Today is Maundy Thursday. It’s the day in the church calendar that signifies the final night of Christ’s freedom.
On this night of his life, Jesus celebrated the Passover feast with his disciples in the Upper Room. During that meal, he gave thanks for the bread and wine and offered it to them, saying that it represented his own body and blood that were being given and shed for his followers. He also, as recorded in John 13, washed the feet of his disciples (the act that gives Maundy Thursday its name).
And then he walked with them to Mount of Olives.
This is the place that holds the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus struggled in prayer on that last night of his freedom, asking God if he really did need to die.
When going apart to pray, we see Jesus ask his closest disciples to sit and wait for him. When he comes back to them three different times, each time he finds them asleep. Grieved, he asks them:
“Could you not watch with Me one hour?”
Tonight at my church, we’ve been invited to participate in a prayer vigil that is being kept through the night. Kirk and I signed up for a slot at 3 a.m., and I’m just full of anticipation at the opportunity to arrive at my church in the dead of night and kneel on the ground before an altar of candles, sitting with Jesus in the silence.
Will I be able to stay awake with him one hour? I hope so.
And I want to encourage you, if you are so inclined, to carve out an hour of time this evening to do the same. Create a space in a corner of your home for this. It doesn’t have to be a very large or particularly holy kind of corner. Just a space for you and Jesus to sit together for an hour. Maybe light a candle. Maybe sit with your journal to record the things you think about or pray during that time. Spend time sitting with Jesus in the silence and the darkness of night, waiting with him for the hour of his death that soon approaches.
If you do this, I’d love to hear what it’s like for you.