Scripture: John 13
The term “Maundy” as it is applied to Thursday of Holy Week comes from the Latin Mandatum Novum, which means “a new commandment.” This is taken from John 13:34-35 where Jesus tells his disciples, “a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The beauty of the gospel is that what God commands, he gives first. Jesus commands that a humble, generous, and sacrificial love characterize us as his followers, and yet it is Jesus himself who will first display what that looks like to the utter most. The God of All Creation became a creature; he who knew no imperfection entered the frailty of human flesh; he who knew no sin became sin for us; the Lawgiver was willingly born under the law; he who possessed the riches of heaven became poor; the Bread of Life hungered and thirsted for us; and in this particular passage of John 13 we see the Lord of All Life stoop as a lowly servant, towel in hand, and wash the feet of his disciples. Such servant leadership had been seen all through Christ’s ministry up until this point – surely this is the culmination! How much more humble can this man they call the Christ be? How much more of himself could he give to those he loves? And yet, we know the answer is more than we could have ever imagined.
After Jesus washes the feet of his disciples, he institutes the Passover meal where his disciples who are of Hebrew descent, mark the annual celebration of Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt under Moses. Bread and wine are given, but are redefined in the spirit of Christ’s “new commandment” as Jesus says they foreshadow his body and blood which will be given at the cross, as he, the Perfect Lamb of God, the Perfect Passover Sacrifice will set not just Israel free, but set people of every tongue, tribe, and nation free from the bondage of sin and death upon faith in his name. His blood at the cross covers our sin and sets us free, just like the blood of the Passover lamb covered the doorposts of the Israelites and signaled the angel to “passover” them and allow them to go free in the Exodus. With Jesus, and what he accomplishes at the cross – the instrument of Christ’s greatest act of love and service, the instrument of our salvation and pardon – all now can come freely to his table, sins forgiven, death defeated, and in embracing his “new commandment” become part of his new people called by his name.
So, as recipients of this “new commandment” to love one another as we have been loved by Christ, ask yourself the following questions:
How are you being called to love those around you with a Christ-centered, self-giving love?
We as followers of Christ and even his closest disciples were often stubborn and hard to love – who has God placed in our lives that may appear “unloveable” and yet have been put in our path providentially by God for our good and his glory?
Especially here at Lake Osborne, if our distinguishing mark as Christ’s disciples is to be our love for one another, where is God stirring you to serve and show love?
How does our love form the gateway for people to desire fellowship with Christ at his table?
As you think of that Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples, and think of how by his grace, he has also invited us to his table – allow the song, “Come to the Table” by Sidewalk Prophets to guide your reflection: