top of page

Denial, Denial, Denial

Today is Thursday.

Holy Week takes a somber turn on Thursday. Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday (also known as Great and Holy Thursday, Holy and Great Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is what Thursday is commonly referred to during Holy/Passion week. Maundy is the name of the Christian rite of foot washing, which traditionally occurs during Maundy Thursday church services.

The English word maundy in the name for the day is derived through Middle English and Old French mandé, from the Latin mandatum (also the origin of the English word "mandate"), the first word of the phrase "Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos" ("A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.") This statement by Jesus in John 13 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.

If you are not familiar with what transpired on Thursday, I urge you to take a few moments to read for yourself. You will find the accounts of the day told in Matthew 26:17–75, Mark 14:17-72, Luke 22:7-71 and John 13-18:1-24.

  • It was the celebration of Passover. Do you remember the reason why they celebrated Passover? It is told way back in the Old Testament. While I will not recount all of the details or its important, I do want to point out a few details we may sometimes overlook or forget. Passover included the sacrifice of a perfect "lamb." If you recall, this lamb had to be the best and most perfect of the flock. It had to be brought in (to the home) for not 1, not 2 but 3 days (literally living with the families.) After that, this perfect, living, breathing mammal was to be slaughtered - eaten - remains burned and its blood smeared a particular way. Why? So that others could lie and be spared. Take a moment to think of all that truly entails. Why it is was important. Why, this day in particular, it had a meaning.

  • It was the day of the Last Supper. We do not know how long the supper lasted. We have certain details but we do not know every single detail. What we do know is it took place in a house, in an "upper room", the space was prepared in advance for their arrival and the disciples prepared the food. They ate together. More than likely they enjoyed each other's company. Jesus taught. He washed their feet - essentially serving them. He warned them and He was very specific in spelling out events that were to take place. We also know by their responses, the disciples began their betrayal of Him there - in the Upper Room. It wasn't an overt betrayal but instead, a quiet betrayal. You see, they were listening to Him not with the intent to understand but with the intent to reply. They were so determined to make sure they were heard by Him, that He heard them say, "Oh, no, not me!" or "I would not ever do that!" or 'Why are you washing my feet!" they were too busy to hear and understand what He was trying to get across. As I read back through the retelling of the Last Supper, I had to ask myself, how often do I do that? How often do I miss the point entirely?

  • When Jesus went out into the garden, He gave the disciples very specific instructions. His closest friends, who have been with Him all week and all day, failed to hear and grasp the magnitude of Jesus' words when he said, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me." Matthew 26: 38. As He prayed earnestly for God's Will not His to be done and came back to find them all sleeping, how exactly do you think he felt? Again, we see betrayal. Although not intentional, we see the human nature of all us right there in that moment. They failed to heed His plea, they failed to understand the depth of the pain He was bearing, they failed to live up to what they had committed to and although they could not admit it, they were betraying Him and the very things they had vowed even swore to do earlier that evening. The shameful part is they did it a second time - fall asleep that is. Only this time, Jesus woke them because the time for an intentional betrayal had come.

  • Upon waking up the second time and gathering themselves, Judas came surrounded by a mob of people. It was at this moment, maybe, just maybe the gravity of the evening set in. While Jesus stood there and let Judas kiss His cheek and identify Him so he could be arrested, can you imagine for a moment what was going through the minds of everyone? "Go ahead and do what you have come for." And when He finished speaking, all of the disciples had fled. The biggest betrayal was done by Judas but in the end not one of the 12 was at His side.

  • After His arrested, He was taken to Caiaphas (the high priest) for questioning. Because He is Truth and knew the Truth, Jesus remained calmed and His answers very succinct. "Yes, it is as you say." He knew no matter what He said, the outcome was already determined. Have you ever been in a situation like that? How did you handle it? Jesus gives us an example. He always gave us an example. There are times to state our "case" and times to "state the truth" and times to simply remain quiet. Wisdom and discernment is knowing the difference in each. After being pronounced guilty they took Him away and as they did, they spit on Him and punched Him as He passed the crowd.

  • While Jesus was being pronounced guilty, Peter found himself confronted by a small girl who recognized Him as a follower of Jesus. "I don't know him" he replied. Later as he was trying to leave, some one else shouted out to him and again he snapped, "I don't know him." As he is frantically trying to flee the crowds and is recognized as "one of them" he shouts "I DO NOT KNOW HIM!" and as the rooster immediately crows Peter realizes what he just did. As the tears gush down his face, he cannot take back the blatant denial he swore he would not utter.

Denial. Denial. Denial. Denial.

He told me what I needed to do but I did not listen. I denied Him.

He told me to remain vigilant but I just wanted to sleep. I denied Him.

He gave me the chance to understand and learn. I denied Him.

He never failed me but I failed Him. I denied Him.

He gave me the chance to remain at His side but I ran. I denied Him.

He told me of His burdens and I couldn't hear. I denied Him.

He stood there innocent and was still found guilty. I denied Him.

He was always serving me. I denied Him.

He loved me even in my mess. I denied Him.

He never demanded anything of me but I did of Him. I denied Him.

I denied Him. I denied Him more than once.

Even though I denied Him, He still willingly went with the guards. He still willingly looks at me and says, I love you. Even though I denied Him, He endures Friday.

Join us tomorrow as we get through Good Friday so we can celebrate our risen Savior.

13 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page