Reading: Isaiah 50:4–10 (the Suffering Servant) and Luke 22:1–65 and John 13:1–38
What in the world does “maundy” even mean? It comes to us from the Latin mandatum, meaning mandate or command. Merriam-Webster says of the origin of maundy, it comes from “Middle English maunde, from Old French mandé, from Latin mandatum command, order; from the words spoken by Jesus to his disciples after washing their feet at the Last Supper, “a new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another””
There is so much in the reading: The Passover meal>Lord’s Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, Jesus’ arrest, and Jesus before the Sanhedrin. And in John 13, we see Jesus washing the feet of the disciples, including Judas.
But my focus is on the foot washing. In this action by Jesus to kneel down and wash the dirty feet of the disciples, the Suffering Servant showed what serving really looks like. Of course later serving his people by dying for them is the ultimate service.
So how does “maundy” fit in here? What’s the command? Jesus said in John 13:
So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example, so that you also would do just as I did for you. Truly, truly I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.
Jesus demonstrated true service as he served. And then later in the chapter he gave the command (the mandatum):
I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples: if you have love for one another.” John 13:34–35
There it is. Love one another. Now it’s not as if we weren’t supposed to already love (Deut. 6). But now we will see love in an even more profound way. And our love for one another shows the world around us that we are truly followers of Jesus.
Fail. Too often I fail. Too often I fail even in my closest circle, my own family.
Certainly one way I have failed publicly is on social media. How often I have engaged in arguments about politics, cultural issues, and yes even religion and failed to demonstrate love.
The world on social media is watching. Lord, help me. Help each of us who names the name of our Suffering Savior to heed his command, his “mandatum,” to love. In so doing, may I (we) be signposts to the only Savior, the Lord Jesus.