The New Command

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (John 13:1).

John 13

Maundy Thursday services are highly celebrated in Christian churches.

If we were not in a pandemic, we would be having our own Maundy Thursday service at our main campus. It would have begun with baptism. All our new family would have been dressed in white scrubs and robes. One by one, Pastor would dip them into spiritual newness while our Deacons serenade us with holy baptism hymns. After the last person was dipped, we would transition into communion. Our clergy would line the front of the sanctuary with chalices of grape juice and baskets of bread. Our Worship and Arts ministry would serenade us with communion hymns as we partake of the body and blood of Jesus. Upon completion of communion, we would transition into an evening worship service. Can you imagine such a time in the Lord!

Jesus’ Maundy Thursday took on a different look.

Maundy Thursday for Jesus was a somber day. As, I mentioned on Monday, Jesus utilized that week to do two things, “1. Setting things right 2. Preparing people for his departure”. This was Jesus’ final day with his disciples, and he needed to get them ready for his leaving. There were just a few more lessons to teach. A few more points to make. A last ditched effort to show them that he is the one who scripture proclaimed. It was his last night to show them that he loves them. John 13 begins:

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (John 13:1).

Of course, in Jesus’s day that Thursday was Passover and not called Maundy Thursday. The word maundy comes from the Latin word “mandatum,” which means “command”. It gives reference to the command given to the disciples on that Passover evening. The command echoes a theme that is throughout chapter 13.

“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” (John 13:34)

The theme is love. Before giving the command, Jesus demonstrated his love for his disciples by washing their feet. During the Passover meal, Jesus gets up, takes off his outer clothing, and wraps himself in a towel. He pours water in a basin, begins to wash his disciples’ feet, and dries them with the towel wrapped around him (John 13:2-4). Such an act of humility. Such a show of love. He does this to set an example as their Lord.

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. (John 13:14-15)

On this Maundy Thursday, let’s declare it Love Day! Let’s celebrate it for what it is. It is called Maundy Thursday because it was on this day that Christ gave us the new commandment – the new mandate – to love one another as He loves us. Let’s love freely today! Let’s pray for others who are really having a difficult time with this pandemic. Let’s humbly sacrifice our need for someone else. Let’s show grace to others in the form of forgiveness. Let’s give of our time, talent and treasure so that Jesus can be glorified through our stewardship. Let’s share the Gospel with a friend or family member who does not know Jesus. There are so many ways that we can show love to others. And never forget to show love to yourself. Jesus has set the example, let’s show love.