So many things happened on that Thursday. The day right before Jesus was killed was indeed a busy one.
There were feet to wash. There was bread and wine to be given new meaning. There were prayers to pray and anguish to feel. There were hymns to sing and betrayal to be acted on. There was talk of death and promises.
In all of it, Jesus goes before us. He leads the way, showing us how to love well—even those who would betray us. He gives high and holy attention to the act of serving one another by serving those who had argued for place and position. He enlightens the disciples about the coming of his death and his willingness to go to it out of obedience. He gives us new traditions to practice so we never forget his body and his blood. He offers hope in the face of apparent tragedy.
He goes before us.
Jesus even leads the way in exposing our sin and waywardness. Even as he is about to die for us he acknowledges that we really aren’t up to the task of standing by him, remaining faithful, and unashamedly call him our Lord. He knows us.
Then 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 will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” Matthew 26:31-32
But he promises, yet again on this Thursday, to go before us.
“But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Even though all the disciples are going to fail him, even though they are all going to run when things go wrong, Jesus wants them to know that he’ll go before them. He’ll be ready to meet them. When it comes time for the resurrection reunion, Jesus will be there first.
Is there anything that underscores the beauty of the grace of Jesus like his willingness to bring us back to him when we sin? His leads us in our redemption.
He goes before us even in this. He died to make us his own and then he rushes ahead of the betrayers, the fear mongers, the embarrassed followers, to claim them as his own with love and the gift of peace.
This is Jesus, our Savior.
He goes before us in death, before us to defeat sin, before us in resurrection, before us in eternal glory. He is Jesus.
Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20-21