(Red lettering denotes worship bulletin items and Black the Leader’s readings and comments.)
Opening Hymn “TLH” #163:1-4 “The Death of Jesus Christ, Our Lord”
Confession & Absolution, “TLH” pg. 48
The Order of Events of Maundy Thursday Night
In conjunction with the well-known spiritual "Were You There(?),” and in order to hopefully help us “be there in spirit,” this service is structured to give a sense of the chronology of events from the Upper Room to Christ's arrest at Gethsemane. Our Communion early in the service is in keeping with the order of events.
SECTION ONE - SCRIPTURE READINGS
The Passover Meal Prepared and Begun:
Jesus said to His disciples, "You know that after 2 days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be delivered up for crucifixion." - And on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover Lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the passover?" He sent 2 of His disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water, follow him; and wherever he enters say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"; And he, himself, will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; and prepare for us there." And the disciples went out, and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover. And when the hour had come, He reclined at table, and the Apostles with Him. And He said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer, for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
Washing the Disciples’ Feet:
Jesus rose from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, girded Himself about. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. And so He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord do You wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do, you do not realize now; but you shall understand hereafter." Peter said to Him, "Never shall You wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Jesus said to him, "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you." For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, "Not all of you are clean." And so when He had washed their feet and taken His garments, and reclined at table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me 'Teacher' and 'Lord'; and you are right; for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, wash your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you."
Exposing the Betrayal by Judas:
Jesus became troubled in Spirit, and testified, and said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me." The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. There was reclining on Jesus' breast one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore gestured to him and said to him, "Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking." He, leaning back on Jesus' breast, said to Him, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus therefore answered, "He is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him." So, when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. And after the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Jesus therefore said to him, "What you do, do quickly." Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things we have need of for the feast"; or else, that he should give something to the poor. And so, after receiving the morsel, he went out immediately; and it was night.
Institution of the Lord’s Supper:
While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it and gave it to the disciple, and said, "Take, eat; this is My Body." And He took a cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying "Drink from it all of you; for this is My Blood of the Covenant, which is shed on behalf of many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's Kingdom."
(NOTE: Psalms 111-118 were commonly sung at points throughout the Passover Meal Celebration. They are known as the “Hallel” or “Praise the Lord” Psalms. Three are presented with this service. The last four were probably used as a closing.)
Service proceeds with reading together “Hallel” Psalm #113 and Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Hymns during Distribution: “TLH” #388, Tune 2 “Just as I Am, without One Plea”
“TLH” #307 “Draw Nigh and Take the Body of the Lord”
Post-Communion Prayer of Thanksgiving
SECTION TWO - COMMENTS AND SCRIPTURE READING
The greatest percentage of all the Lord's teaching recorded in Scripture was actually given during His last week of earthly life. The next several items in the order of events cover 4 chapters of John's Gospel and will not be a direct reading, but will be summarized here…
Christ’s Final Teachings:
(Pastors may supplement with appropriate thoughts on the various individual points following…)
(John 14) - Many Mansions / The Way, Truth and Life, and invitation to trust Him / To Philip — "Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father." / Promise to send Counselor, Spirit of Truth / "Whoever keeps My commandments loves Me and will experience the manifestation of Myself and My Father" / "I will give you My Spirit and Peace" / — then Jesus said, "RISE, LET US GO HENCE!" But it seems they continued to linger!
(John 15-16) - Vine & branches, and fruit coming by abiding in Christ and His Word / The commandment to "Love one another, as I have loved you." (This can only be done through faith, which can only be nurtured and exercised by "abiding" in Christ and His Word.) / He spoke of the persecution and hatred His followers would experience, to help them hold fast. / He became more specific about the work of His Holy Spirit: Bringing to memory all He had said, bearing witness to Him, guiding into all Truth, and convicting the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. / He spoke about going to His Father, mystifying the disciples... - Still they lingered, it seems!
His "High-Priestly" Prayer:
a. For Himself: His restoration to glory (Resurrection and Ascension)
b. For the Apostles: That God consecrate, guard and keep them in His Name and Word which He gave them, and which is "Truth."
c. For Us (who believe the Apostles' Word): That we be “one” with the Triune God and each other, so that the world might come to believe. That we come to behold His glory, with Him where He is! That His and His Father's love be in us and with us.
What love at such a dire time for Himself, soon to die on the Cross for humanity's salvation, with Himself to be abandoned by His Heavenly Father!
The Prediction of Peter’s Denials:
This may have occurred as the group proceeded to the Garden of Gethsemane, but more likely took place as they prepared to go out the door…
Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered.' But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." But Peter answered and said to Him, "Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away." Jesus said, "Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." And he said to Him, "Lord I am ready to go both to prison and to death with You!" - Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for Me?" Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock shall not crow until you deny Me 3 times." But Peter kept saying insistently, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they were all saying the same thing, too.
Service proceeds with reading together “Hallel” Psalms #114 & #117…
SECTION THREE – SCRIPTURE READINGS
Departure from the Upper Room:
When Jesus had finished speaking and when they had sung a Psalm, He went forth with His disciples across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. And they went to a place where there was a garden named "Gethsemane."
Christ’s Agonized Prayer at Gethsemane:
Jesus said to His disciples, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, "My Soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me." - And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw away, and He knelt down, fell on His face on the ground and began to pray, saying, "Father, if Though art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet, not My will, but Thine be done." Now an Angel from Heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. And when He rose from prayer, He came to His disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow. He said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." - And again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. - And He left them again and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. Then He came to the disciples, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"
The Betrayal and Arrest:
Now Judas who was betraying Him, also knew the place; for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. Judas then, having received the Roman cohort, and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. While Jesus was still speaking, behold, Judas came up accompanied by a great multitude with swords and clubs. - Now, he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, "Whomever I shall kiss, He is the One; seize Him." And immediately he came to Jesus and said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed Him. And Jesus said to him, "Friend, do what you have come for." Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. Simon Peter therefore having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave's name was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" - And Jesus answered and said to them, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as though I were a robber? Every day I was with you in the Temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has happened that the Scriptures might be fulfilled." And they all left Him and fled. And a certain young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his body, and they seized him. But he left the linen sheet behind, and escaped naked. - So the Roman cohort and the commander, and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Jesus away to the high priest.
Service proceeds to its close… (Choir?), Closing Prayer, Benediction
“TLH” #159 “Go to Dark Gethsemane”
Closing Note for Service Bulletin:
Please consider reading John 18 at home tonight, which records the events of primary importance from the time of Christ’s arrest to His sentencing. Good Friday service is intended to continue with the theme “Were YOU There?” – leading us to certain Scripturally-based “Stations of the Cross” which begin with Christ’s sentencing.