Majesty and humility. They travel the road to Jerusalem together. God riding a donkey. Odd travelling companions for sure. The story is a big deal. It’s one of the few that all four Gospel authors write about. The people put palm braches on the ground to proclaim Christ’s victory. The game is not quite over yet, but those who have seen Jesus know, in the end, it is his king that will still be on the board.
Maundy is from the Latin “mandatum”, the first word of Jesus’ teaching from John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus was sharing his last meal with the twelve men who would be responsible for taking the Gospel to the nations. No time for small talk. Not even time for good stuff. Only his best words. “I’m going to make this simple. You need to remember this: Love others as I have loved you.”
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. What He really gave us, of course, was Himself. He experienced pain, humiliation, and death so we can experience love, forgiveness, and life. The world hasn’t been the same since and your world doesn’t have to be the same ever again. No single word or collection of words could ever describe this day. So “good” will have to do.
The other days have a name: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday. Saturday is just Saturday which is more than enough. It was a day of darkness when Satan celebrated victory over God and dominion over the world. In the epic game of chess against the Almighty One Himself – Satan delivered a surprising, come-from-behind, apparent checkmate. Hope he enjoys it while it lasts because he gets a surprise tomorrow: the King still has another move.
It begins in the despair of the dark caused by the sin of the world and the hatred of many. Fear was widespread. Satan delighted in Christ’s death. But it’s Easter morning and Satan’s party comes to an abrupt ending when he discovers the once defeated man has emerged from the tomb. Christ is alive. It was the day death died. Checkmate. Hope overcomes despair. Light silences darkness. Grace forgives sin. Love replaces hate. Faith calms fears. Life resurrects death.