As I write today’s blog post it is Thursday…Maundy Thursday to be exact. It is a day that is celebrated throughout Christendom each year during Holy Week. It has a lot of different names, but I have always chose the traditional one, “Maundy” This is the English derivative of the Latin word Mandatum.”
This is the first word in John 13:34, ““Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos.” or in English “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you”), the statement made by Jesus in the Gospel of John (13:34)
It was on this day that Jesus gave a commandment not just for those present, but to all who would believe in Him. This mandate of loving one other as He has loved us is possibly the hardest one to follow…maybe not for you, but it is for me.
This is the fifth day in Holy Week and is a day that we remember the day when Jesus washed the disciple’s feet (which is not very appealing) and gave this great commandment. I always find myself being a bit more introspective during Holy Week, especially in light of the events almost 2,000-years-ago on Mount Moriah in Israel. When I think of how the Lord Jesus entered the city to the shouts of adulation from the crowds, who, only a few days later demanded that He be crucified, and I just can’t be otherwise.
Now, back to the feet-washing part.
Most churches don’t practice it now-a-days, and even in our movement, although it is a biblical teaching made prominent, you would be hard-pressed to find a congregation that practices this on a regular basis. For some reason or another, our modern times have changed a lot of us.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we love to participate in Holy Communion and Water Baptism, but this feet-washing thing is just something else.
Actually, the picture of what happened there is one that should be remembered by all of us, and we ought to think about it more than just one-time each year. The fact, the the Lord of all humbled Himself, in essence placing Himself lower than his disciples and performed the work of a servant. That’s not quite the behavior of a King and certainly not what you would expect from Deity.
I’ve heard it expressed that feet-washing was a symbolic act expressing the need for cleansing as we walk through a filthy world, but I don’t know if that quite explains it all to me. After all, it’s our mind that has to be renewed daily. I believe in my heart that this is just what the Lord meant for it to be…the example of humbling ourselves with one another. It’s not something that I find very easy to do sometimes. Let’s look at it in it’s entirety:
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
Did you catch the part I underlined and made bold there? Jesus reaffirms that He is Lord and Master, then He says if “I” did this, you should too.
Like I said, humbling ourselves isn’t easy, but I can’t imagine the Lord would have told us to do something we are unable to do. Haven’t you always heard it said, “He whom the Lord calls, He qualifies?”
I will be the first to admit I don’t have this all figured out, but I will admit that I need to do better than my past performance. There were dark hours just ahead for our Lord, and at a time that others might have still been riding the wave of the enthusiastic crowd…Jesus was humbling Himself. And if He did it, “we also ought to do it too.”
I can only pray for God’s help,
I can only pray for His mercy.
I can only pray His grace.
Lord…Help us all to be more like you.