Maundy Thursday: “Mandate” John 13:34

Maundy Thursday “Mandate” Brothers and Sisters who share the same Heavenly Father, May you get what you don’t deserve, never get what you do, and may you have peace in the blood of our King, Jesus Christ.
Do you know what today is? Do you know how to say it? Easy to call in “Monday Thursday.” It’s actually Maundy Thursday. This comes from the Latin word Mandatum. It is from this word that we get the English “Mandate.” What’s a Mandate? It’s a commandment, it’s an order, it’s the authority to carry something out. ‘Maundy’ comes from v. 34 of our Gospel reading when Jesus says “A new commandment (mandatum) I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this, all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”
What is this commandment we have been given? It is to love each other as Jesus has loved us. How has Jesus loved us?
Before this, Jesus has given us His body and blood to eat and established it as a lasting ordinance for us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Jesus loved us by His sacrificial love for us that we did not deserve. He loved His enemies, so to speak, and made us right with God.
Jesus also washed the feet of His disciples. The King and God of all creation got down on His hands and knees and washed His disciple’s dirty feet (and they were dirty. This was the middle east where they wore sandals and walked everywhere.) If Jesus brought Himself down to the place of washing His disciple’s feet, we should also count ourselves as servants to one another and be willing to wash each other’s feet.
Finally, Jesus gives us a new command and tells us to love one another. It seems an easy thing to do. Much harder in practice. We are hard to love. We do not deserve the love we are given. Loving sinners, in Jesus’ case, got Him killed. Yet, that is what Jesus calls us to. Not because we will earn our place as His people by following His command. We love one another because He has loved us. We love one another because Jesus has given us His body and blood to eat and drink to forgive our sins. Because Jesus has stooped down as king of the world to wash away our sins in baptism and tells us we are not greater than Him, washes our feet, and tells us to do likewise to each other. He tells us to love one another as He has loved us. The mandate. What is the greatest way He loved us? We remember and take that journey with Him tonight – all the way through to Easter morning.

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