“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Every year the Church observes Maundy Thursday. This is the Thursday before Easter.
Maundy Thursday observes the night Jesus instituted what is called “The Lord’s Supper”. On this night Jesus blessed the bread and wine and shared these with his disciples, calling the bread and wine his own body and blood. This event is recreated on most Sundays in the Christian Church as we receive the body and blood of Jesus in the bread and wine for the forgiveness of sin and the strengthening of faith. (Matthew 26:26-29,
Mark 14:22-25, Luke:22:15-29)
However, Maundy Thursday receives its name from another event recorded in John 13. John records Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. After this act of loving service, Jesus gives a new commandment, “Just as I have loved you, so you also should love one another.” (John 13:34)
Maundy comes from the Latin word ‘mandatum’. From this word comes the English word ‘mandate’. It is also translated commandment. Maundy Thursday is the day the great commandment was given – Love one another.
The theme of ‘Love one another’ sets the theme for the next few days.
On Friday, Jesus commits the greatest act of love when he allows himself to be crucified on the cross for the sins of the world. Jesus had told his disciples in John 15: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).
The remarkable thing is Jesus lays down his life not only for his friends but also for his enemies. Truly this is love.
Finally, Jesus rises from death to life the day after the Sabbath (Sabbath - Saturday). Many people seem to think the Resurrection supersedes Good Friday. It does not. It affirms Good Friday. It points back to Good Friday to tell us that this event on the cross was one of selfless love. It was the selfless love toward humanity. Through this act of selfless love, God reunites the world to himself.
May this observance of God’s love spark that same love in each of us.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California