Journey to Daily Prayer – Day 43
Wednesday in Holy Week
“Faces like flint.”
How hard is flint? Prior to the modern age, flint was used anywhere from sharp tools to church buildings. So when today’s Isaiah reading prophesies that Jesus set his “face like flint” (Is 50:7), it means his unwavering determination towards the Cross—even in the face of giving his back to smiters, his cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; to shame and spitting (Is 50:6). It was this flinty determination why Jesus, in today’s Matthew reading, hosted Judas at the Last Supper, even though he knew Judas would betray him (Mt 26:21-25). But here’s something to ponder—if Jesus knew he was going to rise from the dead, why not celebrate the Last Supper after his resurrection? Why celebrate it before his death? On one level, it coincides with the Passover and Jesus’ institution of the new covenant where he is the Lamb of God who’s sacrificed for the sins of the World. On another level, his Last Supper nourishes and strengthens his disciples before the agony of the Cross. In other words, Jesus nourishes them with his body and blood so that they too can set their faces like flint and determinately endure the suffering and shame of the Cross. You see, Jesus’ call to pick up our crosses and follow him is not just a Lenten call. It’s a lifelong call. And today, he reminds us that every Lord’s Day is one more opportunity to be nourished at the Lord’s Supper so that we can set our faces like flint, and carry our crosses until our dying breath.
O Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his back to the smiters and hid not his face from shame: Grant us grace to take joyfully the sufferings of the present time, in full assurance of the glory that shall be revealed; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.