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Holy Wednesday


What did Jesus do today (Wednesday)? We have a better sense of what Jesus did yesterday but we really have no idea what happened today. Let’s take a moment to reflect on yesterday. After the hustle and bustle of Palm Sunday and the angry reaction to the cleansing of the temple on Monday you might think that Jesus would have stayed home in Bethany.  But instead, Jesus walked right back into the temple to face his opposition and teach his followers. He told of the day when not one stone of the temple would be left upon another. Hard to imagine! Herod's masons had built a seemingly indestructible temple, with flawlessly cut, massive blocks, the largest measuring 44 feet long, 10 feet high, 16 feet wide, weighing 570 tons. I am sure many in the crowd laughed at Jesus' words.

But centuries later we are reading his words. Centuries later millions of children, students, men, women and seniors are fed by Jesus’ life giving words. Matthew shares 212 verses of Jesus talking (chapters 22-25), including some of his most famous teachings.  With 20/20 hindsight these teachings seem to carry a little more weight because we know Jesus was in the final week of his life before his cruel crucifixion on Friday.That Tuesday, he condemned the religiosity and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, he wept over the Holy City which had lost its way, he warned the disciples of the perils of living into the Truth. Can you picture Jesus walking within the temple precincts, stopping under a portico, then making his way down the large stone staircase, standing for a while near the gate, questioning, listening and wondering about the next days?  Today or tonight take some to read Jesus' words from Tuesday: Matthew 21:23-25:40.

Back to today! I like not knowing what Jesus did on the day before the three most important days in human history. Did Jesus simply rest with his friends in Bethany?  Did he teach someplace, or heal someone, but nobody wrote it down?  Did he visit two or three people privately?  Surely a public person like Jesus had private relationships, perhaps with someone like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea - or maybe he took a long walk with Peter, Mary or John.  Could it be he simply withdrew from people and activity and prayed?  Quite often the Gospels tell us "Jesus withdrew to a lonely place to pray" (Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23); if this was his habit, his source of life, his greatest joy, wouldn't he have done so during Holy Week?

I also like the idea that Jesus is bigger than what we know.  John's Gospel ends by saying "There are many other things which Jesus did." I hope many of you will join me for worship on Maundy Thursday at 12:00Noon or 7:00PM.