Today is Maundy Thursday. This has always been my favorite day during Holy Week. I remember being especially moved by this service as a teenager at my home church, and ever since then, it has always meant a lot to me. Our reading today is all of John 13, and that’s a bit much to share below, so I want to just share with your my favorite words of Jesus on this day:
34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, or commandment, reflecting Jesus’ words, “I give you a new commandment.” I just think this is such a powerful moment. Jesus is having His last moment with His disciples, and He is living them with what is most important. Isn’t that what we do when we leave those who we love? We leave them with our most important words. I always tell my family I love them before I leave to go anywhere. I want them to know, above all else, that I loved them, no matter what.
As Jesus prepares to go to the cross, He leaves with His followers what is most important. He gives them an act of service when He washes their feet. He gives them the invitation to the Table when He gives them Holy Communion. And at the end, He gives them this new command. They are to love one another. This is how everyone will know that they (and we) are His disciples, that we have love for one another. This is His command that we love.
Love is not emotional. Love is action. It is a sacrifice. It is more than the warm fuzzies we get when we are “in love.” Love is hard. It is painful. Ask any parent if love is always easy. Ask any spouse if love is always easy. Ask Jesus if love is easy.
He loved us, and He went to the cross for us. That is what love looks like. It is giving of yourself for another. That is what Jesus did for us. And what He calls us to do. He says that this is how the world will know that we are His, that we love one other.
Today, do we love enough, do we sacrifice enough that people know that we belong to Jesus? That is the Maundy, the command of this day.
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