As the sun began to set on that fateful evening, Jesus gathered his disciples together for a final meal. As they reclined at the table, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, saying, "This is my body, given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19 NLT) He then took a cup of wine, gave thanks, and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you." (Luke 22:20 NLT)
The disciples were initially confused by Jesus' words, but as the events of the coming days unfolded, they would come to understand their significance. As they ate and drank together, Jesus also revealed that one of them would betray him. Judas, who had already made a deal with the religious leaders to hand Jesus over, was identified as the one who would betray him.
Despite this ominous revelation, Jesus continued to teach and comfort his disciples, telling them that he would soon be leaving them but that they would not be alone. "But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you." (John 14:26 NLT)
After the meal, Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Jesus knew what lay ahead of him, and he was filled with sorrow and anguish. "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death," he told his disciples. "Stay here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:38 NLT)
Jesus' prayer was so intense that he began to sweat drops of blood. But even in this moment of great distress, he remained obedient to God's plan, saying, "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." (Luke 22:42 NLT)
As the night wore on, Jesus was arrested and taken before the religious leaders, and the events that would lead to his crucifixion began to unfold. But on this Maundy Thursday, we remember the Last Supper, when Jesus shared a meal with his disciples and gave them a new commandment. "So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other." (John 13:34 NLT)
As we remember this commandment and the events of Maundy Thursday, may we be filled with gratitude for Jesus' sacrifice and inspired to love and serve others as he did.
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