Today is Maundy Thursday and, like many more Christians, I have been to church this evening to remember the night when the Disciples were gathered together for the joyful celebration of the Passover meal. Yet Jesus was upset and then he told them why – ‘because one of you sitting at the table, sharing a meal with me in friendship, is about to betray me.’ So our service included sorrow for the times when we have, often unknowingly, let our Lord down and we left the church in quietness and in darkness (because Judas’ betrayal was at night).
However, when you read St. John’s gospel, you will find that his message is 'glory' in the whole of the weekend’s events, even in this dark hour of betrayal and especially the cross. He writes, “When Judas had left, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man is seen for who he is, and God seen for who he is in him. The moment God is seen in him, God’s glory will be on display. In glorifying him, he himself is glorified – glory all around!’”
Again, in his last prayer with his Disciples before his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays, ‘Father, it’s time. Display the bright splendour of your Son so the Son in turn may show your bright splendour. You put him in charge of everything human so he might give real and eternal life to all in his charge. And this is the real and eternal life that they know you, the one and only true God. And Jesus Christ, whom you sent, I glorified you on earth by completing right down to the last detail what you assigned me to do. And now, Father, glorify me with your very own splendour, the very splendour I had in your presence before there was a world.’(John 17)
Only John records Jesus’ saying from the cross, ‘It is finished.’ On the cross, Jesus offered himself back to the Father, to the glory that once was his. The cross is glory! But the cross was not the end, for in his resurrection and ascension Jesus revealed the source of life and offered salvation to a dying world. He is risen, with all his former glory, and alive to walk alongside each of us. There is no doubt of this wonderful living saviour when you meet a man or woman who, over the years, has drawn close to God, for you can see in them the reflection of Jesus’ glory which sheds radiance all around them. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
Written as part of the synchroblog sponsored by Slipstream and EAUK.