Thursday, April 21, 2011
Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday): A Devotional Commentary
1 Corinthians 11:23-32 For I received from the Lord that which also I delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night in which he was betrayed took bread. When he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is broken for you. Do this unto my remembrance.” In the same way he also took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink, unto my remembrance.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks the Lord’s cup in a way unworthy of the Lord will be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread, and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy way eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he doesn’t discern the Lord’s body. For this cause many among you are weak and sickly, and not a few sleep. For if we discerned ourselves, we wouldn’t be judged. But when we are judged, we are punished by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
John 13:1-15 Now before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his time had come that he would depart from this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he came forth from God, and was going to God, arose from supper, and laid aside his outer garments. He took a towel, and wrapped a towel around his waist. Then he poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. Then he came to Simon Peter. He said to him, “Lord, do you wash my feet?” Jesus answered him, “You don’t know what I am doing now, but you will understand later.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “Someone who has bathed only needs to have his feet washed, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” For he knew him who would betray him, therefore he said, “You are not all clean.” So when he had washed their feet, put his outer garment back on, and sat down again, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me, ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord.’ You say so correctly, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Today is Maundy Thursday--the Day of the Commandment. Jesus gave the commands to His disciples to wash one another's feet, to love one another, and to "do this (celebrate the Lord's Supper) unto my remembrance." Jesus' kingdom is unlike any earthly kingdom. Earthly kingdoms are organized so that those who are on the bottom serve those at the top. Jesus did not come to be served but to serve. In Jesus' kingdom, the king serves us and needs nothing from us. Just like Peter, we sinfully think that Jesus needs us to wash His feet. We think that Christianity is all about us doing things for Jesus just as the pagans do for their gods. Jesus, the king of the universe, gave Himself in self-sacrificial love for us. Jesus washes our sins away in baptism. Jesus gives us His very body and blood to drink. Jesus does not say, "Now that I've done all this for you, you better give me glory." Jesus tells us to take the thankfulness in our hearts and direct it toward the good of our neighbor. Our neighbor needs our good works, Jesus does not.
Posted by Chuck Wiese at 12:01 AM