Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday (April 13, 2017)


1 Corinthians 11:23-26 | New Living Translation (NLT)

For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.


John 13:1-17 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”

Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”

Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”

Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.”

After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.

John 13:31-35 | New Living Translation (NLT)

As soon as Judas left the room, Jesus said, “The time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory, and God will be glorified because of him. And since God receives glory because of the Son, he will give his own glory to the Son, and he will do so at once. Dear children, I will be with you only a little longer. And as I told the Jewish leaders, you will search for me, but you can’t come where I am going. So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”


Today we come to a crucial day in the life of Jesus – in the Passion of the Christ.  Today is Maundy Thursday.  I’ve written about it before, but the short version is this.  Maundy is a word that comes from the Latin mandatum (also the origin of the English word “mandate”), the first word of the phrase “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos” (“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”) This statement by Jesus in the Gospel of John 13:34 by which Jesus explained to the Apostles the significance of his action of washing their feet.

As the disciples gathered with Jesus for one last meal, Jesus pulls out a couple of surprises.  The Passover meal would have been something that Jesus and his disciples would have been familiar.  However, during the meal several things happen that are different.  One is that Jesus goes and washes the feet – taking on the servant’s nature (Philippians 2) – of the disciples.  At least one disciple (Peter) objects.  Jesus reminds us that he needs to wash us.  He washed the dust and the grime off the disciples feet.  The disciples didn’t need their whole body washed – just the feet because that was the part that was dirty from the travel.  Jesus only has to wash the sinful parts of us and we are clean – the body that isn’t dirty doesn’t need to be cleaned.

Jesus is upping the ante here.  He’s giving us an example of true servanthood.  Jesus said that since he washed our feet, we should wash one another’s feet – It is part of the commandment that he gave to love one another.  Jesus came to be the servant of all – and as we think about it – since we are his followers – we should be as well.  Not only did he tell us to be servants of one another, but he told us to love one another – as He has loved us.  We do this so that we show the world that we are his disciples.  It is something that our world needs – right now.

After the foot washing, Jesus then does another unusual thing. Stepping away from the traditional Passover Celebration, he reminds his disciples once again why he came – that his body would be broken and his blood would be poured out for us.  Listen to Paul’s words:

For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.

Today we remember Jesus servant nature and the commandment to love one another – and remember that Jesus was broken and spilled out for us.

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