John 13:1-17, 31-35

            Today is Maundy Thursday.  On this day the church remembers the last evening Jesus shared with his disciples in the upper room before his betrayal and arrest.  It is a day to particularly remember the key events of Christ’s washing of the disciples’ feet; the beginning of what we observe as the Lord’s Supper; and, Jesus’ giving of a “new” command to love one another.

            Loving one another is not new in the sense that it did not exist before Jesus.  Indeed, the command to love is permeated throughout the Old Testament (see especially Leviticus 19:18).  Yet, when Christ gave the new command, it was distinctive in four ways:  Jesus is a new model of how to love, demonstrated through the servant-oriented meeting of needs regardless of who the person is; we now have a new motive for love in that Jesus Christ first loved me, so I can now love others as he has done (1 John 4:19-21); we now possess a new motivator, the Holy Spirit, who energizes us for the service of love; and, finally, we have been given a new mission in which the church exists not for itself, but to evangelize the entire world using the highest of spiritual tools, love.

            A true, genuine, and authentic follower of Jesus Christ will be deeply and profoundly characterized by love in all his/her words and actions.  We are called to put love where love is not.  The cross of Christ stands as the supreme sacrifice of love on our behalf.  We remember it this Maundy Thursday with humility and eternal gratitude.

            Holy God, your Son, the Lord Jesus, came as a servant not seeking to be served but to give his life as a ransom for many.  He came to wash away our sinful pride and feed us with the bread of life.  We praise you for inviting us to serve one another in love, to forgive one another as we have been forgiven, and to feast at his Table as members of one household of faith.  Amen.

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