We are about to relive the most anguishing moments in our Savior’s life. Maundy Thursday is still the night that I wish hadn’t occurred. The celebration of that particular Seder meal had to be bittersweet for Jesus and the disciples. This is the night that Hebrews celebrated each year, commemorating the promise that God made to Abraham and his descendants.
It is the night when 4 questions are asked. The story begins with an invitation: Why is this night different from other nights? The youngest child at the Seder then asks the four questions.
1) On all other nights we eat chametz (leavened food) and matzah. Why on this night, only matzah?
2) On all other nights we eat all vegetables. Why on this night maror (bitter herbs)?
3) On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?
4) On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?
I don’t know who may have asked the question on the night when Jesus and His disciples gathered to share this holy meal. Was it perhaps the youngest disciple? Or was someone else chosen to begin the Exodus story?
After Jesus informed the disciples that one of them would betray Him, he gave thanks, took the bread, broke it, and gave it to the disciples saying: “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then our Lord took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin.” (Matthew 26: 26-28).
It was then that Jesus’ trial began. Not only the trial before the Sanhedrin but the trial for our salvation. The disciples couldn’t stay awake while Jesus was praying to the Lord, beseeching the Lord to take this cup from Him, yet understanding why He came into the world.
Judas’ betrayal, Peter’s denial, and the false witnesses who testified before the Sanhedrin followed. The darkness of Thursday night was not dispelled by the dawning of Friday. Jesus was questioned by Pilate and condemned by the crowd which gathered. He was flogged, given a crown of thorns, and made to walk to the place of crucifixion. He was nailed to the cross. As He looked into the crowds there, He asked the Lord to forgive us. He told a thief that he would join Him in Paradise. He gave his mother to the care of one of His disciples. He felt forsaken and thirsted. And then, when His task was done, He commended His spirit to God.
Easter is coming. Friday was not the end. The wonder of the empty tomb, the appearance of the risen Savior, and the birth of our faith all happened, not because of the pain Jesus endured on Friday, but because He rose from the grave on Sunday. As we journey through this holiest of weeks for Christians, we must spend some time remembering Thursday and Friday. We may still wonder why. We may wish that He did not have to suffer. We may never understand all that the Lord has done is doing and will do for our salvation. Be assured that Easter is coming. Hallelujah and Amen!
Seder questions are from: https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/passover/four-questions