March 24th E-votional

Today is Maundy Thursday.  Many people, especially regular church-goers, know that the Thursday before Easter is Maundy Thursday, but a lot of them don’t know what Maundy means.  Maundy is a Latin word meaning “commandment” or “mandate”.  Today is “Commandment Thursday”.

But what is the commandment that was given on the original Thursday?  Matthew, Mark, and Luke recount the Last Supper when Jesus broke the bread and poured the cup and said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”  Is that the commandment?

John’s Gospel does not mention that meal, but instead recounts Jesus washing the disciples feet.  After doing so, he said, “So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”  Is this the commandment?

Both of these are instructions to his disciples, and to us by extension.  These are also the two things often highlighted in Maundy Thursday services, but I don’ t think they are specifically the focus.  I think  John 13:34 gives us the actual commandment, though when Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.”

Jesus gives us a new commandment, to love one another as he loves us.  What does that mean.  How does Jesus love us?  Let’s go back to both the foot washing and the Last Supper.

In washing the disciples’ feet, he was putting himself in the position of a servant.  He was humbling himself before them.  He was also putting himself in a vulnerable position.  He was providing the disciples with something they needed.

During the Last Supper, Jesus showed love without judgment, as well as forgiveness, when he broke bread with Judas who betrayed him, Peter who would deny him, and Thomas who would doubt him.  The Last Supper also exemplified the sacrificial nature of Christ’s love.

So today on “Commandment Thursday” we are given a new commandment.  We are to love one another, putting others needs first.  We are to love one another in a way that makes us vulnerable.  We are to love one another in a way that humbles ourselves.  We are to love one another with a nonjudgmental and forgiving love.  We are to love one another with a sacrificial love.  We are to love one another as Christ loved us.

Matthew 22:37-39  37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  38 This is the greatest and first commandment.  39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

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