find the power that never fails. Eternal salvation!
Yes, Maundy Thursday is often the day we remember the first Lord’s Supper. But it’s much more than that. It’s a love that took our sins upon himself. It’s a love that anguished in Gethsemane. It’s a love that was arrested. It’s a love that was tried, beaten, condemned, and crucified… for you.