Thursday

Maundy Thursday Communion and a New Command

Today is Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday as some people call it. Maundy Thursday is special for many reasons in the Christian church. It was when the practice of communion was established and when Christ promised the Holy Spirit. Maundy Thursday is also when Jesus announced the new commandment at what is now known as The Last Supper:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


According to my husband Mike Steeves, a self-proclaimed recovering Catholic:

"Maundy Thursday has to do with that New Commandment, which Christ symbolized by the washing of his disciples' feet. 'Maundy' is derived from the Latin for 'command' or 'commandment'. Peter initially refused to have Christ wash his feet, but was told, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'"



Mike also observed

Christians like to cite John 3:16 as the cornerstone of why we should believe. You can even get golf balls, Christian golf balls - or perhaps they are Gospel Balls - with John 3:16 imprinted upon them. One can only presume that swatting such balls will get you on God's foursome.

But without John 13:34-35, which cites Christ's New Commandment, does John 3:16 have any real substance? Without at least a good faith attempt on the part of the faithful to comply with Christ's commandment, does a simple belief in him do the trick? Does a simple belief in John 3:16 carry an implicit acknowledgment of that New Commandment - and more importantly, an acceptance of Christ's charge to his disciples? If it is implicit, is it perhaps too subtle for many people? Christ was pretty direct when he laid the commandment on, but the focus is always on John 3:16 - those golf balls, again - rather than John 13:34-35.

BTW ... you won't find John 13:34-35 on any golf balls.

Here are the Maundy Thursday readings:

John 13: Jesus Washes His Disciples’ Feet

13 It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.


2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.


6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”


7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”


8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”


Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”


9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”


10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.


12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.



Jesus Predicts His Betrayal

18 “I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’


19 “I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”


21 After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.”


22 His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.”


25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?”


26 Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.


So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” 28 But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him. 29 Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. 30 As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. And it was night.


Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial


31 When he was gone, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.


33 “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.


34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


36 Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?”


Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”


37 Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”


38 Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? Very truly I tell you, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!


Now read chapters 14 - 17. That will take you to the Garden of Gethsemane. 


More later ...