Summary: Maundy Thursday message, designed to be interwoven with verses of "When I Survey ..." and with the elements of Communion. Jesus turns to us to interpret the power of wounded healing.


“Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’”

This is a private moment. To the disciples He turned and spoke privately. There are some things not meant for the public arena, some things intended only for those equipped to understand them. To those who had been His companions on the way He turned, to interpret what they were experiencing.

The immediate context is the return of the seventy from their mission. Jesus had sent out a crowd of advance workers. They were to go to each place He intended to go and they were to test the waters. Either they would find a welcome or they would find hostility. But they were to discover what the mood of each place would be.

Jesus’ instructions were clear. If they were to find a town hospitable, then they were to do there what He would have done. They were to preach and teach and perform works of healing – all that Jesus would have done, had He been there Himself.

But if they were to find a town hostile, they were to scamper out of there and leave the place to its own fate. The assessment of the Lord was, “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me … and the one who sent me.” A verdict entirely clear.

So now the seventy are back, and they have come with a glowing report. They can scarcely believe what happened when they went out knocking on doors, representing themselves as servants of Jesus. “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us.” Resistance toppled and hearts were open and even the most intractable of minds listened. “Lord, in your name ….” Power.

Then Jesus in prayer and thanked God for this confirmation of all He had been about. This was the “signed, sealed, and delivered” for all He had been doing. He had been marching relentlessly toward Jerusalem, sensing that there His life would come to its nadir and yet also to its apex. And now, confirmation. There was no stopping now.

And so to His disciples He turned to alert them that what they were about to see was beyond description, but would be an unveiling of all that human beings had wanted to see. What they were about to hear was beyond recording, but would be the good news that all history had longed to hear. To His disciples He turned to alert them that what they soon would see on a hill called Calvary, what they would soon hear from His lips, would be the fulfillment of countless hopes. To them He turned, privately; and to us He turned, to mandate that we come to a place like this, time and again, here to see, here to understand. There is more going on here than the eye can take in, more than the mind can comprehend. So we must come and we must linger. To us He turned, that we might survey the wondrous cross.

“When I Survey”, vs. 1 -- Scripture: Matthew 27:17-30


“Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!’”

Of all the instructions Jesus gave the Seventy, none is more daunting than the instruction to cure the sick. “Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you … cure the sick who are there and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Not an easy task.

Now the Seventy were given other instructions too. They were to proclaim peace wherever they went. Not as easy, actually, as it sounds, for bandying about words like “peace” will get you challenged very quickly! If you have no peace to offer, do not announce it.

And they were instructed to seek hospitality. They were not to carry supplies or money, but were to live off the land. That is not easy, either; few of us are comfortable not being in control of our surroundings. But if they were to survive, this is what they must do. Not easy, but necessary, to ask for the means for daily life.

But to cure the sick? To heal the diseased? Untrained, graduates of no medical college, without experience, just ordinary folks out there offering to cure the sick? How difficult is that? How much challenge is involved in that? A great deal.

Maybe the only way it could be done would have been to announce to a broken world that there was one who Himself was broken and wounded for our transgressions. Maybe the only convincing way to persuade the sick to offer themselves for healing would be to show them one who was willing to be bruised for our iniquities. Maybe the only credible witness that an anguished world can trust is the witness of one who is willing to leave the comfort zone and to be where they are.

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