There is a sense by this time, after a long Lent and the first few days of Holy Week, that we’d like to get on with it. Many folks must give in to that feeling, because they don’t participate in Maundy Thursday or Good Friday services, just showing up on Easter Sunday, ready for all the glory that is Easter. But just as Jesus says, “For this purpose I have come to this hour,” it is for just this purpose that we have been journeying together during Lent—that we might finally arrive at Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Jesus’ words above remind us that He did not walk the way of the cross dispassionately, unfeeling, without emotion. In the events of His last days, Jesus struggles with every human emotion. He feels forsaken by God and man; He wishes the cup of suffering might pass from Him; He sweats drops as of blood. No one can claim this was easy for our Lord or that, in His divinity, He didn’t really suffer and question. He did, and yet, He knew why He came to earth in the first place. He knew that His entire life was leading Him to just this place—Golgotha and the cross.
And He knew that it was on the cross that the Father would be glorified, and through His own sacrifice, Jesus would be glorified as well. Hard to understand: glory, coming through a crucifixion. And yet, this was God’s plan. In the fulfillment of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, God would be glorified. Because in this plan, His great love for the world would be manifested, and all would see the lengths to which God would go to save fallen humanity.
We come together during Holy Week to glorify the Father’s name, as well. We do not come together to be moved emotionally (although that sometimes happens). We don’t come together for congregational fellowship (there are other times for that). Our worship on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday is meant to give glory to God who, for us and for our salvation, came down from heaven, died on a cross, and was raised to give us hope for eternal life. Let us come together to glorify the Father’s name.
Almighty God, we humbly pray that our Holy Week worship would bring you glory, that all creation might praise the God who loves us and gave Himself up for us, a sacrifice for the whole world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Taken from Wendel, David, From Ashes to Easter, Ashes Lenten Devotional Booklet, North American Lutheran Church.