Maundy Thursday

This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. — I John 5:6.

In Deuteronomy 21:22-23, you will read that it was forbidden to let the bodies of those who were executed for crimes and hanged on a tree, to remain upon the tree overnight, lest the land be defiled. And remember that the day on which Christ died was the day preceding the great Passover Sabbath, called the Preparation. Therefore the chief council sent to Pilate, and asked him to order the legs of the crucified to be broken and their bodies taken away. So the soldiers broke the legs of the two malefactors, who were crucified with Christ. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they did not break His legs, but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and forthwith there came out blood and water. The Apostle John was an eyewitness of this (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; John 19:31-34). And in his Gospel, where he tells of this occurrence, he says: “And he that saw it bear record, and his record is true, and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled: ‘A bone of Him shall not be broken.’ And again another Scripture saith: ‘They shall look on Him whom they pierced’” (vv. 35-37).

All the details of the death of Jesus proved that He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world, prophesied and typified in the Old Testament (Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:20), and that He is the Christ, Jehovah, whom they were to pierce (Zechariah 12:10). Thus the blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of Jesus is the fountain opened “for sin and for uncleanness” (13:1), whereof Zechariah prophesies. And this fountain flows for us in the Means of Grace—the Gospel, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Jesus’ public ministry, in which He openly showed Himself to be the Redeemer, began at His own Baptism, and continued through the shedding of His blood on the cross. May His perfect life and His innocent suffering and death, on your behalf, be the continuing focus of your faith, and strengthen you at all times!

PRAYER. – Lord Jesus, who didst suffer Thy side to be pierced, and from it to flow the fountain which cleanses us from all sin and unrighteousness, to the end that we poor sinners may stand before God as righteous and be saved, I give thanks to Thee that Thou didst cause this fountain to flow freely for us in the Gospel, Baptism, and Holy Communion. Dear Savior, grant me a rich measure of Thy Holy Spirit, working through Thy Word, that I may always eagerly seek Thy salvation in the Means of Grace, in order that I may inherit life eternal, which Thou hast purchased for me at so great a price. Amen.

Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pains;

poured for me the life-blood, from His sacred veins.

Grace and life eternal, in that blood I find;

blest be His compassion, infinitely kind!

Lift we then our voices, swell the mighty flood;

louder still and louder, praise the precious blood.

(Hymn 158, st. 1-2 and 6; TLH)

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