By Pastor Alex
Today is known throughout church history as “Maundy Thursday,” the day we remember the last supper Jesus had with His disciples, as they celebrated the Passover. On this night Jesus blessed and broke the bread, saying, “Take, eat; this is My body.” He gave them the cup and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:26-28). On this night Jesus sweat drops of blood in the garden of Gethsemane as He submitted His human will to the Father. He prophesied that He would be betrayed and on that same night was betrayed by Judas.
But you may be asking, “What on earth does 'Maundy' mean?” It comes from the Latin word “mandatum” which means “command.” More than anything, we are called to remember a new command that Jesus gave to all His followers. In John’s gospel, at the Passover meal, Jesus stooped down and washed the disciples’ feet, as a servant would. Later on in the meal, He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
In these few words, Jesus raised the standard of our love for one another higher than it had ever been. Not only are we to love our neighbor as ourselves. That’s the start. But the higher calling in Christ is to love each other as He has loved us. Jesus laid aside all His rights as God the Son, and He took the place of a servant, washing His disciples’ feet. On the cross, He both took the blame and punishment for our sins and offered free forgiveness. He prayed for the forgiveness of those who murdered Him. He also healed the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s servant, which Peter had cut off with a sword (John 18:10). Who else would offer miraculous healing to someone who was unjustly arresting him? He shed His precious blood to save sinners who rejected and hated Him.
This is a weekend to take special time to meditate on these wondrous things Jesus has done. But, as Maundy Thursday reminds us, it must go beyond this. As we meditate on the beautiful and costly love of Jesus Christ, it gives us a precise picture of the kind of love we are called to have for one another – not just this weekend, but 365 days a year!
How are you doing with showing the love of Jesus Christ to others? Is there room for forgiveness? Is there room for taking the posture of a servant? Is there an offense that calls for you to humbly bear a cross in love and patience? Is someone’s failure or sin presenting itself as an opportunity for mercy? As we meditate on the love Jesus has shown us, let’s pray together for God’s help to let that love flow through us to others.