“Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter, believed to be the day when Jesus celebrated his final Passover with His disciples. Most notably, that Passover meal was when Jesus washed the feet of His disciples in an extraordinary display of humility. He then commanded them to do the same for each other. Christ’s “mandate” is commemorated on Maundy Thursday—“maundy” being a shortened form of mandatum (Latin), which means “command.” It was on the Thursday of Christ’s final week before being crucified and resurrected that He said this commandment to His disciples. Jesus and his disciples had just shared what was known as the Last Supper and he was washing their feet,” (https://www.christianity.com/wiki/holidays/what-is-maundy-thursday-11628350.html).
Read John 13.1-17.
“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. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” 7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” 9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” 10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
I grew up attending Maundy Thursday services in the Methodist Church. Sometimes they would be called a TenBerea service, concluding in silence and a period of darkness. This service which begins with a depiction of a Passover Meal, moves to congregational footwashing and the crucifixion and death of Jesus. It was a very solemn occasion and often left me in tears.
The passage in John 13 is jam-packed with meaning, significance, promise, hope and suffering. It is such a full segment of Scripture that I am allowing it to speak for itself. What could I add but my own feeble reflections on the last night of Jesus and the last supper with his disciples.
My thoughts and feelings on this day and the beginning of the end of Jesus’ life leaves me with a mix of emotions. I am so thankful for what Sunday brings but pained to remember the price it cost Jesus, innocent and blameless. That he died on my behalf is still unthinkable. That he sacrificed his life so I could live is almost too much to bare.
And yet, that’s precisely what he did. He became a servant, assumed a station lower than humanity, and climbed Calvary so I wouldn’t have to. Christians across the globe will mourn the next moments, days and hours as he descends into darkness. A path not of his own choosing but one in which he willingly agreed.
And so I sit here pondering my gain and his loss on this dark Thursday. Moments before my Savior suffers and dies for my sins and for yours…
“Lord, I am speechless. Tears fill my eyes. My breathing is labored, my heart caught in my chest. You gave it all for me. You became love on display. And while the world rejected your offering, God saw it as a fit presentation – a substitution for the pain of sin traded for the weight of glory. O Lord, thank you for this gift. Make me worthy to receive it and faithful to believe it. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen