Maundy Thursday and the Love that Hurts

Maundy Thursday is always the most touching of the Three Holy Days for me. Why? Because it presents Jesus in its most human form.

On Good Friday Jesus was tortured and crucified. There’s virtually nothing He could do about that. The Romans already captured him. Whatever He said, they would probably kill Him anyway. And on Easter He rose from the death. That’s good news. No more suffering.

But on Maundy Thursday were the real temptations. He knew the time was near and He had to leave the people He loved. Can you imagine the feeling? You love a person, so much, and you realize that that night is your last night with them? It must be hurtful.

But the pain of leaving the people He loved was not the only pain that night. Another great temptation, great torture, came rather in an unexpected form. It came from free will. Jesus had a choice –the choice to run or to stay and submit to the Father’s plan. With all the glimpses of what’s to come –the humiliation, the death– Jesus could have run. He was afraid, his sweat turned to blood.

And so this Man, the Lord Almighty, in this very night 2000 years ago, was deeply in love and afraid at the same time. So human, so like us. The difference? He chose to stay, to keep loving until it hurt. Until it killed Him.