In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 1 Peter 1:6 (NIV).
Consider these words from the Apostle Peter in light of today being Maundy Thursday. They were first written by a man who was THERE that first one. Consider things from his perspective.
You’re Peter and it’s Thursday morning in Jerusalem, somewhere around AD 33 (though nobody knows it’s AD 33 because the calendar we use won’t come into existence for another 1550 years). Maybe you and Jesus hung out yesterday; maybe you just had a day with your family; nobody knows what happened that Wednesday of Holy Week. Maybe you had a day of rest because you’re going to need it. You don’t know it but the most important few days of your life – of all history – are about to take place right in front of you.
Because now it’s Thursday in AD 33 Jerusalem and it’s been a strange week in the old city. There was a long, meandering walk the last few weeks and Jesus has been teaching some pretty hefty material, some moving but radical things about forgiveness and death and the end of the world. On Sunday, you arrived in the city and it seemed like the whole city was heralding the arrival of a new king. On Monday, you and Jesus were in the temple and he was TICKED OFF, turning over tables and cleaning out all the trash who had corrupted it. The other night, you were with Jesus at dinner when one of the women came in and broke an expensive jar of perfume over Jesus’ head and He was talking about how she was preparing Him for burial. In fact, when you think about it, Jesus has been talking a LOT about dying. It’s a lot to absorb.
Now it’s Thursday and Jesus told you and John to go find a certain place and make preparations to eat the Passover meal there. Once again, you see how Jesus uses His God-given way to know exactly what is going to happen. He gives you instructions to go find a particular man who will have a room ready for you and the other eleven disciples and Jesus to have the meal. During that meal, Jesus takes the ancient rite and does something completely new with it. Afterwards, you all make your way out to a garden outside of the city…except Iscariot. Where did he go? What’s going on?
All you know is that it’s strange, and you feel you’re on the verge of something big. That something bigger than you is happening around you. And that’s all very true. And mysterious. Rejoice in it, because there has been and will be more suffering, yet the Lord has much bigger, better things in store.
For further reading: Romans 5:2, 1 Peter 1:7
Lord, let me contemplate today the beginnings of Your passion and all that happens next.