Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections:
Today as one of our readings, we look at John 13: 31-35:
31 When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. 32 If God has been glorified in him,[a] God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. 33 Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ 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.”
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.
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.
Jesus models for us love with service and with the meal. Then He tells us that the world will know we are His disciples not by our political stands. Or theological stands. Or that we are right. He tells us that they will know we are His by our love. Of the things that God can and probably will judge the world, the church, and me over will be our lack of love. That is how they will know we are His. By our love.
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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