Today is Maundy Thursday. The name comes from the Latin mandatum, the first word in the Latin rendering of John 13:34, “A new commandment (Mandatum novum) I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” This commandment was given by the Lord on the Thursday before his crucifixion. So Maundy Thursday is the “Thursday of the Commandment.”
This is the commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” But what about Galatians 5:14? “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” If the whole law is fulfilled in “Love your neighbor as yourself,” what more can “Love one another as Christ loved …
The love of Christ for us in his dying was as conscious as his suffering was intentional. “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” (1 John 3:16). If he was intentional in laying down his life, it was for us. It was love. “When Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Every step on the Calvary road meant, “I love you.”
Therefore, to feel the love of Christ in the laying down of his life, it helps to see how utterly intentional it was. Consider these five ways of seeing Christ’s intentionality in dying for us...
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What happened on Wednesday of Jesus’ final week before the cross? According to Matthew 26:2, "after two days the Passover is coming.” That probably means it’s Wednesday. We can’t be sure because fragments of days count as days, and because when Passover starts is reckoned in different ways. But it’s close.
The next verse says, “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.” What did they say behind those closed doors?
We get a glimpse of what they may have said from an earlier conversation in John 11:47-53. It is astonishing.
Judas left the fellowship of the twelve apostles after the anointing in Bethany and arranged to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14-15). But when they met again at the last supper, there he was! Near enough to dip in the Savior’s cup.
When our family read this for devotions last night I was angry at the absolute wickedness of Judas coming back to eat Passover with the one he had just sold. I said to my daughter, evidently with more emotion than she was used to, “That is utterly wicked!”
She said, “What is so wicked?” I said: “What if I went out tonight and arranged for a cruel man to kill you on the way to school tomorrow morning? That would be horrible. But then would it not…
William Robertson Nicoll (d. 1923) was a pastor in Scotland who edited the Expositor and founded the British Weekly. During one illness of six months duration he read the entire collection of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons (over 60 volumes!). He wrote something concerning Spurgeon relevant to our day:
Evangelism of the humorous type [we might say, church growth of the marketing type] may attract multitudes, but it lays the soul in ashes and destroys the very germs of religion. Mr. Spurgeon is often thought by those who do not know his sermons to have been a humorous preacher. As a matter of fact there was no preacher whose tone was more uniformly earnest, reverent and solemn. (Quot…
From one of the best books on preaching that I know comes this word on the danger of pride in us preachers:
Pride is without doubt the chief occupational hazard of the preacher. It I has ruined many, and deprived their ministry of power.... In some it is blatantly obvious. They are exhibitionists by temperament and use the pulpit as a stage on which they show off.... Other preachers are not like Nebuchadnezzars, however, for their pride does not take the form of blatant boastfulness. It is more subtle, more insidious, and even more perverse. For it is possible to adopt an outward demeanor of great meekness, while inside our appetite for applause is insatiable. At the very momen…
If humility is not compliance with relativism and is not sophomoric skepticism, what is it? This is important, since the Bible says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5), and “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11). God has told us at least six things about humility.
1. Humility begins with a sense of subordination to God in Christ.
A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. (Matthew 10:24)
Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Peter 5:6)
2. Humility does not feel a right to better treatment than Jesus got.
As Easter approaches, let’s stir up our thankfulness and joy and admiration and amazement at what the resurrection of Jesus means for us. The curse of our fallen nature is that what once thrilled us becomes ordinary. The reality hasn’t changed. We have changed.
This is why the Bible exists. Peter says of his two letters that they are written to “stir up” or “arouse” by means of “reminder.”
This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder. (2 Peter 3:1)
So let’s stir up our sincere minds by way of reminder.
What has God done in raising Jesus from the dead? Here are …
Why do we say we exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples?
Because of Psalm 40:16.
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation say continually,
“Great is the LORD!”
We love the salvation of the Lord. Therefore we say continually, “Great is the Lord!” We say it in as many ways as we can. We never get tired of saying, “Great is the Lord!” Everything else we say is meant to say this. Everything we do is meant to make this clear and more widely echoed in as many hearts as possible.
“Great is the Lord!” His greatness is unsearchable. So we will spend forever s…
Ponder the conversion of Paul, the sovereignty of Christ, and what Paul's sins have to do with your salvation.
Paul said that God “set me apart before I was born,” and then on the Damascus road “called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15). This means that between Paul’s birth and his call on the Damascus road he was an already-chosen but not-yet-called instrument of God (Acts 9:15; 22:14).
This means that Paul was beating and imprisoning and murdering Christians as a God-chosen, soon-to-be-made-Christian missionary.
Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness wa…