Maundy Thursday Meditation
Rev. Glenn G. Grant
Kirkridge Presbyterian Church
Transcription from April 14, 2022
Sermon transcription is automatically generated. Please forgive any grammatical errors.
“See, my servant shall prosper. He shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him. So marred was his appearance beyond human semblance and his form beyond that of mortals. So, he shall startle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him. For that, which had not been told them, they shall see, and that which they had not heard, they shall contemplate.”
This prophecy from Isaiah lifts up… This is what is frequently referred to as the suffering servant passage. And it talks about the coming Messiah being lifted up, but yet being so marred that he is not recognized. But the important part of all of this, isn't that part of the prophecy so much as what says, so he shall startle many nations and Kings shall shut their mouth because of him for fear that which had not been told him, they shall see and that, which they had not heard, they shall contemplate.
We hear all kinds of things from our leaders and sometimes they just need to learn to shut their mouths and listen.
So he shall startle many nations. Can we just imagine what would it be like? And if we would be startled by anything anymore, but what it would be like if Jesus were to suddenly appear among us today?
Would we just pass him off as another raving lunatic street person? Or would it startle us to such a point that we would wonder about things, which we had not been told and things which we had not heard? Would there be something about him? Often when Jesus appeared to people, at first, they didn't know what to make of him, and it had to think about it.
And I'm sure that when Jesus made that final trip, first of all, starting in Bethany and Bethpage and starting down that road, through the Kidron valley and up into the city of Jerusalem and he comes into Jerusalem and goes into the temple. I'm sure the people that were there didn't know quite what to make of this person who just came in and started turning over the tables of the money changers and the folks that were selling the animals for sacrifice at great profit and at great expense for those who were required to have them.
I'm not sure that the leaders of the temple really knew what they were dealing with. There was this person here that had this aura of power around them that they could not explain. It was something that they have not heard of. It wasn't what they thought the scriptures talked about when they talked about the Messiah.
And it certainly wasn't what anybody thought about, as far as the Messiah was concerned, when Jesus told his disciples that he must be killed for their sake. And I can really be sure that they did not understand what was going on, who this person really was. When in that upper room, Jesus took the bread and the cup and said, this is my body this is my blood given for you.
They had nothing to base their understanding on this was not the way things were done. They certainly didn't understand the whole idea of the fact that he was giving them something to eat saying, this is my body, especially not since his physical body was right there. So when we come up to this season, each year, we have this tendency to think we know what we are in for. We know that the choir are going to have wonderful music for Maundy Thursday and our community Good Friday service and Easter, of course. We know that there's going to be palms for Palm Sunday and if Glenn’s around, probably a garden for Maundy Thursday, and remains to be seen for Easter. But there are certain things, you know, are going to be here. We're going to have white, we're going to have flowers, but do we really know what to expect for Easter?
We know what goes along with the season. And if you don't know, walk into Walmart, and you'll see a whole row of Easter baskets and candy and goodies, trying to get you to buy things for the kids.
And you'll see pots of flowers that are maybe they're in bloom because it's later in the season, maybe they're not, but you know, there'll be tulips and there'll be daffodils and there'll be Easter lilies, and there'll be hyacinths. I walked around the other side of the store so I can breathe. But as part of what we know is going to be there for Easter, but do we know what to expect from Easter?
Do we know what to expect from Good Friday? Do we know what to expect from Maundy Thursday? We know we are to gather; we know we're going to read through the scriptures. You probably have guessed that we're going to get darker as the service goes on, just as the scriptures get darker as the service goes on. But the reality of what is going to happen in our Maundy Thursday process here is that we are going to have time to think about what it means for each and every one of us on an individual basis.
This is the Lords Table, and when we gather here, we gather as the Christ, the body of Christ in this world today, and all who believe are welcomed at this table. Let us pray...
Gracious and heavenly father, as we gathered here this evening, we know that you are among us. We pray that folks around the world would know your presence. And we remember all of those who have gone before us this evening from Abraham, who first recognized you as the one and only God, through Moses who led your people through the wilderness.
And yet we keep trying to go back to the wilderness. Through the prophets who constantly call your people to come back and return to you in a right relationship. And we still need profits. To the followers of Jesus who witnessed his life and ministry for three years and still didn't fully comprehend.
And yet, they came to be your messengers your profits, your leaders from that time forward. And so, as we gather around this table, we remember that we gather with the saints throughout the ages, and as we take the bread and the cup, we are at one with them in Christ's name, we pray, amen.