Every Thursday we have a prayer drop in meeting 6-8am at our house, kind of means I need to be there week in week out. This week it fell on ‘Maundy Thursday’ in the Church calendar, which remembers the last supper the night before Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world.
Jesus has gathered his closest mates around him for the final time to share the passover (the story of a lamb being slain so that God’s people could go free)
It’s worth quoting the passage at length,
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.” Luke 22:19-21
Jesus breaks the bread which is a symbol of his body being broken a day later, and shares the cup, a picture of his blood, as he says, this cup is the new covenant in my blood. In other words, his death will bring them a new life- and the promise is sealed by his death and later his resurrection.
Anyway the point I want to share is this, at the table that evening according to Luke was the man who would betray Jesus. The man who would in one sense cause pain, torture and agony for Jesus just a day later- and he knew it. Jesus knew Judas would betray him and cause him to suffer at the hands of the Jews and Romans yet he still broke the bread and shared the cup for him. He offered Judas himself- he did not turn him away, he extended grace. Grace is undeserved favour, and it doesnt work if it’s done through gritted teeth, a forced grace is no grace at all.
Jesus meant it when he said, ‘ my body is given for you, this cup which is my blood, is poured out for you.’ That meant Judas as well as John and Peter.
So Jesus loves Judas, he offers him grace and ultimately he dies for him, he doesn’t villify him or cast him out, he loves him, in the days and weeks to come with a general election on the horizon, our temptation will be to villify whoever politically is the enemy, but Jesus died for the left, the right and all inbetween.
The days we live in present us with the best opportunity to point people towards the hope we have in Jesus. The way we do that is not with vengeance, gossip and wrath, because that tears us up and we end up bitter not better. The solution is to extend grace.
We have to follow after our saviour and his example, by offering grace even to those who have made our life difficult, because Jesus went to the cross for them aswell as for you.
So this easter, why not extend the underserved favour and love to others that God has shown to you.