April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday

The word maundy comes from the same Latin word that gives us our word mandate which is the same as command. We recognize this day of Holy Week as the day when, while celebrating the Passover meal ( we also know it as the Last Supper) with His disciples just hours before He was crucified, Jesus gave them a command: "As I have loved you, so you must love one another" (John 12:34).

What did Jesus mean when He said, "As I have loved you..."? If you'll notice, prior to saying this He had just gotten up off the floor from washing the disciples feet. This act of humility took the whole notion of greatness, authority and leadership and turned them on their heads. Jesus makes a point to agree with the titles the disciples have given Him as 'Teacher' and 'Lord'. These are two titles of authority, one of earthly authority and the other spiritual. Jesus goes further than simply agreeing with this authority, He gets down on His hands and knees to practice one of the most menial, humbling acts of a servant known at that time. Then He says, "Love each other like that" [my paraphrase of John 12:14-15]. That's what He meant when He said, "As I have loved you..."

And if we remember, this is a mandate, a command. We don't have a choice to love this way if we are truly going to follow Christ and love as He loved.