Three quick points about Thursday. Maundy means commandment. People call this day Maundy Thursday because Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other on this day. Secondly, some denominations have feet washing services on Maundy Thursday in remembrance of what Jesus did. Lastly, please read all of John 13. There is an exchange between Jesus and Peter that you might find interesting.
Let’s read what happened.
John 13:1-4, 12-17
1 Jesus knew on the evening of Passover Day that it would be his last night on earth before returning to his Father. During supper the devil had already suggested to Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that this was the night to carry out his plan to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. And how he loved his disciples!
4 So he got up from the supper table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his loins, 5 poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he had around him…
12 After washing their feet he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Master’ and ‘Lord,’ and you do well to say it, for it is true. 14 And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow: do as I have done to you. 16 How true it is that a servant is not greater than his master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends him. 17 You know these things-now do them! That is the path of blessing. TLB
There is too much going on here for us to get through in one talk. Let’s start with context. Jesus knows these are the last hours before he will be betrayed and arrested. This last supper with his disciples is very intense for Jesus. Tomorrow He will be whipped and beaten beyond recognition. Tomorrow He will be nailed to a cross. Tomorrow He dies.
Jesus knows that God gave Him supreme power and authority. What does Jesus do with His authority? He is humble. He kneels and washes the feet of His disciples. And, that includes the feet of Judas. The one who will betray Him in a couple of hours. Stop and think about this. Who lives like this? Who leads like this? Jesus does. To be a disciple of Jesus, we do.
This moment of humility and servanthood would radically impact His disciples forever. Everyone knows, if you are the leader, the one with authority, you use your authority to your advantage. Not Jesus. He is flipping everything the disciples knew about power and authority. God’s kingdom is different. It’s not about getting power, authority or a title, it’s about humility and servanthood. Jesus talked about this before.
Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served – and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” MSG Matthew 20:25-28
Before we move on, what is your view of power and authority? Is it something you try to get so that you can use it to your advantage? Is it something you try to get to prove to others that you have made it? If you have authority, do you use it to serve others? As a parent, how do you use your authority? Also, who do you respect more? Someone with authority who throws it around or someone who uses it to build you up?
If you are home with family, I would really encourage you to think about how you can enter into this moment with Jesus. That means, maybe you have dinner together and talk about what Jesus did. Maybe feet don’t bug you and you literally wash each other’s feet to show that you want to humble yourself to love and serve each other. Maybe you write letters to each other. Maybe you wash each other’s hands. Whatever it is, it’s a moment to remember Jesus. With all the authority of God, He humbled Himself to serve. Maybe this is exactly what we need to do to rebuild our relationships with forgiveness, humility and servanthood.
Let’s keep walking through the night with Jesus.
14 Then Jesus and the others arrived, and at the proper time all sat down together at the table; 15 and he said, “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat it again until what it represents has occurred in the Kingdom of God.”
17 Then he took a glass of wine, and when he had given thanks for it, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come.”
19 Then he took a loaf of bread; and when he had thanked God for it, he broke it apart and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, given for you. Eat it in remembrance of me.”
20 After supper he gave them another glass of wine, saying, “This wine is the token of God’s new agreement to save you-an agreement sealed with the blood I shall pour out to purchase back your souls.” TLB
Remember we said Jesus is our Passover? It’s the shed blood of Jesus that purifies us. Communion celebrates what Jesus has done for us. We encourage you to plan a communion service together. We want you to remember that everything Jesus went through, He went through for you. Everything Jesus went through He went through willingly. And everything Jesus went through, His sacrifice, changed everything for you.
Take bread, talk about what it means. Give everyone a moment to make a comment. Then eat it.
Take juice or wine. Give everyone a moment to make a comment. Then drink it. Pray together.
After communion, Jesus leads the disciples into the garden of Gethsemane. It’s around midnight. Put yourself in Jesus’ mind right now. Can you imagine how emotionally exhausted Jesus has to be in this moment? He is now moments away from giving Himself over to the people filled with hate and want to kill Him.
36 Then Jesus brought them to a garden grove, Gethsemane, and told them to sit down and wait while he went on ahead to pray. 37 He took Peter with him and Zebedee’s two sons James and John, and began to be filled with anguish and despair.
38 Then he told them, “My soul is crushed with horror and sadness to the point of death… stay here… stay awake with me.”
39 He went forward a little, and fell face downward on the ground, and prayed, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup be taken away from me. But I want your will, not mine.” TLB
Jesus is exhausted, stressed and in emotional chaos. He cries out to God, “If there is any other way, please, I don’t want to walk through this.” Heaven is silent. Jesus surrenders.
That was Thursday. Remember, everything Jesus went through He went through for you.
Everything Jesus went through He went through willingly.
And everything Jesus went through, His sacrifice, changed everything for you.