Evening Devotion for April 9, 2020
Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday)
This lovely and simple Russian Orthodox treatment emphasizes the betrayal of Judas, who faces away from Christ, bag of silver in his hand.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Maundy or Holy Thursday is traditionally the day when we remember the Last Supper and the formal beginning of the New Covenant. This lovely modern song is performed by "Shira", a Messianic (Christian) Jew.
Prayer of Praise for the Evening
When the sun is setting, when quietness falls like the peace of eternal sleep, and the silence of the spent day reigns, then in the splendour of its declining rays, filtering through the clouds, I see your dwelling-place: fiery and purple, gold and blue, they speak prophet-like of the ineffable beauty of your presence, and call to me in their majesty. I turn to you in the evening, to remember your majesty.
Glory to you at the hushed hour of nightfall; Glory to you for covering the earth with peace; Glory to you for the last ray of the sun as it sets; and Glory to you for sleep's repose that restores us and for your pledge of our reawakening. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Freedom from Fear
O Lord, I beseech you to deliver me, and all of your children, from the fear of the unknown future; from fear of failure; from fear of poverty; from fear of bereavement; from fear of loneliness; from fear of sickness and pain; from fear of age; from fear of death. Help us, O Father, by your grace to love and fear only you, and fill our hearts with cheerful courage and loving trust in you; through our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.
I pray that I may be blessed every step of my path this day by the great God of light. May your sun shine upon me; as the moon moves the tide, may your Spirit move my emotions with every grace and magic; may my heart sing with the voice of your angels and my hearth be warm; and may this and every blessed day You have given me be filled with joy.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 59:9-10 (ESV)
O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
John 13:1-11 (NASB)
The Lord’s Supper
ow before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come forth from God and was going back to God, got up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.
Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”
Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.”
Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.” For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”
Notes on the Scripture
At the end of John 12, Christ told his followers that he had not come to judge the world, but to save it. Here, he demonstrates physically that his mission is one of love rather than one of judgment. God has humbled himself to be born into the world; and now Christ humbles himself, out of love, to wash the feet of Peter.
The act is similar to baptism but, literally, at the opposite end of the spectrum. When John the Baptist baptized Christ (and when many denominations baptize members), the symbolic cleansing water was poured onto the top of his head. This was purely a spiritual cleansing. It symbolized of the Holy Spirit entering the soul.
But Peter has already been baptized. He is completely clean, except for the dust of the road he has picked up by leading his daily life. Just so, we are spiritually bathed when we are baptized. But we are still human and need Christ to remove the soil we have collected during the day. That is, we need to confess our recent sins. Christ points this out, saying “he who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.”
The head symbolizes the mind or the soul, and the feet, the most humble and practical nature of our bodies. No matter how clean we have become, our bodies — our feet — will become contaminated by our sin — the “dirt” of daily life. To stay spotless, we must remember our sins and ask for forgiveness each day, just as we clean our bodies; for Christ is not only willing to shrive us of our daily sins, but also eager: He requires Peter to allow Him to wash his feet if Peter wants to have “part” with Him.