Wednesday and Thursday of Holy Week
The dead tree is part of a groaning Creation.
Ever wonder what Jesus did on the Wednesday of Holy Week? He taught about the end times. Here is Matthew’s account, from chapter 24:
The Destruction of the Temple Foretold
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.”
Signs of the End of the Age
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered them, “Take heed that no one leads you astray.
5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: 8 all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.
9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10 And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
12 And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.
13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.
Jesus said he was warning them, so that no one would be led astray by false messiahs and false teaching, and so that no one’s love would grow cold. Jesus’ prophecies had a near and far-away fulfillment. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed about 40 years later, in 70 AD. This was the near fulfillment.
My drawing above is entitled, “Creation Groans,” depicting the beauty and brokenness of Creation (based on Romans 8).
The other prophecies about wars and rumors of wars (verse 6) have been fulfilled at various times throughout history and are being fulfilled in a great way in the current time. The Risen Christ suffers with and for the afflicted (Isaiah 63:9). The current suffering is like “birth pangs” (verse 8).
One day Christ will usher in a new order of things (Revelation 21:1-4); one day new life will come in completeness!
In the meantime, Christ has given us the Holy Spirit to be with us always, and his Word to speak to us. Christ also feeds and fills us with his very self in the Christian sacrament of Communion, through which we are united to him and one another.
Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples on Thursday of Holy Week; this became the first Communion. At the supper Jesus said,
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34, 35).”
Soon the disciples would face the crisis of Jesus’s death (Good Friday). Three days later, Christ rose from the grave and the world would be forever changed.
We call this day of the Last Supper, “Maundy Thursday.” The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for “commandment.”
As we prepare for Easter, and for whatever crises and celebrations lie ahead, may you meet with the Risen Christ, and be strengthened to love God, one another, and the world.