Morning Prayer Summary for Thursday, March 28, 2024

Morning Chapel Prayer Playlist
Morning Chapel Prayer Today

Pastor Heather…

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to Morning Prayer. My name is Heather Sibinski. I’m one of the pastors here at Living Word.

Jesus last day as a man on the earth…

I was praying this morning seeking God on what to share. And I was thinking, okay, we’re coming into Easter, right? And leading into Easter, I’m thinking… okay, in the story of the Bible where were we at today? Today’s Thursday, right? I love reading about “today” in the Bible. Because think about it, this was the last day that Jesus spent with His disciples as a man on the earth before He’s crucified. So what are the things He wants to do that’s really important, leading up to His resurrection? So I think, if I knew I was going to pass away… Obviously He knows He’s going to be resurrected too. But if I knew I was going to pass away, you’re gathering the people you love, right? You’re telling them those things that are most important, those things that you really want to impart to them. And so that’s kind of the setting here. So we have Jesus, and of course, we know it as the Last Supper or it’s the Passover. They’re getting ready for Passover to have the Passover meal together. He’s washing their feet. He’s loving on them. And so I just thought it’d be fun to unpack that day and what were those things leading up to the Garden of Gethsemane before the crucifixion. What were those things that Jesus really wanted to impart into His disciples? I just thought this would be a great setting and a great reminder leading into Easter.

Let’s think about it…

Okay, He’s about to get crucified and He knows what’s coming. He literally was praying and sweating drops of blood, so He knows what’s coming. So here it is. He knows a violent death is coming up. He knows He’s going to be crucified. He knows He’s going to be betrayed, not only by Judas, but by Peter. Peter’s going to deny Him. He knows it’s not going to be a great day on Friday. Right? He just knows. He knows it’s coming. But also He knows the cost. He knows the reward that’s coming too. So thank God He endured it for us, and He went through all that.

He takes time to be with His disciples…

But leading up to that, here He is. He’s taking this time to be with His disciples and to teach them and to really care about them and their emotions and what they’re going through. But here’s Jesus. I mean, this is why He is the perfect one without sin, right? The Son of God. He’s thinking about His disciples and what are they going to experience? What are they going to go through? And He knows He has to prepare them and get their hearts ready. Because they’re going to go through some hard things as well.

John 13:1…

So in John 13:1, in the Passion translation, it says, “Jesus knew that the night before Passover would be His last night on earth before leaving this world to return to the Father’s side. All throughout His time with His disciples, Jesus had demonstrated a deep and tender love for them, and now He longed to show them the full measure of His love.”

Maundy-Thursday: A new commandment…

And I love that phrase. It’s like He’s just really thinking about them. And this is My last chance to really pour My love on them before I’m crucified and resurrected. If you grew up in a religious home… I grew up Catholic. You may have heard the term “Maundy-Thursday.” Am I saying that right? And I remember everybody talking about it and I was like, Maundy-Thursday? That doesn’t make sense. Is it Monday or is it Thursday? I don’t know what that term was. So we’ll just talk about that. So you may have heard that term Maundy-Thursday. Maundy, if I’m saying it right. Maundy being a shortened term of mandatum, which is Latin, which means command. It was the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. A new commandment, right? Jesus and His disciples had just shared what was known as the Last Supper, and He was washing their feet when He said “A new commandment I give to you that you love one another, just as I have loved you. You also are to love one another.”

So not only is He thinking about them, concerned about them. He’s giving us a new commandment. And I think we forget, like obviously they all knew the Ten Commandments. That was a very big part of Jewish tradition. And knowing those Ten Commandments, I’m sure they all had to memorize. They could cite them like this if you ask, because that was a big part of the Jewish tradition is like knowing that word inside and out, knowing the Ten Commandments. So then here comes Jesus and He’s like, “I’m going to give you a new commandment. Love one another, just as I have loved you.” That’s a pretty important moment. So let’s go through that last day together.

So first, Jesus is anointed…

Just before the Last Supper, Jesus is anointed in Bethany by Mary, an ultimate act of worship. One of the few stories that is so significant, it is told in every gospel. This is one of my personal favorite stories because I think it’s such a beautiful act of worship. So let’s go ahead. We’ll read that in Mark 14:3–9 in the Passion translation.

“Now, Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. As he was reclining at the table, a woman came into the house with an alabaster flask filled with the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil. She came to Jesus and with a gesture of extreme devotion, she broke the flask and poured out the precious oil over His head. But some were highly indignant when they saw this and they complained to one another saying, what a total waste. It could have been sold for a great sum and the money could have benefited the poor. So they scolded her harshly. Jesus said to them, leave her alone. Why are you so critical of this woman? She has honored Me with this beautiful act of kindness. You will always have the poor whom you can help whenever you want, but you will not always have Me. When she poured the fragrant oil over Me, she was preparing My body in advance of My burial. She has done all that she could to honor Me. I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to Me will be mentioned in memory of her.”

So how amazing is this moment, right? And Mary is probably thinking this is just a very intimate, private moment, between her and Jesus. But she knew she had to do it. She knew she had to lavish the most costly, expensive thing she had on Him because she loved Him, and she was so thankful for everything. I mean, He had risen her brother from the dead. She had sat at His feet and listened to him teach. And so she loved Jesus and she was so thankful for those things that He did for her. This is her way of showing thanks.

Dutch Sheets “Give Him 15”

There’s a website called “Give Him 15” by Dutch Sheets. And here’s an excerpt from one of his devotions, talking about the woman that poured out the oil, talking about Mary. He says, “This oil was very expensive, worth a year’s wages based on the average income of the day. We know from John’s account that this was done by the same Mary who sat at Christ’s feet, mesmerized by His words. She was a sister of Martha and Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead. The timing of Mary’s offering was just days before His death, and Jesus said she was anointing Him for His burial. Whether Mary had grasped the reality of His words about eminent death and resurrection, or whether Jesus was simply applying the offering in that light is unclear.

“Two things we do know. It was a very costly offering from Mary, and it was so precious to Jesus. He said wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall be spoken of in memory of her. Some speculate that the scent of this powerful perfume would have lingered in Christ’s hair for several days. Did the fragrance help sustain Him as He agonized in Gethsemane? Perhaps the sweet aroma comforted Him through the torturous six hours on the cross. Never underestimate the fragrance of worship.

“Others in the room thought Mary’s offering to be a waste. Some actually scolded her. The list of who was in the room as Mary anointed Jesus is quite the “who’s who.” The 12 disciples were present. You’d think they would alone understand that Jesus was more than worth this offering, but they too were practical. It should have been given to the poor, was their protest. Christ’s thoughts? Go ahead and anoint Me. There will be ample time to care for the poor after I’m gone.

“Simon, the former leper was present. This was actually his home. One might think his new skin replaced appendages and restored life would merit the wasting of some costly perfume on Jesus. Evidently not. He didn’t come to Mary’s defense. And then there was Lazarus, Mary’s brother, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. He had been dead so long that he began to stink. Surely, he would see the validity of his sister’s costly perfume sacrifice. But no, Lazarus didn’t come to her defense either. Could it be that the other’s familiarity with Christ had lessened their wonder of Him? Their awe. We don’t know. They certainly didn’t come to Mary’s defense. We do know that only one worshiper that day had the fullness of love and revelation necessary to anoint the Savior. So many missed opportunities to lavish affection on Him. It is not uncommon for me to see the church attendees waste opportunities to break their alabaster box of love and pour it on the Master. They’ve been in His presence so often, sang so many songs, prayed so many prayers that… well, the experience just isn’t quite worth what it used to be. So they gave Him a token praise and watered-down worship—cheap perfume. Ouch.

“I doubt if the fragrance makes it past Sunday lunch. But while the others that day wasted an opportunity to comfort God, Mary poured out her costly perfume. Its fragrance sustained Him through Gethsemane, the beatings, mocking, lashing, spikes, dislocations, and thorns. Don’t allow another day to go by without lavishing your fragrance on Him. Let nothing deter you. Your alabaster box is your heart. Your love and worship are the perfume. Break it open and pour it out. At the scent of your offering, He’ll meet with you and He’ll cherish your worship just as He did Mary’s.”

Jesus paid a great price for us to have fellowship with Him…

Isn’t that good? So just a reminder of that. And I think there’s always this fine line that we walk with that familiarity with Jesus and He wants us. We are His sons and daughters. We are His beloved. He wants us to come boldly to Him, but also He wants us to still have that respect, that awe, that honor, so it’s this being careful that we don’t take it for granted. Take advantage of it. Just see it as common because it’s not common. He paid a great price for us to have that fellowship with Him. So here we are.

The Last Supper, Communion…

Then what is the next thing that happens? Now we go to the Last Supper or communion, right? They’re all sitting at the table together and He takes time to eat with them, to break bread with them, to sit at the table, to fellowship. We use the word communion so much. I think sometimes we forget what that word actually means. So let’s read that Luke 22:14–19.

“When Jesus arrived at the upper room, He took His place at the table along with all the apostles. He told them, I have longed with passion and desire to eat this Passover lamb with you before I endure My sufferings. I promise you that the next time we eat this, we’ll be together in the Feast of God’s kingdom. Then He raised a cup and gave thanks to God and said to them, Take this, pass it on to one another and drink. I promise you that the next time we drink this wine, we will be together in the feast of God’s kingdom. Then He lifted up a loaf and after praying a prayer of thanksgiving to God, He gave each of the apostles a piece of bread saying, This loaf is My body, which is now being offered to you. Always eat it to remember Me.”

A sharing of Communion…

And so, of course, now we take communion and we remember this moment, this last supper that He had with His disciples. The word communion in Greek is Koinonia, which means partnership, participation, intercourse, or benefaction. So very close, right? Defined as fellowship, contributory help, participation, sharing in, communion, spiritual fellowship, a fellowship in the spirit, what is shared in common as the basis of fellowship or partnership or community. So Jesus is taking this moment to bring them into community with Him, to bring them close and have communion and fellowship with Him.

It doesn’t matter if it’s Chicken in a Biscuit and Mountain Dew…

So they have communion. And if you have time throughout the day today, maybe later tonight when you get home, if you’re working or if you’re home right now watching online, take communion and just remember that like this is that day that Jesus took that time, even though the cross was in His future. And He knew. He took time to sit, to eat, to fellowship, to love on them. So take time to take communion and you can do it with anything. I think Pastor Jim always says you can do it with Chicken in a Biscuit and a Mountain Dew. The Lord doesn’t care. But just have something to eat, have something to drink. And just take that time to read over that scripture in the gospels and just remember this moment. There’s a lot in there.

Jesus served the disciples by washing their feet…

So then after they eat, then Jesus takes time to wash their feet. Right? And this is an important time too. It’s a true act of love and humbleness. Jesus, the Son of God, is washing the disciples’ feet. I don’t know if you’ve ever had anybody wash your feet. It can be a very humbling moment, right?

But here’s Jesus taking this time to humble Himself, to bring Himself low. And in those days, this is what the servants did. You would come into your home and then the servants would wash the feet of the people. It was an act of kindness. It was act of hospitality. And the servants would do this. But Jesus is like, but look at Me. I’m going to do this. I’m going to take the lowest of all positions, and I’m going to become a servant, a foot washer, and I’m going to wash your feet.

So in this time, they walked in sandals everywhere too. So their feet got pretty disgusting, I imagine. So Peter almost refused to let Him wash his feet, if you remember the story. And I probably would’ve too, I would’ve been like, no, please, please do not touch my dirty feet. Right? But there’s something almost embarrassing or shameful or humbling about doing that. But not only seeing your dirt, but washing it away. And that’s what Jesus wanted to do.

By doing this act, Jesus is essentially saying wherever you walk, whatever dirt, whatever shame, whatever disgusting things you picked up along the way today, I will tenderly wash them away. And I think that’s such a beautiful moment. Nothing is too dirty or revolting for Him. He will kneel down and serve you by washing your dirt and shame away.

A new commandment: love each other as I have loved you…

So after He washes the feet, this is what we’re getting to here. He gives us a new command. In John 13:33–35, He says, “My dear friends, I only have a brief time to be left with you and then you will search long for Me. But I tell you what I told the Jewish leaders, you’ll not be able to come where I am. So I give you a new commandment. Love each other just as much as I have loved you, for when you demonstrate the same love I have for you by loving one another, everyone will know that you’re My true followers.”

So Jesus takes a minute and He gives them a new command. Love each other as I love you. And so that’s just a good reminder today that Jesus saw this new commandment as so important that He took that time on His last day with the disciples to deliver this new command with them. Love each other as I love you.

So think about that as you go about your day today. How can I love another person as Jesus loved me? How can I show other people that love today?

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