The upper room

1 Cor 11_23

John 13:1-38, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

If we were in the upper room the night Jesus was handed over, we would have been in the same boat as the apostles. There is no way they could have imagined the unfolding of events that night. Certainly something was different. Jesus’ words and actions seem so much more intimate and, well, final. He said to his disciples, one would betray him, another would deny him, and as he departed, they would not be able to go with him, but he would come again to take them where he was going.

On that night, we would have been as confused as the rest. Thankfully, we stand on the other side of the empty tomb. God’s people today know that even as Jesus was betrayed into the hands that would kill him, Jesus himself laid down his life for the sake of humanity. Even as he was buried, the grave could not hold him. Jesus’ death put sin to death, his resurrection opened the gates of eternal life for all who believe.

Once more, on this Maundy Thursday, we hear anew the account of the upper room, Jesus with his disciples on the night he was betrayed. We mark this time as pastors wash the feet of lay persons, children receive their first Holy Communion, and altars are stripped of the symbols and appointments that point to Christ our Lord. As we do these things, we are once again witnesses to the events of the upper room.

We must face the betrayal of our sin. Christians must admit that because of our disobedience we have grieved God’s heart, turned away from his goodness and lived for ourselves. Yet, as Christ assured those in the upper room, he assures us as well. He offers his very body and blood, given and shed for the sake of those whom he came to save.

Bless us and keep us O Lord, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name. Amen.

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