I was truly touched and inspired at the Good Friday service at my home church Holy Trinity tonight. I love these 3 days and I knew I needed tonight. To get my head out of the world and in the Spirit, I spent time this afternoon reading the crucifixion story in all four Gospels. Wow, I need to do that every year! Our church chose to share John’s version and the prophecy of Isaiah 53. Even though I have read Isaiah’s prophecy many times and even sung it in Handel’s Messiah for years, I’m still blown away. It is always, always made new. Life-breathing, yet again.
At one point our pastor highlighted verse 2b of Isaiah 53: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Not quite the picture we often see of a handsome, brown eyed Savior! I admit that I’ve never paused on that verse before. As one who often feels like I don’t have the right clothes or the hippest hairstyle to go out on stage to speak & sing, well, this passage inspires me greatly. Friends, we don’t have to have the perfect look to do extraordinary things. Jesus, who did for all of humanity, far beyond any of us could ever imagine, “had no beauty or majesty… nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”.
The scourging, the blood, the outrageous pain. All so that we could spend eternity with Our Lord?! There are no words that can ever fully express my gratitude for receiving the freedom that comes through His stripes.
Lord Jesus, may You continue to give me the patience and strength to live a life honoring Your love for me.
One of the things I love to do on special days of the Church year is to look up in Scripture the details of why we are celebrating, or commemorating, that day. So today I spent a wonderful, quiet time in God’s Word looking up the events of the Last Supper in each of the four Gospels. I absolutely LOVE how God always shows me something new even though I have experienced many Holy Thursdays. This year, today, I’m seeing how the washing of the feet is only in John’s Gospel. Matthew, Mark and Luke don’t speak of it at all. Or how “Take and eat; this is my body……This is the blood of my covenant…” is found in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s accounts, but not John’s. And John chose to record so much more of Jesus’ dialogue during the Last Supper than the other gospel writers. There is a ton!
Yet even though I was a bit “academic” spending time comparing Gospels, Our Lord still found a way to warm my heart and touch me personally. It was in John 17. Here Jesus is praying to the Father – yes, His own words – and He is praying for us. You and me! No, it’s not where he’s instructing us on how to pray as in the Lord’s Prayer, but rather He Himself is praying.
Do you sometimes wonder how other people pray? What words do they use? Do they stay on one subject very long? Do they readdress God by saying “Father” or “Lord” in between phrases? I know there’s no right or wrong way to pray, but I admit those questions have crossed my mind over the years. Well, here in chapter 17 of John’s Gospel we get to look right into the heart of Jesus and hear His voice praying to His, and our, Father. He had you and me in mind when He prayed “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am.” (vs.24)
So as you close your Holy Thursday, you might want to turn to this chapter and read how Jesus prayed for us – how he was thinking and desiring eternity for us – the night before He knew He was to be crucified.