MAUNDY THURSDAY – One Another
Romans 8:7-8 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
The word “maundy” comes from a latin word meaning “mandate” or “commandment.” It refers to the commandment that Jesus gives at the Last Supper. John 13 recounts this familiar story of Jesus reclining with His disciples and even now, at this most intimate moment of telling them what is about to happen, not passing up an opportunity to reaffirm His servanthood by washing their feet. And then, in verses 34-35, He delivers the command that they are to love one another, for that is how people will know they are His followers.
Throughout the New Testament, there are numerous “one another” commands on how we are to treat each other. Be at peace with each other. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Forgive one another. Live in harmony with one another. Serve one another. Submit to one another. Encourage one another. The commands are quite clear.
In perhaps the penultimate act of serving in that time, Jesus served His disciples at the last supper by washing their dirty, grimy, smelly feet. This set the basis for His command of them to love one another. They naturally take it for something else, for they still cannot fathom the love and sacrifice that Jesus has for them, even as He’s preparing them for what is about to transpire on the cross.
This is the same challenge for us, for loving one another is not something that comes naturally. In our flesh, we will love ourselves, but will otherwise be hostile to everyone else, and, consequently, to God. This is why Jesus models community for us, as He is able to illustrate how we are to treat one another. It is why He gives us the gift of community, so we can learn to do all of the aforementioned things through His Spirit, rather than on our own. You don’t learn patience until you are in community with someone who gets on your nerves. You don’t learn forgiveness until someone close to you wrongs you. You don’t learn love until someone is in your life that is hard to love. Only then do we begin to see how Jesus saw His disciples.
Even now we have a difficult time with this. We are absolutely unable to follow this law that He gave us without His Spirit. We cannot love others, cannot serve others, until we love them like Jesus does. It is impossible! We may do it enough to please ourselves but that is not what pleases God. It is only when we take the posture of Jesus, a willingness to be the one to serve for the flourishing of others, is God able to get the glory. Thankfully we have Jesus as an example of what to do!